The It Ends With Us film adaption (based on the book by Colleen Hoover) has now roped Blake Lively and Justin Baldoni into the fray. Of all the book adaptions currently slated to eventually debut on the big screen, this one feels the least necessary.
There are a lot of things Hoover’s stories do well, and it’s not surprising her books still sell as well as they do. In a time where we’re all online and desperate for escapism, a lot of her books provide the dopamine so often needed to top off a rough day (or week … or month). Despite what happens in the middle, a lot of Hoover’s endings are good.
I just hope I’m not the only member of this target audience who’s not looking forward to these stories staying in the spotlight (with, I’m sure, many more to come).
As a white woman, I find Hoover’s books (about white women, written for white women) painfully underwhelming. I’ve tried, believe me, I’ve really tried to find the appeal. I read an embarrassing number of Hoover books in 2022. I mined for gold. I found the occasional sparkle (I really wasn’t mad about the ending to Maybe Now). But mostly, I just found dust.
I’ve led a fairly uninteresting life so far. Maybe I’m just not in the market for books about women as uninteresting as me. I can see why some people might devour these stories — love! Friendship! Everyday struggles! Overcoming the odds (no matter how mundane!). And I do have to give the author credit for her disability rep efforts since books with disabled main characters are somehow still a chore to find (do better).
My indifference toward It Ends With Us largely sprouts from a strong desire not to see violence toward women on the big screen. The way the story ends is admittedly powerful and uplifting. But to get to that point, you have to show the road Lily and Ryle took to get there.
It was hard enough to read it. I don’t want to see it. It’s 2023, the last three years have been hard, and gosh darn it, I just want to see marginalized people living their best lives and crushing it without having to endure trauma first.
Hoover can’t write a character who grows and thrives without having to overcome trauma to do it. It may feel cathartic to some, but to me, it just feels like too much.
Happy endings don’t have the same effect when you know, even before you open the book, you’re going to have to walk beside characters who get hurt. Every. Single. Time.
No shame to you if you’re a Hoover fan. I love that you love to read her stories. And maybe I’ll keep reading some of them, too, in hopes of finding a gem.
But an It Ends With Us movie? Even with Blake Lively? I’ll sit this one out.