Emily May's Reviews > But I Love Him

But I Love Him by Amanda Grace
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's review
Mar 30, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: young-adult, 2011
Read on July 18, 2011

I'm not sure if But I Love Him would have touched me as much if the subject matter wasn't something that has affected someone close to me throughout their life, and therefore, had a huge effect on myself. I'm not going to publicly post details but a person who was very important to me went through a similar ordeal with domestic abuse with even more violent conclusions. I saw first-hand how someone could be so wrapped up in a relationship that they didn't see how much it was harming them. There were times after a fit of violence where he would storm out, claiming to be leaving, knowing full well that she would beg him to stay. And she did.

This is a subject that really affects me everytime I read books or see films with violent partners. Because I know how someone can alienate their friends and family and retreat into their own little bubble of violence. I know all about the "it'll be different this time" and how quickly an abusive partner can switch personalities. But I Love Him contained all of these elements and it was believable for me because I recognised it all and knew it to be true.

The author's decision to write the book in reverse chronological order was a little confusing at first and I had almost written it off as a failed attempt to have something a bit unique. But I began to understand the reasons behind it as the story unfolded and we learned the hows and the whys. How many people are guilty of looking at an abusive relationship and thinking "how can you believe that he loves you when he knocks you about?" and "how can that person not realise they deserve better?" That's why this book starts at the end, with the readers at that point where they cannot understand why the protagonist has let it get to this with her boyfriend. Then the story tells you why.

The more I think about it, the more I like this time format. If you start a tale about an abusive relationship at the beginning then you can predict there will be one of two possible conclusions: 1) She leaves him, or 2) She gets so seriously hurt that the story serves as a severe warning to others. But this way, the conclusion is discovering the whats, wheres, hows, whys and wherefores that led to the protagonist accepting violence as just another part of her life.

There were things I didn't like in the novel. I thought sometimes as the story was going backward that there wasn't the smoothest reverse transition between events and I had questions that needed answering. I also wanted a better ending, I thought the protagonist's final decision was a bit sketchy and should have been clearer. (view spoiler) If I'm being nit-picky, I thought the author also made a mess of the past scenes with ex-best friend Abby. They could have been a meaningful representation of friendship but they were wasted in cliched phrases and exclamations like:

Did you hear that so-and-so is dating whatshisname?


However, my absolute favourite part of this book was another relationship in the novel that I thought was told very well and was incredibly sad, even more so than the main relationship. I don't want to say too much and ruin it for anyone. Apart from the few small things I've mentioned, I thought this was a great book, highly emotional and effective. It also feels like an even shorter read than it is (245 pages) because it has small chapters and you're like "just one more" until suddenly the whole book's gone in one evening. Recommended to those who like young adult books about real life scenarios and relationships.
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Reading Progress

07/18/2011 page 57
07/18/2011 page 57
22.0% "Interesting idea to write the book in reverse chronological order but it's damn confusing..."

Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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Stefanie can you loan me the book via Kindle

Emily May Sorry, Stefanie, I don't have this for kindle - mine's a paperback :/

Stefanie ok that's anyway

The Grim Reaper What was the other relationship that you thought was told very well and also was very sad? I recently read the book and since I have someone as well who went through a very similar relationship, it hit me way too close to home.

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