REVIEW: But I Love Him by Amanda Grace

Saturday, August 09, 2014

My rating:

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.

“What would you do if the one person you want comfort from is the one who cause you pain? How can you want to desperately for him to wrap me up in his arms but also want so much for him to leave me alone?”

Ann loves Connor.

Connor loves Ann.

Only problem is when Connor’s temper rises, Ann gets hurt.

How does he hurt her?





But why does Ann stay?

Because she loves him.

But I love Him is an emotional story about a girl who was in love with a boy who hurts her.
Physically and emotionally.
This book made me question my stand on abusive relationships.
I have never been in that kind of situation, so I have no clue what it must have felt like to be in Ann’s shoes.
I can try to imagine but it’s very difficult.
It really made me think though.
Would I have done things differently if I was Ann?
At first I thought I would do things differently.
I am not a fan of abuse. I knew someone who had been in a similar situation, and I never understood why she stayed with the guy. I told her time and time and again to leave the guy because he was no good for her. But despite all of that, she stayed. I asked her why - the only explanation she gave me was that she loved him. I didn’t understand at first, but after reading this I did. Now I am not so sure anymore if I would have done it differently.
Maybe I just haven’t fallen for anyone that strongly for me to tolerate being abused in any way.
But if some unfortunate twist of fate happens and I get Ann’s situation, I probably would have stayed with Conner too.

Clearly, Ann and Conner loved each other.
Ann loves Conner because after her father died her mother hasn’t been the same.
Conner was the one who showed her the love she was looking for. The love that her mother failed to make her feel after her father passed away, Conner was the one who compensated for it.
This made Ann feel that Conner was the only one she had.
She turned away from her friends, her mother and the future.
Conner was the only one she felt would make her happy.

Conner loves Ann because she was the only person who could see the good side of him.
Conner grew up with an abusive father.
He and his mother got beaten up a lot and he was only able to stand up for himself when he got older.
Conner had temper issues like his father.
He started abusing Ann verbally, then eventually, it escalated to physical abuse.

But I love Him was a very intense an emotional story of a love gone wrong.
It was presented in a reverse chronological order, in which I felt suited perfectly with the story.
We first got a glimpse of Ann broken on the floor, after one of Conner’s beating sessions a year after they got together.
We caught snippets of how their relationship went from good, to bad, then bad to ugly.

I found the author's (Ms. Hubbard aka as Amanda Grace) approach to this topic very remarkable.
The approach of starting in the end of their story working our way backwards, finding out what caused Ann to endure the abuse, and why Conner did the things he did. It worked very well with the story.
I read in an interview with the author that it was really her intention for Conner to come across as sympathetic.
I would like to congratulate her because she did a marvelous job in doing so.
She made sure that we understood not only Ann’s situation but also Conner’s.
Abusers weren’t born that way.
There was something in their past that triggered them to be that way.
I know it’s not an excuse, but still, we have to take that into consideration before we judge them.
With Conner, Ms. Hubbard was able to successfully convey that message to the readers.
It makes us realize that these people no matter how bad they are, needs people who would understand them.

I admire Ann.
She was strong. I could never be as strong as she is.
Not everyone can endure that kind of abuse, but because of her love for Conner, she did it.
Most people would disagree would me, if I say that staying with Conner for a year, was the right decision.
Conner was in need of someone who would make him a better person.
Ann tried that to the best of her ability which was why I admired her a lot. She had faith in him, even if he didn’t really deserve it.
She was the only one who tried to save Conner from himself.
In the end though, she had to let him go not only for herself, but also for him.
Conner also had to figure things out on his own.
I loved the fact that she knew when to put her foot down. She knew when enough was enough. For some people who were in similar situation they didn’t know when to quit. Perfect example of that would be Conner’s mom. Conner’s mom continually accepted his father despite everything that he has been doing to her.
What was the result?
Conner grew up to be a messed up kid like his father.

I didn’t want to blame both their mothers but somehow they contributed to what happened to Ann and Conner.
Ann wouldn’t have been beaten up if she stayed at home with her mom.
Why did she leave?
Because her mom openly advised her of her dislike of Conner add the fact that she never made her Ann feel that she loves her.
I know it’s not right for Ann to just have moved out but still her mom pushed her closer to Conner.
Conner, on the other hand, wouldn’t have been messed up if he wasn’t beaten up by his dad countless times.
He could have grown up to be a better guy because lets face it Conner was not that bad.
He could have been the guy Ann’s mom would approve of.

I loved the book.
I have always been a fan of these types of books.
Following Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma, this would have to be my next favorite.
One thing I would have to say that I didn’t like was the ending.
I didn’t get the ending I wanted.
I hoped that Conner would have been given a chance to change rather than ending it that way in one of the back flashes.
The ending was good but it could have been better.
I will give it a 4.5! :D

PS: I was really inspired by this book which was why I created a poem for it.
Will place it here when I finish it.


  1. This book sounds sort of interesting but I'm unsure how I will take the story. Hmm, I'll think about it. Great review though. It really gave me something to think about.

    1. Thanks Jazmen! :) I'm not sure you're going to be up for this. It's pretty dark. I read this back in 2012. I've been re-editing and reuploading my previous reviews here on my new blog.

  2. Huh. The beach glass collector in me is drawn to this cover just like I was with Twenty Boy Summer...

    I think I'm going to have to read it just because of everything that is in it. It seems like a book that I'm usually a reader of, so we'll see.

    Thanks for sharing. This one probably would have slipped through the cracks for me if I hadn't seen it.

    1. Thanks Erin! :)
      This book was heartbreakingly beautiful. Had to warn you though, not the happy ending I wanted.

  3. Aw this book sounds so enticing and interesting yet sad and scary at the same time. I'm assuming this is NA? I like how you questioned how you would respond to a situation like the protagonist, it's cool how you worked that into your review. Lovely review!

    Rachel @A Perfection Called Books

    1. Yeah. I think it's more of NA than YA. Back when I read this, NA was not even a genre yet. LOL.

      Thanks so much Rachel. I like doing that with my review sometimes. If I could relate or not relate to some part of the book, I'll tell them why and explain and stuff like that. Sometimes, I just couldn't really review the writing itself. Sometimes, I just review the content.

  4. I love this review and the way you shared your thoughts. I read this book as well, quite awhile ago so I have forgotten several details. I've always kind of wanted to reread it.

    I do think it wasn't the author's intention to say Ann should have stayed so long, though. It's good to be able to sympathize with people, even those like Connor who have done countless things wrong in life. There is always a reason, but I think saying he's "not so bad" or putting his needs before Ann's is also wrong.

    To me this book showed so many influences of the abuse (the parents, Connor's past, etc.) to give more insight and understanding to how they got into this situation - but not to justify it or take the blame off Connor.

    Everyone takes different things out of reading, though, and I do admire you for writing an opinion you knew, even at the time wouldn't be popular. Of course I'm not trying to put down your opinion, just sharing another side :)

    1. @kittendandbooks: Hey there. No I really appreciate your feedback on this. I understand some people will not agree with me on my opinion and its absolutely fine for me.

      I didn't mean that it was right for him to do all those wrong things. What I really meant was, I understood. But that also doesn't mean I agree with those things. Understanding what happened and tolerating it is two different things.

      Life is a big mess. Everything that happens to us is either the effect of our actions or other peoples actions. And for me, in Connor's case, it's unfortunate that he has to grow up in a household like that. I don't take his side or anything, but like you said I do sympathize for him.

      As for the ending, I would have wanted him to change for Ann. Too bad it didn't happen. But was happy that she left him. She deserved all the love she should get.

      Also, this review was from back 2012 I think. LOL. This is a new blog so I have to repost all my previous reviews from Goodreads. :)

      Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.


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