Friday, December 5, 2014

But I Love Him

Title: But I Love Him
Author: Amanda Grace
Number of Pages: 252
Date Read: 12/5/14
Genre: Realistic Fiction, Abuse

Synopsis (Found on

Sometimes at night, I wake up and stare at the heart for hours. I think of how I collected each piece from the beach, how I glued it all together into one big sculpture. I wonder if Connor realizes what it means, that he'll always have a piece of me no matter what happens. Each piece of glass is another piece of myself that I gave to him.

It's too bad I didn't keep any pieces for myself.

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.

My Review:

I read this book once before and I decided to re-read it because while I remember some parts of it I didn't remember all of it. 

This book is about Ann, who is in an abusive relationship with her boyfriend Connor. This book is unique because it tells Ann and Connor's story in reverse chronological order. The book starts off one year into the relationship where Connor has beaten Ann so badly that he broke something and her whole body is in pain. Ann is alone in the room of their apartment because Connor had stormed out after his rage. Ann said that "tonight was so much worse than anything before it." This event has caused Ann to face that Connor will never change and that she has to make the decision to stay or leave him. From here the book descends into chapters that go from one year together until the last chapter which is the day Connor and Ann first meet. Throughout these descending chapters there are maybe 5 or six more 'One Year" sprinkled throughout the book where we see what happens after Connor's rage and what Ann is thinking. 

I like Ann well enough. Throughout the book we see Ann as she is in the beginning of the book, beaten, down, depressed and tired of everything to how she was in her first weeks of being with Connor at the end of the book. The change is so drastic. Before she was a carefree, fun loving, HAPPY person. She was just beginning her senior year of high school and she was captain of the girl's track team. She had everything going for her and a bright future ahead. When she first meets Connor she does what every 17 year old does and spends all her time with him, who is her first boyfriend, ditching friends and family. I think every teen does that when they fall in love the first time. I know I did it. The first boyfriends means everything to the girl and they imagine its forever, nothing break them and that love can make everything fine. Ann felt all these things too, when she first started dating Connor. Then she slowly changes as her relationship with Connor goes on. At first everything is great until the one time its not and she lets it go. That causes a snowball effect of him being abusive, and not just physically, and her always forgiving him because she loves him. I see her reasons for staying because I think everyone has these thoughts about their significant other at some point in their relationship: "I love him", "I'll do anything for him", "I promised him _______", and the every popular 2 phrases that should be dumped out of the english language :"I can't live without him" and "I need him". I guess that since I'm 28 and have been through my fair share of tough times in my relationship, I can't stand those two phrases in particular. I had to learn that yes, you can live without the person and no, you don't need them. I love my boyfriend of 10 years with all my heart but I know that if I had to I can live without him and that if he ever hurt very badly that I don't need him. And he knows the same about me. He can live without me and he doesn't NEED me. We WANT each other; we don't NEED each other. And I understand where Ann is coming from because you have to realize these things for yourself and no matter what anyone tells you, you won't believe them until you figure it out for yourself. Ann's mother tries to push her to realize this and it backfires. Ann doesn't believe her and she won't until she realizes this for herself. Ann becomes a shell of her former self in the beginning (end?) of the book. She is so down and beaten and afraid to do anything to set Connor off. Many times she doesn't even know what she did to set him off. Ann lives a hard life with Connor and she will continue to do so until she realizes that Connor won't change (at least not without counselling and anger management). 

Its hard to tell what I feel about Connor. I feel pity and sympathy for him because his life and childhood was horrendous. His father is an alcoholic and an abuser to both him and his mother. His mother won't leave Connor's dad and keeps going back to him. Connor has had many traumatic experiences in his life that broke him and caused him to be the way he is. He is a good guy deep down but he is too messed up at this point in his life. He freely admits to Ann that he has anger issues but he swears that he will never hit her. In his horrible life, Ann is like a light and is someone who loves him so he latches on to her. He becomes very possessive and obsessive with her. After she forgives him for the first time he hit her, it all goes down hill from there. I also feel hatred and anger toward Connor for physically, mentally and verbally abusing Ann. He isolates her so that she has no family or friends to turn to, only him. He verbally assaults her by calling her nasty names and saying cruel things. And he physically hits, pushes, shoves and punches her. 

I also feel anger towards Connor because he knows he's turning out to be like his father, yet he doesn't do anything to stop or help himself. He doesn't look into counselling or anger management or therapy, he just continues on. Connor is also a very depressed person which Ann sees right away in their relationship but yet she doesn't suggest therapy to him. She believes she is the one who can help him which is for lack of a better word, stupid. Even when he tells her he wants to end his life, which is very serious she doesn't tell him to see a psychologist or anything. Um hello, isn't that the first thing you tell someone who has those feelings instead of trying to make it better yourself? I don't know, it just kind of flabbergasted me. 

I do have to admit that it does amaze me everytime when the women in abusive relationships stay with their abusers. I mean yes, I do understand that they love them but I don't see how getting yourself hurt, sometimes badly, all the time helps anything. I know that I could not be in a relationship like this because of my personality. I'm not one to back down. If someone hits me then I'd hit them back. I'd end up getting into a fist fight all the time because I won't let anyone and I mean ANYONE, hit me and get away with it. I'd only cause more trouble and perhaps my death because almost my fighting back would fuel a person like Connor. I'd also walk away after the first hit (fist fight) occurred. I know people say you never know what you'd do in a situation but I am definitely sure that I would walk away from that person. 

I think that this is a good book that teens should read because it shows the reader that there is more to the abused and the abuser than meets the eye. 


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