The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
TRIGGER WARNING– This article and book contain domestic abuse. The comments under this article may diminish a person’s experience, which can be infuriating and anxiety-inducing.
During my winter break, I read It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover, one of the most recommended books on BookTok. For me, this was a thoroughly captivating book, right from the first sentence. While this book is about domestic abuse, there are other aspects that I adore, like breaking the vicious cycle of abuse and learning love through healthy relationships, rekindled from the past.
Out of curiosity, I read the one-star reviews of the book and got offended by the statements people said. I took this opportunity to debunk them because I did not cry for two hours after reading this book to hear any slander.
- One user said: “I bought this book because of raving reviews about it on TikTok. Well, the power of social media worked because I bought it and I can’t say I was anywhere as impressed as I thought I would be. In fact [sic] I wanted to stop reading it several times because it felt so cheesy. The storyline and events were sad topics but [three-quarters] of the book was a cheesy love story that often made me cringe. As a lover of [chick-lit], even this was too much for me. I personally wouldn’t recommend. Sorry [sic].”
While I agree this book can sometimes be cheesy, Hoover has a unique way of writing. I think that the story is a real-life example of someone’s reality as the quotes and statements were very believable. Now, for the three quarters where it is cheesy, it is the reminiscing of the past and gradual build-up of a character and events. In my opinion, I would rather see a slow burn built up than an incident taking place right off the bat. Like in every other book, the climax is not at the beginning of the book but in the middle. In the first half of the book- during the build up- we develop our own opinions of the characters.
- Another user said: “I bought this because of the reviews. I have not read any of Ms. Hoover’s books, so I didn’t know what to expect. However, 100 pages in and I’m not going to finish. This is a bodice ripper ‘romance’ novel. Not even a well written one, frankly. It’s baffling that books like this still sell in 2020! Nothing empowering. Women swoon over handsome doctors and sleep with them even when they ‘aren’t that kind of girl’ because the doc is handsome and rich so…’let me go pretty myself up so he can have his way’ blah, blah. What rubbish! I seriously don’t understand the reviews, but then again I never read any of that ’50 Shades’ garbage so I guess there is a market, it just isn’t me. Anyway, don’t expect great literature with this one. In fact, set expectations really low and maybe you can get through it. Me? Life is too short to waste any of it on crappy books [sic].”
While I agree that it is a romance novel, comparing it with 50 Shades of Grey is excessive. At the beginning of the book, Lilly (our main character) is stuck in the same cycle of abuse as her mom was with her father. This book explains the lengths and depths we go to for love, even when it hurts, and that is what a lot of people need to understand.
These two comments completely sum up the one-star reviews for this book on Amazon. There are some limitations to this book, like any other. The comments about domestic abuse towards women are mainly from men and showcase yet another moment of mansplaining abuse as “romance.” Now, as a woman reading this, I understand the lengths women have to go through.
While reading this book, I did not agree with some aspects of the main character, but I understood the repercussions she had to go through towards the end of the book. While she did move on to another guy who was introduced to us pretty quickly, one could have predicted it happening because her lost love (Atlas Corrigan) played a huge role in removing her from her toxic relationship with her toxic ex.
Unsurprisingly, I have decided to add a woman’s perspective to the book, and most reviews above one star were written by women (who relate to and understand the book). For instance, one comment wholly summed up my experience with the book: “Sometimes you are unloaded with an impending outburst of emotions that were never anticipated.”
The journey begins with a complex character who has problems in her relationships––similar to her mother’s past. The plot escalates with elucidating the hurtful reoccurring past that evenly unfastened the aspect of personal life in our main character’s life.
The book highlighted the mindful growth each character underwent as a result of their past experiences. Taking the main character Lily as an example, she saw different forms of abuse growing up, and when she experienced it herself with her husband, she learned to grow. She made a promise to her daughter that the cycle of abuse ends with them, and began a new relationship as a brand new person. This book is not completely about romance, nor should this type of trauma be romanticized. It sheds light on the opportunity for a healthy relationship after there has been a chance for growth. It concludes with ringing the true meaning of It Ends with Us.