The irony is that she is successful in changing his life simply by being in it. Their witty banter and details about her fairly small life become intriguing to Will. He coerces and cajoles her into watching foreign films and borrowing his books. He forces her into thoughtful and thought-provoking debates on issues of the day. It’s Educating Rita with a twist and of course, as the pupil falls in love with learning so the teacher falls in love with the pupil. It is he who changes her life by opening her mind to new ways of thinking about herself and the world, and how to live.
It is, as the author points out, a romance, and in many ways it is very traditionally so. Although this is not my genre of choice, the way that JoJo Moyes uses the conventions to tackle the subjects of disability, quality of life and assisted suicide are inventive and effective. As she herself points out in the notes, it was not a story she was able to sell to publishers. The fact that she wrote it anyway, and ended up with a bestseller, is all credit to her.