TRIGGERS: domestic abuse
As a deeply personal novel, this story offers a lot and while it is not my favourite CoHo book it is perhaps the best when it comes to the structure and the overall message. I had some issues with the writing (again) and wasn’t blown away by the story as a lot of people were. To me it was good but a bit over the top when it comes to characters and their personal stories.
I’ve noticed this before with Hoover, she tends to write characters who are deeply scarred and “damaged” but here it felt too much, every person had their own tragedy lurking in their past. And yes, I do think we are all a bit screwed up but this was just taking it to a whole new level and it was simply TOO MUCH.
My favourite parts of this novel were actually the flashbacks. I didn’t care for Ryle that much because I got a hunch something would be off with him, like the relationship was too perfect. Atlas was such a sweetheart but perhaps a bit too cheesy at times. I really liked how the relationship between Lily and her mother was portrayed, and the ending was just beautiful.
However, I do have some issues with how CoHo wanted to sort of excuse Ryle’s behaviour by giving him this tragic childhood backstory. Yes, I agree, it was horrendous (and a bit too much in my opinion) but I felt like she used that story to explain his awful behaviour. So what you’re saying is, he wouldn’t have acted the way he did if he had a happy childhood? Seriously?
Lilys bravery and her final decision was what made this story a good one. I applaud her for her courage. And I also think CoHo was really brave to tell her side of the story and to go this deep into it. Domestic abuse is something that is still not discussed enough and I think she really helped women by sharing her experience.