Lexie's Reviews > How It Ends

How It Ends by Laura Wiess
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Jan 01, 2016

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The first chapter, told from Helen's viewpoint as she remembers watching Hanna grow up and how their lives drifted apart, made me tear up. And that pretty much sums up how I felt about this book in general.

I wasn't depressed by the novel, or unduly unhappy after reading it, but so much affection could be felt between Helen and Hanna that it made me miss my grandmother (who died a year and half ago, but who battled Alzheimer's for years before that). A lot of what Hanna feels--in regards to the changes in her 'Gran's' behavior and mannerisms, though different from what changed my grandmother, resonated strongly within me.

Other pieces of How It Ends, such as Hanna's relationship with her boyfriend and the communication block that seemed to be in place between herself and her parents, spoke less to me. In regards to her parents, there seemed to be a loss of understanding between Hanna and her parents. In one scene Hanna questions her mother about what she would do if she caught her husband cheating on her.

And I don't know what I was expecting, but it wasn't her easy, "Divorce him."
"You would break up our family?"
"I can't stand that you just said that," she said, grabbing a bottle of Italian dressing by the neck and shaking it like she was trying to kill it. "If your father cheated on me, then he made the decision to risk every single thing we had together, knowing that this would destroy us, so no, Hanna, it wouldn't be me breaking up the family, it would be him."

(pages 252-253, How It Ends)

And then a discussion of unconditional love ensues. I think Hanna's viewpoint and her mother's (and her father's for that matter) are so skewed in opposite directions that Hanna can honestly not understand where they are coming from. But you love him, so why wouldn't you forgive him? Throughout the book she struggles with this question. She loves Seth, so she should forgive him because of that love, not because he deserves it or she truly believes he will change.

At times Hanna is an interesting character, but others she is so typically 'teenager' that I grind my teeth in frustration. Maybe because I am beyond the age where I want to hear about petty friendship squabbles or minor dramas involving clothing and nails. Helen, by contrast, is a very interesting woman. She tries so hard to be what Hanna needs, but still Hanna slips away and Helen doesn't understand why (her and her husband Lon are childless, she is Hanna's honorary grandmother). Then as she grows older and more frail everything she ever wanted to tell Hanna--about the truth of her life, about the truth of life in general--becomes vastly important, but it becomes almost impossible.

The ending left me a little hollow inside, from feeling so much tension and emotions throughout the book. Like Hanna I always want to hear stories with Happy Endings when I feel sad, or conflicted with the world. I turn to romances more often when I'm depressed then my normal standby of dark fantasy specifically because I want to read about a tormented relationship that in the end works out happily no matter what ridiculous things happen. Reading about the bittersweet solution the heroine finds to save the world at the cost of her lover, family and life...not so much.
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Reading Progress

02/26/2014 marked as: books-owned
02/26/2014 marked as: books-owned-read
02/01/2015 marked as: read

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