Thursday, May 24, 2012

Bitter End - Jennifer Brown

Synopsis: When Alex falls for the charming new boy at school, Cole -- a handsome, funny, sports star who adores her -- she can't believe she's finally found her soul mate . . . someone who truly loves and understands her.
At first, Alex is blissfully happy. Sure, Cole seems a little jealous of her relationship with her close friend Zack, but what guy would want his girlfriend spending all her time with another boy? As the months pass, though, Alex can no longer ignore Cole's small put-downs, pinches, or increasingly violent threats.
As Alex struggles to come to terms with the sweet boyfriend she fell in love with and the boyfriend whose "love" she no longer recognizes, she is forced to choose -- between her "true love" and herself.
 (From Goodreads)

I read this book knowing before hand that it was going to rip me to shreds. I don't know why I put myself through things like this, but I always feel a little different when I read these intensely powerful books. And I do feel different after reading this one. It seems like a new beginning, after enduring something hard - even if it wasn't actually happening to me.

I don't know why, but my number one fear is getting into an abusive relationship. There's no logical explanation for this fear - I've never felt unsafe and I've never actually seen much violence. I just can't stand the thought of someone that you love and trust taking away your power and your control.

I hesitate to even say that this book is amazing, because it feels a little wrong to put out examples of abuse and say - hey this is great. But I will say that this book is strong. It's a story that carries a heavy weight, but Jennifer Brown doesn't ever make her readers wade through psychological pain and drama. It begins with Alex before Cole, goes through meeting him, falling in love, and then finding herself becoming isolated and her control slowly leeched away from her. Alex is a strong and beautiful character. It's easy to see an abused woman and incredulously wonder why she doesn't fight back, or leave. But I never felt that way with Alex. Brown follows her mental status through the whole thing and you can see the way her mind becomes altered between her emotions and physical abuse.

When reading about abuse, the focus always seems to be on the girl. But I couldn't help wondering through this book - what goes through the abuser's head? Do they choose a certain type of girl? Or is it just whoever seems to come into their path? Do they see that she has friends and family and actively think - I need to get rid of them? Do they hit and then think - oh, I better do something nice to keep her around? I've never really thought of these things, but for some reason I was yearning to get into Cole's head so I could analyze and understand his actions.

I think the reason this book was so effective in breaking me down was Brown's incredible portrayal of Alex's interior process. I found myself getting upset with her friends for abandoning her - even though it makes perfect sense why they do. I was frustrated with her father and sister for giving Alex reasons for finding solace elsewhere. And I was thoroughly shocked that I was able to distance the actual abuse, as if it was happening somewhere else. It was when people said things that indicated they knew something was going on, or Alex actually talked about it out loud, that it became real. I couldn't believe I hadn't felt that intensity when it was happening, but only when others saw it as well. When the people who cared about her became involved, I lost it. Alex is a strong character, but the people who can pick you up when that strength is tested are just as important.

I don't know how others will react. My reactions were intense and emotional because of my own fears. Even so, Brown has an impressive skill for dealing with a touchy subject. She is a wonderful writer, and I'm going to pick up Hate List as soon as I can and I'm definitely anticipating Perfect Escape, out in July. Based off Bitter End, I believe she has a talent for telling the stories that need to be told, to be heard.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this review! I've never heard of it until now and I've found myself quite interested in the story. I think I'll be picking it up some time soon.

    ReplyDelete

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Bitter End - Jennifer Brown

Synopsis: When Alex falls for the charming new boy at school, Cole -- a handsome, funny, sports star who adores her -- she can't believe she's finally found her soul mate . . . someone who truly loves and understands her.
At first, Alex is blissfully happy. Sure, Cole seems a little jealous of her relationship with her close friend Zack, but what guy would want his girlfriend spending all her time with another boy? As the months pass, though, Alex can no longer ignore Cole's small put-downs, pinches, or increasingly violent threats.
As Alex struggles to come to terms with the sweet boyfriend she fell in love with and the boyfriend whose "love" she no longer recognizes, she is forced to choose -- between her "true love" and herself.
 (From Goodreads)

I read this book knowing before hand that it was going to rip me to shreds. I don't know why I put myself through things like this, but I always feel a little different when I read these intensely powerful books. And I do feel different after reading this one. It seems like a new beginning, after enduring something hard - even if it wasn't actually happening to me.

I don't know why, but my number one fear is getting into an abusive relationship. There's no logical explanation for this fear - I've never felt unsafe and I've never actually seen much violence. I just can't stand the thought of someone that you love and trust taking away your power and your control.

I hesitate to even say that this book is amazing, because it feels a little wrong to put out examples of abuse and say - hey this is great. But I will say that this book is strong. It's a story that carries a heavy weight, but Jennifer Brown doesn't ever make her readers wade through psychological pain and drama. It begins with Alex before Cole, goes through meeting him, falling in love, and then finding herself becoming isolated and her control slowly leeched away from her. Alex is a strong and beautiful character. It's easy to see an abused woman and incredulously wonder why she doesn't fight back, or leave. But I never felt that way with Alex. Brown follows her mental status through the whole thing and you can see the way her mind becomes altered between her emotions and physical abuse.

When reading about abuse, the focus always seems to be on the girl. But I couldn't help wondering through this book - what goes through the abuser's head? Do they choose a certain type of girl? Or is it just whoever seems to come into their path? Do they see that she has friends and family and actively think - I need to get rid of them? Do they hit and then think - oh, I better do something nice to keep her around? I've never really thought of these things, but for some reason I was yearning to get into Cole's head so I could analyze and understand his actions.

I think the reason this book was so effective in breaking me down was Brown's incredible portrayal of Alex's interior process. I found myself getting upset with her friends for abandoning her - even though it makes perfect sense why they do. I was frustrated with her father and sister for giving Alex reasons for finding solace elsewhere. And I was thoroughly shocked that I was able to distance the actual abuse, as if it was happening somewhere else. It was when people said things that indicated they knew something was going on, or Alex actually talked about it out loud, that it became real. I couldn't believe I hadn't felt that intensity when it was happening, but only when others saw it as well. When the people who cared about her became involved, I lost it. Alex is a strong character, but the people who can pick you up when that strength is tested are just as important.

I don't know how others will react. My reactions were intense and emotional because of my own fears. Even so, Brown has an impressive skill for dealing with a touchy subject. She is a wonderful writer, and I'm going to pick up Hate List as soon as I can and I'm definitely anticipating Perfect Escape, out in July. Based off Bitter End, I believe she has a talent for telling the stories that need to be told, to be heard.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this review! I've never heard of it until now and I've found myself quite interested in the story. I think I'll be picking it up some time soon.

    ReplyDelete