For the month of October, Safe Passage held a book club about the book It Ends With Us, by Colleen Hoover. Kirsti, Marketing & Community Outreach Specialist, and Shayna, Prevention Specialist & PAIP Facilitator, ran the discussion.

“[It] was a page turner. Even more than that, it was a depiction of how complicated it is to experience a cycle of abuse. It allowed me as the reader to empathize with the protagonist, coming away with the knowledge that survivors of abuse deserve the utmost compassion during the process of recognizing and leaving an abusive relationship,” says Shayna.

The novel begins with Lily Bloom dealing with the loss of her abusive father. Growing up, she never understood why her mother didn’t leave her father, and blamed her mom for the continued abuse inflicted on the family. She swore she would never stay in a relationship with someone who hurt her. She meets Ryle Kincaid, and the two start to date and quickly get married. There were red flags coming from Ryle starting at the beginning of their relationship like showing up at Lily’s apartment unannounced, asking her over and over to have sex with him, and more, until Ryle eventually hits Lily. Lily then realizes that the decision to leave someone who hurts you is much more complicated than just walking away. She sees a past lover, Atlas, at the restaurant he owns, and old memories of their childhood flood in. Ryle realizes that Atlas and Lily know each other, and uses this as another excuse to abuse Lily multiple times through out the book. Atlas tries to protect Lily in any way he can, and eventually helps Lily escape her abusive household from Ryle.

“The book really puts into perspective all of the reasons why it’s so hard to leave an abusive relationship. One we don’t talk about is love. Lily is genuinely in love with Ryle, and wants the relationship to work. She even blames herself for the abuse at first. She quickly realizes that no matter how much she loves Ryle, she can never change him. I think the best part of this book was the end where Lily stands up for herself and says, “It ends with us,” stopping the cycle of abuse for her kid in the future,” Kirsti states.

Though a difficult subject, following Lily’s story provides a space for readers to relate and better understand the dynamics of domestic violence.

Beth says, “This book told a story that often goes untold. The story of generational abuse and how we stop the cycle. The author does an amazing job of showing just how hard it is for survivors to leave these types of relationships and the manipulation of abusers all while being a fun captivating read. I for one stayed up till 3am to read this book in one night. I couldn’t put it down!!!”

Written by: Kirsti McNeece

Edited by: Shayna Smith