Bitter End by Jennifer Brown
Genre: Contemporary, YA,
Published: May, 2011 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
My Rating: 4 birdies
If you read my goodreads comments while reading Bitter End, you would think I absolutely loath this book. But really, I’m sitting on the other end. I adored this book with all its frustrations. My hateful and frustrated comments show others reactions to real accounts of domestic violence. Combined with great characters, inner trauma and sub plots, I was brought on a very emotional journey that I recommend to everyone.
Bitter End used a combo of realism and idealism to really demonstrate the effect of domestic violence. This book covered not only the act itself, but everything such a relationship can effect in a young woman’s life; in school, at home, work and other relationships. I do feel as though some things were over-dramatized or cheesy, though they were in the minority.
An example of idealism to exaggerate the issue is the perfect friendship in the book. Three friends from childhood growing up together, practically inseparable and very close to eachother. It’s idealistic, what we all dream of having but rarely ever happens in real life. Our MC Alex has this, but it is damaged and broken through her abusive relationship with gorgeous Cole. The destruction of a perfect friendship really highlights the extensive effects of domestic violence. Though it makes things a little unrealistic, I enjoyed the exaggerations.
Despite the exaggerations, I thought the story was very real and covered all aspects of an abusive relationship. The whole process from beginning, to end and her recovery (with some minor cheesy moments) was believable.
I also found this book eye-opening. Before now, I’ve always thought that people suffering domestic violence were naïve to their situation. But Alex was very aware of what was happening to her, she was more concerned about ruining her relationship with Cole, because she loved him. She was also more concerned about what people would think of her if they knew, again delaying her from telling anyone.
Aside from the domestic violence aspect, I though the rest of the book was well thought out and the characters well developed. Although, there were quite a few characters in the book, leaving some as no more than names and a face. I loved Alex (even though I cursed her and called her an idiot multiple times) I liked her poetic nature and how this was explored. It got a bit stunted towards the end, though, and I wish the author followed through and drew upon her writing talents in the story. I thought the family situation was a bit much, even though it added to her relationship with Cole. You might as well add the she was also suffering from neglect.
I have no complaints with the writing. The story flowed really well, even though there were time lapses, the writing was easy to read. There were too many characters to fully develop them all, though I feel as though the major ones were covered. Though exaggerated and sometimes cheesy, I found Bitter End to be a very well-rounded, believable story that explores domestic violence extensively, portraying it’s exact effects to a young adolescent.