Warning: this is NOT a book review.
A couple of my girlfriends had read It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover and recommended it to me. Now, I’m one of those people that will say “yeah I’ll get onto it” and have no intention of doing so, and this was one of those situations; however, when I found myself strolling through my local Dymocks, this book was there and I thought, ‘why not’?
Let me tell you: I should have been prepared for the emotional rollercoaster that was about to happen because Colleen Hoover tends to go from 0 to 200 in a matter of seconds (Hopeless anyone?), but nothing could have prepared me for this absolute whirlwind of emotions.
In short, Colleen Hoover had fucking done it again.
This article won’t be formatted as a standard book review as done before on Widow’s Lure; it will just be an emotional discussion about the happenings of the book, because let me tell you I finished this book months ago and I am still not emotionally recovered from the rollercoaster ride that Lily, Ryle and Atlas take us on.
I don’t know if I’m the only one like this, but when I am listening to a song and see someone, or in this case, reading a book, that song will stick in my head as officially attached to that book, and now You by Lloyd will always remind me of It Ends With Us, and my heart stops every time I hear it because of this damn book.
SPOILERS! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
Discussions of domestic violence ahead. If you don’t feel comfortable reading about this, please do not continue.
Okay, like, wow. Hoover is a wordsmith, and she can tell a great story regardless of the circumstances. But boy howdy was I not prepared for this.
First of all, I thought the title was going to have a romantic tie in to the story. For example, perpetual unhappiness ends with us because we are so damn in love and happy together, or loneliness ends with us, or bitterness ends with us, or any other negative emotion ends with us because we found each other and we fell in love and that bad feeling has ended. At no point during the story did I ever think it was domestic violence ends with us, my newborn child.
I knew that the recounting of her mother’s experience with domestic violence would tie into the story somehow, but I hadn’t pieced two and two together, even after the first time that Ryle had lashed out at Lily. Much like my feelings towards Hopeless where you expect to go on a standard romance story ride, but then out of nowhere, the plot just takes a whole fucking turn and all of a sudden you’re thrust into this world of violence, I sat by and idly watched as this seemingly beautiful love story between Lily and Ryle takes a dark turn, and all of a sudden that predictable ending you thought you were headed to takes a detour and you’re headed into this dark unknown where you cannot see three feet ahead of you.
What makes it even worse – personally for me – was I wanted Lily to give Ryle another chance because I wanted nothing more than for Ryle to better himself and become the man that Lily truly deserved. This goes against everything I am as a human, because my thing with domestic violence is one strike and you’re out; you don’t get a second chance with shit like that. But then there was Ryle who had one outburst, and I was crying because a) Lily didn’t deserve it and b) Come on Ryle! Get your shit together!
I remember discussing with my friends how I felt conflicted while reading this book because of this. There are some things in relationships that I think are unforgivable, and domestic violence is one of them. So how could I as someone who feels so strongly about this feel for someone like Ryle? That just goes to show how well Colleen writes her characters and creates sympathy for someone like Ryle Kincaid.
I loved Atlas, and thought that the love story that he and Lily shared was a thing of beauty. That pure connection that they had was easy for me as a reader to feel, and a part of me wanted Lily to gtfo there and run into the willing and capable arms of Atlas.
But Ryle… sweet, disturbed Ryle… we were all groomed to love him, and I truly did.
In a nutshell, when Ryle broke Lily’s heart, he broke mine, and it’s something that I am still working through months later.
Alas, I was left satisfied in the epilogue of the book where Lily, after finally leaving Ryle because it definitely ended with her and her newborn daughter, was happily co-parenting with Ryle and then entered an ambiguous relationship with Atlas.
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, I know it might see like the hardest thing in the world to do, but it is not weak to speak up and seek help. Australia’s nationwide domestic violence assistance organisation 1800 RESPECT are available for 24 hours over the phone (1800 737 732) or Live help at their website. If you are in immediate danger, please call 000 or your nation’s emergency hotline.
Anyway, with all of this in mind, I’m going to take a break before reading another Colleen Hoover book because I know she is going to f me up again.
– by The Black Widow