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Book Review: It Ends with Us

It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover

If you want to read something raw, powerful and poignant, this is the book. Holy cow, did it draw me in, make me cringe and make me weep all at the same time.

The short of it: it’s a fascinating fiction about how an everyday woman can find herself at the mercy of a physical abuser—and how difficult the journey is to leave him.

They say you don't know what it's like to walk in someone else's shoes, and this book just changed my whole perspective on physical abuse. I used to wonder how someone could be physically abused and want to stay with the person; how she could forgive over and over and believe he would never pummel her to the ground again; how she could even love a monster like that.

Well, because the monster is not always visible, even to the monster himself. And he doesn’t rear his head until you are knee deep in love, caught in a web of heart versus survival.

After watching the development of the relationship from beginning to end through the eyes of the main character, Lily, I feel like I've come away with much more compassion for a victim's turmoil…and the realization that the magnet is no different for someone who has lived and survived emotional abuse.

Like me. Yes, I saw myself in Lily, and in doing so, I found understanding, empathy and even self-forgiveness. I saw a sister who, even if “fake,” conveyed so painfully the conflict of loving someone versus loving yourself. Accepting abuse versus finding the strength to say, “No more.”

Lily began as a brave, compassionate young woman who witnessed and judged her mother’s acceptance of abuse from her father, only to find herself in the same kind of situation herself. She faltered, she excused, she hid—until she couldn’t any longer. Watching her rise back to bravery, using every ounce of strength she could muster, was humbly powerful to witness.

If anyone ever wanted to open their eyes about how it all really happens, this book can give you that wakeup call. (Serendipitously, I am in the middle of a draft of my own novel on emotional abuse, and it has only encouraged me to move forward to get more works out there like this one).

It’s not a certain demographic or stereotype that can find themselves in this precarious situation—literally anyone, male or female—can unknowingly fall for the wrong kind of person and not know how to find the strength to get out.

What a beautifully written and moving story that has every feel and an amazing message.

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