But I Love Him by Amanda Grace
Release Date – May 8, 2011
Publisher – Flux
Pages - 264
My Rating- 8.5/10
Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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.We meet Ann 1 year into her relationship with Connor. We meet her as she is lying on the floor surrounded by glass. She’s been abused by Connor and you get the impression that this is the worst in an escalation of abuse. The story goes in reverse chronological order from there, leading up to the day she meets Connor.
This evocative slideshow of flashbacks reveals a heartbreaking story of love gone terribly wrong.
I thought that this technique was perfect for this type of story. Often in cases of domestic abuse the refrain of “why did they stay” is asked. This allows us not to judge and just go on the journey with Ann. At the end of the book we are left with a sense of how both Connor and Ann got to the point they are at when we first meet them. It’s one of the novel’s strengths.
One of the things I took away from the novel was how important a support system can be in situations like this. Ann feels cut off from everyone and it impacts decisions she makes and her mind set. In situations like this just knowing that someone is there for her when she needs them can help.
The fact that both Ann and Connor are shown as broken was important to me. I felt that even though Connor’s actions were awful there is an underlying cause to his behaviour. It’s too often that the “villain” in this type of book would be one dimensional and not developed, and this is not the case with Connor.
The writing style really pulls you in. You’re invested right from the beginning and you want to know what brought Ann and Connor to the point they are at when we first meet them. The book almost makes you feel like you’re the one whose been beaten. You feel Ann’s pain when she is abused. The author manages with her words to keep you on your guard, like you’re Ann walking on egg shells with Connor.
As sad as this novel is, I think it’s an important one. This is situation that needs to be discussed so that necessary support systems can be put into place. It’s an intense and thought provoking read that I recommend.