Book Review – It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

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Just keep swimming.

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com) – Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up—she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily. And the way he looks in scrubs certainly doesn’t hurt. Lily can’t get him out of her head. But Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing. Even as Lily finds herself becoming the exception to his “no dating” rule, she can’t help but wonder what made him that way in the first place.

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan—her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.

Rating – 5/5

My thoughts –

Trigger warning

I don’t like being the person that spoils stories, but I feel like if you have certain emotional triggers, you should be forewarned about this book. It’s a beautifully written book and I think it’s important for people to read, but make sure you have a glass of water or a distraction at your side, perhaps even your pet or your kid before you read.

There were a few points throughout this book where I can literally feel my eyes start to water and a flood of emotion about to release, but I managed to somehow avoid those situations. This book makes me want to talk less about the book and more about something women face. I’m sorry if you came here for a traditional review and instead got my political rant.

Naked truth? I have this fear that men somehow will harm me. When I’m walking down the street by myself at night. When I’m standing in an elevator with someone. If I’m going to be traveling to another country. Even if I knew that person, there’s this terror that he could try and harm me in some way.

“There is no such thing as bad people. We’re all just people who sometimes do bad things.”

I don’t want to be the person that pins men against women. I don’t even want to be the person that says all men are inherently bad people. They’re not. However, I’ve always been afraid of men because of their physical power over me; because there might be the slight chance that the person I’m talking to is someone who abuses women.

I remember when I was a kid, my mom was one of those parents that always showed up late picking us up from things. Soccer practice. Violin lessons. You name it. One night after confirmation class with my pastor, I was waiting outside with him for my mom. The entire time I stood there, I stood in utter fear that he could try and do something to me.

Anything.

He could hit me. He could abduct me. He could rape me. All I could do was hope that my mom’s car would finally turn the corner into the church. I mean, I thought this stuff with a man of the cloth. In my head, it didn’t matter if you wore some religious robe and read the bible and did well with God. In my head, he was a predator and I was some innocent prey.

“It stops here. With me and you. It ends with us.”

I’ve been really blessed and lucky to not see my worse fears come to fruition, but I know that it’s real for some other people. And when it’s made real with people you love or supposed to love, I can’t even imagine that sort of pain.

And Colleen Hoover imagines that for you. By putting the book in the point of view of Lily, I can feel every single ounce of pain she felt. I read her thought process. I also told myself that if a man ever hit me, I would immediately leave them. But how do I weigh out the good times from the bad? How do I trust it won’t ever happen again? How do I know if he still loves me if all I can feel is anger, frustration, and pain?

Also, I can’t imagine the kind of life Ryle lives. He’s strong. He can be the best in his field. He’s so capable of loving someone, but he’s so walled up in the anger and frustration of his childhood. If this book was written in Ryle’s perspective, we might be reading a completely different book.

But from Lily’s perspective, I feel like I can see and feel how that kind of complicated relationship would be so confusing to a woman. I don’t think women who stay with abusive men are weak. They deserve a fucking medal. I do think that it’s not healthy for them to stay and that confuses the point with me. What is the right thing to do? Is there no right or wrong?  What do you do when you have certain obligations or what do you do when you’re so scared of the unknown?

“Just because someone hurts you doesn’t mean you can simply stop loving them. It’s not a person’s actions that hurt the most. It’s the love. If there was no love attached to the action, the pain would be a little easier to bear.”

I have so many thoughts. I wish I can learn more about the subject, but at the same time I hope this book will provide some perspective to those who don’t believe that women can stay and that there’s hope at the end of the story. Please read this book. Please read this book if you have some bias about women who stay in abusive relationships. Please read this book if you’ve been abused in a physical, mental, or emotional way. Situations like this shouldn’t be left swept under the rug. If we expose it, maybe we can save more people.

/rant