19 September 2013

Review: But I Love Him by Amanda Grace

But I Love Him by Amanda Grace

Published: 8 May 20111 by Flux

Pages: 245 (paperback)

Genre/s: YA, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction

Source: Own library


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 Thoughts

I could read issue / realistic-fiction books until the end of time.  I think it's the combination of stories that could possibly be real life situations and the dramatic, shocking things that happen in them, and when they are done well, they can stay with me for weeks or even months afterwards.  And I'd heard some pretty good things about But I Love Him being both realistic and dramatic, plus it's told in reverse chronological order which really had me intrigued.

The first problem I had with this book were the characters.  Ann is artistic and yet doesn't really have much of a personality, which made it difficult for me to like her enough to sympathise with her situation.  And as the story is in reverse chronological order, the worst parts of her relationship with Connor come first, and it just made me angry with her rather than sad for her.  She believes that there is good in Connor, but even by the end of the book, when the first days of their relationship were revealed, I didn't see why they were attracted to each other at all.  Ann herself obviously had some issues, but they didn't seem all that relevant to me as to why she ended up in such a toxic relationship.  Yes, I know that sometimes things just happen, but the pieces just didn't come together for me.

Perhaps I'm coming across as not being sympathetic to stories of abuse, but that's not the case - I've read some books that have moved me greatly, and usually empathising with characters is not something I struggle with.  But I think it's a combination of not really liking Ann, and Grace's sparse writing style that made me feel so disconnected from the book.

But I Love Him does have an important message which does come through the story quite well, it just wasn't a book that worked very well for me.  However, I really enjoyed Grace's writing - a lyrical sparse style is often something that I love, so I will definitely be checking out more of her work.

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