What makes life worth living? Will Traynor is struggling with this very question since an accident left him paralyzed from the shoulders down and often in excruciating pain. Confined to a wheelchair and dependent on others to assist with even the most basic tasks of daily life, Will isn't sure life is worth living. Then his mother hires Louisa (Lou) Clark as his daytime assistant/caregiver. Two very different personalities, Will and Lou get off to a rocky and stilted start.
Ceramics artist Jean Horemarsh has just spent 3 months caring for her mother who is dying of a terrible cancer. The ordeal has left her exhausted and thoughtful. After her mother dies, Jean returns to her own home and her husband, Milt who is a substitute English teacher. Jean tells Milt that she wishes she had killed her mother before she got so sick.