How far will you go to justify the cruel acts of your partner?
The two books I saw everywhere! Open Instagram, open Facebook – Everywhere, readers were raving about these two books by Colleen Hoover. So I was naturally elated when I got “It starts with us” books as a gift. I encashed an Amazon gift card for the “It ends with us” book.
Till then, I was in a reading slump and had not picked up a book in over three months, so these two books will pull me out of the phase. I dived straight into the book and, boy oh boy! I was in for a surprise!
Lily Bloom’s path crosses with Ryle, who sweeps her up in his arms with his dapper charm. Ryle and Lily head into a whirlwind romance only till reality hits hard. Ryle’s abusive nature tars Lily’s life. Atlas, Lily’s unrequited first love shows up. Even his absence starts adding fuel to Ryle’s temper. The constant gaslighting will put any reader on the edge. Lily keeps sinking in the ocean of lies and coming up for breath only to be sent back again.
Read Colleen Hoover’s book Verity’s mini review
“It Starts with us”, the sequel is just the closure a reader would need after “It ends with us“. The second book is just like a soothing balm to the sore wounds left by the first book. The perfect happy ending to the sour, nauseating ending the first book had.
“All humans make mistakes. What determine a person’s character aren’t the mistakes we make. It is how we take those mistakes and turn them into lessons rather than excuses.”It ends with us, Colleen Hoover
Both books are entirely character driven. Ryle is the fictional representation of Kabir Singh, to be honest, and it surprises me how some people can be so conveniently cruel. In more recent OTT releases, “Darling” has touched on similar topics of domestic abuse and insane gaslighting. There were times I wanted to dive into the book and shake Lily till she snapped out of her assumptions. As much the audience had loved Kabir Singh, with his obsession with his lady-love – Ryle’s antics for Lily seemed flirtatious teenage rosy love. I could not fathom the need for the justification of such actions, even at the cost of physical harm. Even the second book is plastered with extremely downright cringeworthy moments. The only savior was of course the journals Lily wrote and I was transported back to my journalling days. I absolutely adored the beautiful bond Alyssa shared with Lily. Their devotion to each other reminded me of Dumbledore’s words “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.” In the second book, Atlas’s relationship with Theo is beautifully written and almost made Theo, my favorite character in the series.
“Maybe the idea of love ending being a negative thing is simply a matter of perspective. Because to me, the idea that a love came to an end means that, at some point, there was love that existed. And there was a time in my life, before you, when I was completely untouched by it.”It Starts with Us, Colleen Hoover
I am at an age where I can identify red flags better so the book bothered me a lot and I felt neither of the books would ever be my favorite. I can never support normalizing obsessive love in any relationship. I understand that such stories create awareness against social evils however, I do feel the subject could have been dealt with without the dosages of romance. For anyone who has dealt with this evil, I just want to say, stay strong and seek help. It is never acceptable for anyone to lay their hands on anyone while professing undying love.
Pick up the books if you are in for the dark obsessive romance genre, they will certainly tick off every checklist.
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