It Ends With Us – Book Review

Synopsis

“It Ends With Us” is a book written by Colleen Hoover which touches on themes of homelessness, domestic violence, forgiveness, and love. The book is told through the eyes of Lily, the daughter of an abusive parent, who moves out of her small town in Maine to Boston, where she starts a new life and her own small business. Here she meets and falls in love with Ryle Kincaid, the male lead and love interest. As her relationship starts to progress with Ryle, a new obstacle presents itself, reopening wounds that weren’t fully healed and creating some new ones: Atlas Corrigan, her first love.

My Review – *Contains Spoilers*

Let me be candid and start off by stating that I knew nothing about this book going into it, but even if I had known what it was about, nothing would have prepared me for the emotions that I felt while reading it.

My first impression of Ryle, who is introduced in Part One, was not pleasant. Though he was a rich neurosurgeon who apparently had everything, he was angry, blunt, lacked humility, and could not commit to a relationship. Yet, he also seemed empty, and I couldn’t help but be a little intrigued about how he came to be this way. Fast forward a few chapters, my dislike of Ryle morphed into understanding. His anger stemmed from frustration, from working toward a goal that others looked down on him for, from witnessing tragedies every day and watching as death became just another aspect of life. He was sleep-deprived and hardworking; he was thoughtful and considerate, and his desire for honest and open communication is what contributed to his occasional blunt attitude. Finally, I came to see that his inability to commit to a partner was due to his fear of the hardship that a relationship entails, and given the number of things on his plate already, I could both understand and relate to his thinking.

When Atlas was introduced, however, though only in journal entries of the past, the story starts to get interesting. Atlas was the opposite of Ryle in many ways: he was humble, quiet, and also homeless. While he stayed at the abandoned house behind hers, Lily often took care of him, bringing him blankets and letting him shower at her house, and though he had nothing to offer materially, the love he had for her made up for it. He spent quality time with her and protected her when things got bad at home. Though he moved out of Maine to live in Boston with his uncle, he never stopped loving her, and his love acts as a catalyst throughout the story in unexpected ways, especially after crossing paths with Lily at his restaurant.

Now here is where the story picks up.

The first incident took me by utter surprise. In a matter of seconds and a moment of intoxicated rage, Lily is on the ground in her kitchen with blood rushing out of her head, and Ryle, whose hand is covered in burns and his own blood, is trying to comfort her all while begging with sincerity for forgiveness. Ryle attacked Lily. Yes, Ryle, the man who was initially against relationships until he fell head-over-heels for Lily, the trustworthy neurosurgeon whose job is to save lives, the brother of Lily’s best friend and coworker Allysa, the one person in Lily’s new life who knows about the way her father destroyed her mother. That Ryle.

Throughout the novel, Colleen Hoover, the author of the book, does such an incredible job of getting the reader to understand and experience Lily’s feelings firsthand. To be frank, I was a bit frightened by my own feelings while reading. Though it becomes quite obvious by Part Two that Ryle is abusive, it’s so difficult not to feel pity for him upon learning more about his situation. Further, long periods of time would go by with no abusive actions taking place, and as a reader, I really started to think that his promise of “I will never hurt you ever again” might actually come true. I started to wonder if maybe this book was about how Lily would help Ryle to get the help he needs to change the actions that he so desperately wanted to put an end to. I fell so deeply in love with Ryle’s character that I occasionally found myself trying to downplay the seriousness of his actions, thinking about the hundreds of loving things he did and blocking out the bad things, which is quite frightening.

In the author’s note at the end of the novel, Hoover writes that situations like those explored in this story are not as black and white as they appear. This struck me heavily. The idea of finding myself in an abusive relationship is one that has always brought a lot of fear into my heart. Just the other day, before even reaching the first incident in the story, I created a secret phrase and told my brother, “If I’m ever in a relationship and I say this to you, that’s my sign to you that the relationship is abusive and I need your help to get out.” But I’ve never thought of what it might feel like to be in Lily’s situation. To be in a relationship that is so beautiful 90% of the time, but excruciatingly painful in the remaining 10%. To be so in love with someone that you start to lose sight of your limit, telling yourself, “at least this time they only hit me, nothing worse.” To find yourself wondering if you can endure the pain just a little while longer for the sake of your children, so they don’t have to grow up in a single-parent household.

This book opened my eyes in frightening ways, but I am quite thankful for the experience.

If you’d like to purchase this book, you can do so here: https://amzn.to/3sWhmRI (Amazon affiliate link)

— Disclaimer: This book contains sensitive themes that may not be appropriate for all audiences (most notably domestic violence, but also sexual themes, death, poverty, etc.). I, personally, felt the need to skip over a few parts of the story, but I don’t think doing so negatively impacted my overall reading experience or takeaways from the book. However, I, of course, am in no position to make decisions on whether or not you should read this novel, so I leave that completely up to you.

Netflix’s Bridgerton — Was it worth the hype?

Before I state whether or not I believe the show is worth the popularity it gained, let me first make a (somewhat bold) declaration.

The issue with Bridgerton, and perhaps the thing that most contributed to the success of the series, is how frustratingly mediocre the plot is. The romance doesn’t tug at your heartstrings, nor do the backstories and character developments leave you feeling moved to reflection with pity. Rather, when watching Bridgerton, you feel a bit like you do when watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians — emotionally detached but still absentmindedly curious. You don’t care enough to think about what you watched in each episode throughout your day-to-day life, but you enjoy it just enough to watch nonstop for four hours straight while drinking wine, doing a facial, or sitting on your living room couch and eating some form of carbs.

Despite my opinions above, however, I do believe that the show deserved the hype that it received. Though the plot felt a bit predictable at times and the characters’ actions were often a little ridiculous, the show was certainly still quite enjoyable. The Gossip Girl-meets-Regency era drama contained lovely costumes, a hint of racial diversity (however most of the main roles did belong to white characters), great acting, and an interesting soundtrack, giving it a uniqueness that’s unparalleled by other period dramas. Bridgerton satisfies its audience’s escapist desires, something that was much needed whilst many were quarantined at home. For these reasons, I believe the show deserved the love that it received, and I look forward to seeing how the second season plays out.

Advertisements
Advertisements

Horimiya Anime… What Went Wrong?

Since the Horimiya epilogue chapter has made its debut, I’ve decided to reflect a bit on the 13-episode Winter 2021 anime.

As someone who binged fifteen volumes of Horimiya in two nights instead of preparing for midterms like I should’ve been, to say that I was simply a little excited when I heard about the soon-to-be-released Horimiya anime would be a serious understatement. I talked about Horimiya for months, joining Discord groups, making twitter group chats, and tweeting character popularity polls, and when the first episode of the anime aired in Japan, I watched it on a live stream and tweeted so much about it that my Twitter account came up as one of the top accounts responsible for the trend in the United States. I had no idea what feelings awaited me.

Upon finding out that Horimiya would be a single cour, meaning it would have between 10 to 14 episodes, I was immediately concerned about the pacing. Aside from the main romantic plotline that entails a secret between Hori and Miyamura which eventually leads to them getting together, there are so many things in the Horimiya manga that I felt were quite relevant but were, unfortunately, left out of the anime. For example, in my opinion, Miyamura’s development from a lonely middle school kid who pierced his ears with a safety pin just to feel something again, without caring about whether they’d bleed out or get infected, to a high school student with a found family consisting of his girlfriend, her family, and his many friends is a key subplot to the overall story. One person who I feel played a rather important role in Miyamura’s development is his best friend Shindou (my favorite character in the series). Shindou stuck with Miyamura from a young age, standing up for him when Tanihara was badmouthing Miyamura in the school bathroom and talking to him in class even though no one else would. Even after these two besties split up to attend different schools, the duo still supported each other, with Shindou being the one to encourage Miyamura to stop looking down on himself and to properly explain his feelings to Hori, and with Miyamura encouraging Shindou not to give up on his relationship with Chika. Without Shindou’s pep talk, our cherished Horimiya love story might have never progressed. 

Horimiya: Volume 4, Chapter 21

However, despite leaving out MANY fan-favorite manga scenes, and leaving in some controversial moments, the Horimiya anime wasn’t entirely bad. The animation was cute, the casting of the voice actors was done pretty well, and I absolutely loved the opening song. Overall, Horimiya as an anime was quite enjoyable, but I think it was likely even more enjoyable for those who hadn’t read the manga since they wouldn’t know about the scenes that didn’t make the cut. If Horimiya ever gets a reboot, which I unfortunately doubt will happen, I hope it has twenty-four episodes and AT LEAST one Meowmura episode (those chapters were so adorable). I feel that a well-paced Horimiya anime could have been the shining star of feel-good rom-com anime, and I wish we had the chance to see that dream become a reality.

Meowmura and I want to remind you to leave a like and comment on this post, and feel free to share it with others! We appreciate your support! ❤
Advertisements