The Book That Changed My Life

By Amber Butcher

Books have the power of displaying a plethora of emotions. They tend to fill you with sorrow, happiness, and laughter. Books have the ability to project you into another dimension and move you in ways that open your eyes. You have the opportunity to experience a thorough story through the shoes of someone else. Soon, you’ll feel the things the main character does, possibly even becoming that main character, gaining emotional attachments. Before you know it, you begin to feel as though the story is about your life. That is how I felt reading my first book in the Colleen Hoover series, It Ends with Us.

This book is worth the read for so many different reasons. Being a hopeless romantic since I was a child, I always yearned for the fairy tale romance that you would see in Disney Movies. A love despite obstacles. And that’s exactly how our story starts off, with the main character Lily Bloom meeting Ryle Kincaid upon a Boston rooftop. Ryle is a surgeon, and the soon-to-be love of her life. We are love-bombed in the beginning with many attempts from Ryle to merely have a fling with Lily. Over time though they develop a more serious relationship, even to the point where they get married. Like Lily herself, I overlooked these many, many, red flags, wanting my fairy tale romance trope to come true. His efforts were sweet, and the reader is immediately subjected to seeing the potential of this relationship. Ryle had a lot of unresolved issues within himself that he hadn’t resolved and refused to resolve to be a better person for Lily and more importantly, himself. He was well versed in the ways of getting Lily to come back to him, which was nothing more than a manipulation tactic. Colleen Hoover was able to effectively capture the main issue in abusive relationships, which is obviously, the abuse, and the continuous attack on the mental state and self-esteem. Hoover deeply travels through the mind of Lily, but we are also able to see different aspects and perspectives of the situation. This highlights the reality that many women endure on a daily basis.

Understanding Lily as the victim, having a childhood in which she witnessed the same type of abuse her mother went through, that is already one heavy thing to cope with through adulthood. This comes along with her decisions to stay with Ryle, mimicking her mother’s same actions. Hoover depicted these characters in such a well manner, that I found myself questioning whether Ryle was an actual bad person or was a good person who sometimes committed bad acts. I wanted to forgive Ryle for the things he did almost just as bad as Lily did, considering the heartfelt moments that they had, and the genuine caring acts he enacted. Despite this, we see so many countless times Ryle’s violent tendencies are overshadowed, and they begin to become more and more prevalent, but not before Lily is always the one to apologize, which seems like her only coping mechanism, feeling like she is the problem in every situation. Hoover allows us to get background on all the characters, letting us be the judge of the actions that they make due to their trauma and now, their development, and I truly did appreciate the fact that I was able to make my own assumptions and decisions. No matter what you think, Hoover isn’t trying to show the message of hopelessness in abusive relationships, that other books that deal with domestic violence may portray, but more so gathering the courage to be able to make the hard decisions that although may break your heart but are the right ones to make. The supportive relationships that Lily also had were heartwarming, seeing the female and male characters who were in her life, not judging her due to her situation, and understood the fear that Lily had to endure. I kept coming back to this harrowing story, every single dialogue hitting a different emotion, every single incident that we are shown, and every time we hit a heartbreak, it is nerve wracking, but putting all of these events together, it is clear to us that Ryle never intended to love Lily in the right ways in the first place.

This book makes me physically feel the same pain that Lily does, but has the power to make me stay happy, inevitably hoping for Lily to find better because she deserves more than what she is given. The sacrifices she made for her own happiness is heartbreaking. This book changed my life in the way I was able to see how Lily lost herself, I would never want to lose myself how she did, and never have that type of partner that caused it. The cycle of abuse left her stuck, left her wandering and left her questioning her own self-worth. This book teaches you to stand on your own two feet, never allowing anyone no matter how much you love them, to be the reason for your own demise. The realism of this book opens your eyes to situations that happen every day and can even be a warning sign for some people as these are signs that you should definitely stay away from.