Simon & Schuster UK | August 2016 | 384 pgs
Colleen Hoover's latest release, It Ends With Us, wasn't an easy read. While her signature for writing an intense love story is still there, this story comes together with a heavy issue which will break your heart but it was also a thought-provoking story which is uplifting as well. Please be aware that my thoughts contain spoilers as I felt it is impossible (hard) to write my thoughts without talking about the issue found in this book.
The story begins with our protagonist, Lily Bloom, delivering an eulogy at her father's funeral. While she is supposed to feel sad with her father's death, in fact she could't help but to feel a bit glad that their unhappy past is over, especially for her mother. You see, Lily's parents' marriage was an abusive one. Every time after her father hit her mother, he would tell her again and again that he was sorry. And although Lily's mother always ended up hurt in every places, physically and emotionally, in the end she always let it go and think that whatever her husband did to her there must be a reason. Unfortunately, that cycle never ends until his death.
Lily carries this emotional burden with her through her teenage years till her adult life. She works hard and after graduated from college, she moves to Boston from her small town in Maine to begin a new life. She started her own business and it is also at this moment that she meets a handsome, charismatic neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid. Lily begins to think that her new life is a good beginning to everything, and most importantly she is happy again. There was once that she thought she would never get over an old friend, Atlas Corrigan, a homeless guy whom she had helped when she was fifteen but their friendship had ended when he left for Boston to live with his uncle. Lily treasured those moments with Atlas a lot, and she would always write her thoughts on a journal addressing to Ellen DeGeneres, because she loves her show. She called all her journals "My Ellen Diaries" and they contain all her memories of her time with Atlas.
While Atlas is not what Ryle is, with his brains, charms and all, Lily at times wonder what it would be like if he and Atlas are still together. Would they be a couple? Despite her feelings, Lily is satisfied with her relationship with Ryle as he is an amazing lover who will always think of her first. However, there is a side of Ryle which Lily hasn't noticed, and that side would soon emerge especially after Atlas appears into her life, again.
It Ends With Us is deeply emotional in many levels and while the subject deals with a heavy issue, I enjoyed the author's writing style. I liked how she wrapped two stories into one - Atlas' past in journal form and Lily's present in first person narrative. While this story is fictional, Lily's nuances of life and her experiences reflect what some women experience in reality and this made it to be a deeply personal novel as well, especially to the author as this is written based on her real-life experiences. While Lily's mother remains to suffer under her husband's abusive behaviours, the author's mother decided for a divorce before the author turned three. Despite all circumstances, the author has the utmost respect for parents who don't involve their children in the dissolution of their relationship, like the way her mother wanted the relationship with her father to be free of any strain by not discussing about it. She decided to break the pattern before it broke her children and it wasn't easy. After all, she made the ultimate decision to leave someone she loved so that her daughters would not think that the abusive relationship was okay.
Although this is only my second Colleen Hoover book, I think this will remain as my "most powerful and unforgettable read" among all her other books, which I know I want to get to them in the near future.
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