September 8, 2012

Review: But I Love Him

But I Love HimBut I Love Him by Amanda Grace
Amazon Link

Tonight was so much worse than anything before it.
Tonight he didn't stop after the first slap.

At the beginning of senior year, Ann was a smiling, straight-A student and track star with friends and a future. Then she met a haunted young man named Connor. Only she can heal his emotional scars; only he could make her feel so loved-and needed. Ann can't recall the pivotal moment it all changed, when she surrendered everything to be with him, but by graduation, her life has become a dangerous high wire act. Just one mistake could trigger Connor's rage, a senseless storm of cruel words and violence damaging everything-and everyone-in its path.

This evocative slideshow of flashbacks reveals a heartbreaking story of love gone terribly wrong.


But I Love Him is an intense read, gritty and truthful. That being said the author, Amanda Grace, paints a pretty vivid picture about what’s going on within the first chapter and I wasn't sure it was something I wanted to read, yet I couldn't seem to put it down. I finished this book in less than six hours, which I guess isn’t that fast, but since I was reading at work…

Anyway, I really enjoyed the style of writing she used here. Ann’s story begins at the end and works its way back to the first day she met Connor. It was like a yearlong retrospective took place in her head as she lay on the floor of the apartment she shared with Connor, battered and broken for the last time. We saw all the moments leading up to where she was now and the small details where she says she should have known what was going to happen.

Grace described the pain that Ann goes through and what she’s feeling and thinking excellently. I seriously felt like I was inside this girls head and it tore at my heartstrings every time Connor hurt her especially when things were good because in those small moments I could see why Ann fell in love with him. I could see the man that she must have thought was beneath the surface. But once the abuse became physical it was like every good thing Connor did for Ann was tainted. I found myself getting angry that she kept making excuses for him instead of standing up for herself.

Rationally speaking I know it is never a victims fault, but I couldn’t help being frustrated with Ann’s choices. The closer she got with Connor and the better she got to know him the more his rage issues made themselves known and you would think that a person who is being abused would have a sense of self preservation that kicked in after so long.

It wasn’t until I delved further into the book and saw things from her perspective that I started to understand why domestic violence victims stay with the person they are with. I never really got why they didn’t just pick up and leave. Ann’s entire world became Connor and it was like nothing else mattered. Without him she had nothing. He had slowly worked his way into every aspect of her life and once a person is that deeply embedded into your life, well I imagine it’s pretty impossible to let them go even if they are an abusive asshole.

I read an interview with the author that said people told her Connor came off as a sympathetic character, but I don’t see it. Yes, he got a raw deal growing up with an abusive Father and watching his Mother take all the garbage he threw at her, but I’m sorry the minute he hit Ann, I lost all sympathy for him. We got to see into Connor’s life and the way his Father was with his Mother and more than once he wished she would just leave his Dad.

Connor would tell Ann that he didn’t know why his Mom stuck around and let his Father treat her like that and then he goes and puts Ann in the same situation. In my opinion if you love someone you don’t hurt them, not physically or mentally. Connor needed someone to control and after everything that had happened with Ann’s Father passing away and her Mother not really paying attention to her, she just wanted to be loved.

So, when Ann finally gets to the point where she sees what her life has become and how lost she really is as a reader you can’t help but be relieved. I honestly didn’t think she would ever leave Connor and I was getting irritated with how she couldn’t see what he was doing to her. Even when her friends and Mom tried to reach out and help her, there was nothing they could do. The only person who really understood that was Abby. As much as you love someone nothing you do is going to help them unless they want to be helped.

Overall I thought the book was good, but I felt it could have been better by incorporating different viewpoints from other characters as well. With a topic like this, things aren’t just black and white, there’s so much gray and it would have been nice to see how this not only affected Ann but the people in her life. It would have also been nice to see how she was changing from their point of view so we could see the whole picture. I would probably recommend But I Love Him to friends interested in this topic, but I wouldn’t read the book again.

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