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BN Book Review: It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover | Review by Oladimeji A.A

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Beyond entertainment, Colleen Hoover has a history of tossing her audience into utter shock with the style she tells her stories. It Ends With Us is no exception to her magical creations. From start to finish, I flipped each page eager to quench the insatiable thirst dented by the overwhelming jittery. If it is suspense, this book has it in piles. Multiple times, the book will leave you smiling sheepishly, dropping your jaw in awe, holding onto your throbbing heart and whispering several cuss words under your breath. The romance story will have you lost in fantasy and question your sanity on several occasions. 

It Ends With Us is a heartbreaking story about an imperfect romance, sacrifice, friendship and domestic violence. Hoover excited her audience with a big plot when the situation of the once perfect relationship turned sour. She narrates the story in a pattern that shows how easy it is to judge other people’s situations from the outside point of view. Until Lily experiences her fair share of domestic abuse, she never understood why her mother couldn’t divorce her abusive father. The story exposes the emotional attachment, manipulation, mental exercise and sacrifices that may deter victims from escaping the captivity of their abusers.

In the book, Colleen tells the story of Lily, a 23-year-old lady who might not be the luckiest person when it comes to finding a partner. The turbulence of her love life begins when she falls in love with a homeless teenager, who would later become a chef and owner of Bib’s restaurant, the place which conceded the second half of Lily’s emotional turmoil.

Lily’s father, Andrew Bloom, is an unapologetic alcoholic who physically abuses Lily’s mother for several years. When he is intoxicated, mostly at night, his rage rises and would often assault his wife, then apologise to her with gifts. Lily, who is young, questions her mother’s decision for sticking with her father despite being domestically abused. 

The experience Lily has from her parents’ marriage influences her expectations of a partner. For the most part, she swears not to tolerate any form of abuse like her mother. The tide of the story quickly changes when she meets Ryle.

One evening, Lily is basking in the breeze from the rooftop and reminisces on the awkward moments that ensued earlier that day, at her father’s funeral. But that moment is soon disrupted when Ryle, a neurosurgeon climbs up the rooftop for a breather after a terrific day at work. What might have been a bad day for both of them soon changes after they engage in a chit-chat. The chemistry between the duo quickly thickens as the night swings deeper.

Many months later, the relationship between Lily and Ryle begins on a smooth sail after a second encounter at her flower shop, an idea which might have been fueled by the conversation they had on the rooftop months ago. Soon, they get married. 

It is a beautiful ride, their love. Enviable even. But not until the first incident of assault at Ryle’s kitchen where he hits her. He immediately regrets hitting her and promises never to assault her. She forgives him and allows herself to take comfort in his regrets after considering that her nonchalance might have contributed to his reaction. But the harassment persists.

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan, her first love. She reflects on how Atlas was her kindred spirit, her protector. When he suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle becomes threatened.

Lily finds herself living the life she has dreaded throughout her existence when Ryle assaulted her the second and third times. She is puzzled and, on occasion, left to question her sanity when she reminisces how smoothly their relationship started. Lily battles internal convictions that she isn’t overthinking because she has begun to compare her relationship with that of her parents.

It becomes difficult to voice out to her best friend, Allyson, who is Ryle’s sister or even her mother because Lily fears she might not understand. When she eventually seeks safety with Atlas after the third incident, she is already pregnant with Ryle’s child. The realisation of that further jolts her into a tragic state of indecisiveness. With the assistance of Atlas, Allyson and her mother, she is able to pull through her abusive marriage.

Lily takes the bold decision to put a halt to the train despite her intense feelings for Ryle. She realises she might never be able to change him despite her recurring trials. In a bid to protect her daughter from growing up in an abusive home as she does with her parents, Lily divorces Ryle and puts an end to the abuse she and her mother endure under the guise of love. Her decision begs the title of the book It Ends With Us.

The book is an interesting read. Colleen is a beautiful writer and her stories would have you cling to the book from the beginning until the last page. I definitely recommend!

Oladimeji A.A (he/him) is an undergraduate of Tai-Solarin University of education, studying Library and Information Science. When he’s not buried in pages of fantasy novels or eating a bowlful of pasta, he can be caught telling stories about people he has met or spoken to or enjoying the other half of fantasy digested from novels and movies. He can often be found talking a lot on Twitter (@Dimdomie_) or exploring Pinterest for an idea of the next creative invention.

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