Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Good Books to Read: It Ends With Us

I first discovered Colleen Hoover when I read her book, Ugly Love. It was equal parts sexy, romantic with dramatic moments that move you to feel for her lead characters. When she announced the release of her new book It Ends with Us, I knew that I had to have it. If you’re looking for good books to read, this is one of them.

book on domestic abuse
Of course, after reading, I need to write in a journal. Lily, this is your fault!

The Story

It Ends with Us is the story of Lily and the relationship she had with two men: Ryle and Atlas. To Lily, Ryle is the dream guy: handsome, wealthy, has a successful career (as a neurosurgeon, no less), and is the brother of the woman who eventually becomes her business partner and best friend.  But then there’s Atlas, the guy from her past. He’s her first love and someone she has known for a long time.

As with most triangles, just as Lily has established a relationship with Ryle, Atlas re-enters her life and complicates things for all of them. This starts what turns out to be not just a story about love and relationships, but about living with domestic abuse as well. Yes, I know -- spoiler alert – as much as I want to avoid mentioning it, most of my thoughts about the book revolves around that aspect of the story.

What Moved Me: Living with Domestic Abuse

What I loved about the book is that it was very sensitive about tackling the abuse that Lily had experience with Ryle. It wasn’t just about the abuser being this evil manipulative monster, it was about a real person who had issues and problems that he could not control or resolve.

The story was also about someone who had seen domestic abuse first-hand and was now experiencing it herself, thus seeing what was going on from two different points of view. That for me was an eye-opener…to see the heartbreak from all these different perspectives gave me an entirely different opinion about what might happen in cases of domestic abuse.

I must admit that when I started reading the book, I thought that this was a typical love story with a little conflict on the side. But when the abuse started, when the book really got into the head of Lily and how she was trying to make sense of everything, I knew this was going to be different from the other books from Colleen Hoover. This was intense. This felt very real (and by the time I read the author’s notes at the back of the book, I realized it was real). I remember crying along with Lily because I could feel how much she cared for Ryle and how much she wanted their relationship to work. How she wanted to help him to change and how much she wanted him to still be a part of the life of their child.

Best Moments 

As much as I loved the character Atlas (who I seemed to picture as Chris Pratt the entire time I was reading the book for some reason), the best moments of the book did not involve him. The best moments involved Lily, her mother, and Ryle.

The part in the book when Ryle found out that Lily was pregnant was heartbreaking for me. I could feel the conflict that the couple was feeling at that moment. There was a conflict in how Lily wanted Ryle to still be in her life but at the same time, she feared him and scared for their child. Ryle’s emotions and how he was processing the knowledge and love he was feeling about being a father and the remorse he had over what happened between him and Lily…that was moving. I could feel how they both wanted to make things work but at the same time, they both knew they could not undo the damage that has been done to their relationship from the abuse.

I cried when Lily told her mother about her pregnancy and what happened to her and Ryle. The tears just started flowing when Lily’s mother opened up and told Lily that she should not allow the abuse to go any further. Knowing what she has been through and telling her daughter not to let the same happen to her…my heart just went out to them. If I could reach into the page and hug them both, I would have.

But the best part of the book for me would have to be the birth of Emerson when Lily asked Ryle for a divorce. THAT made me cry like crazy. It was a brave moment for Lily to let go of Ryle knowing that she still loved him but she did it for their daughter. The tears and the realization that Ryle had of the pain he has put Lily through, something he would never want for his own daughter, was moving. I felt for Ryle, I felt that he knew he had a problem but he just didn’t know what to do about it. I guess that’s why he never wanted to be in a relationship in the first place. I love that in the end, he took responsibility for it and accepted Lily’s decision.

I love how Lily chose to end the cycle of abuse that started with her mother in this way. That’s why the book had the title “It Ends with Us” … the cycle ends there.

I truly, truly loved this book. Out of all the books that Colleen Hoover has written, this by far has become my favorite.

Has anyone else here read the book? What did you think about it?

Cover Credit: Simon & Schuster

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