There are some stories that move you so deeply and so unexpectedly, that you end up shedding buckets of tears in the end, feeling too much all at once. As I read the last few pages of this beautiful book, I could barely see the words through all my tears, because nothing prepared me for the sheer emotion running through this stunning, wrenching, gem of a novel. This is the story of an anonymous epidemic affecting so many families, and one couple’s struggle to save their crumbling marriage from divorce as life continues to deny them the one thing they long for the most. I don’t know how Colleen Hoover manages to create such authentic, heartfelt stories time and time again, leaving us utterly breathless and incoherent in their aftermath, but I do know that this book is one of my absolute favourites. Ever.
People are led to believe that a marriage ends only when the love has been lost. When anger replaces happiness. When contempt replaces bliss. But Graham and I aren’t angry at each other. We’re just not the same people we used to be.
Graham and Quinn might have met at one of the lowest points in both their lives, but the instant spark between them felt fated and impossible to ignore. Their whirlwind romance was picture-perfect from the start, yet when we meet them years later, we find them grappling with very real obstacles in their marriage, barely talking about their problems, and hiding their pain and grief behind smiles that never reach their eyes. Told in fragments, their story cuts between past and present, between their happiest and their most difficult of times, to reveal an unflinching portrait of two people whose pain has made them forget their most important vows to one another. And every single glimpse into their happy past only makes their present woes all the more saddening to witness.
“Every day, I miss you. When I’m at work, I miss you. When I’m home, I miss you. When you’re next to me in bed, I miss you. When I’m inside you, I miss you.”
As the whole story is told in her voice, in Quinn we find a woman who is drowning in grief and shame as she comes to terms with the very real possibility that her greatest wish in life might never come true. Time and time again, she hopes for joy but prepares for devastation—a feeling she’s grown accustomed to in all the years she believes she’s failed her marriage—and her pain is so real at times, it took my breath away.
I haven’t felt alive inside in years. I’ve slowly been rotting away, and that rot is now eating at my marriage to the point that I can no longer hide it.
A marriage on the brink of divorce between two people who’ve forgotten how to communicate with one another, Graham and Quinn’s story is cutting and honest until the very last page, paced to perfection and incredibly relatable, and told in Colleen Hoover’s unique style, full of short, crisp sentences that pack a punch and a half. While not a ‘light summer read’, this wonderful novel will fill your heart with hope and have you dying to discuss it with someone else who’s read it. And if you’re anything like me, the ending will leave you smiling through the ugly tears.
No matter how much you love someone—the capacity of that love is meaningless if it outweighs your capacity to forgive.