October 14, 2012
Book Review: How it Ends
Year Published: 2009
One time in your life, you might come across a book that plays with your emotions, invades you with an overwhelming feeling of sadness, and leaves you with an utter sense of hopelessness. It consumes you with its waves of melancholy, and tickles you with its little bursts of happiness. How it Ends was that book for me.
This book is told in three voices. First, there's Hanna, a fifteen year old who is understanding and sometimes careless, and who is still in the process of figuring herself out. Then, there's Helen, Hanna's elderly neighbour. She brings a calm and soothing presence to whomever is near her, yet she can be a force of nature when the time calls. And finally, there's the audiobook. Entitled How it Ends, it's powerful, destructive, and all around amazing.
Hanna and Helen's relationship was so special. It's the one that gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling in the heart, the one where you can't even bare to think it will ever end. It takes a great author to make a boisterous teenage girl and a patient elderly woman seem like a great match for an ever-lasting friendship, but Laura Wiess definitely made it work.
There is no doubt in my mind that it was the audiobook that captivated me the most out of all three of the POVs. The storyline was just so creative, so sad, so disturbingly enticing. It was all I could ask for, and more. It's not that kind of story that is inspired from one experience, one thought. It's compromised of millions of thoughts, ideas, and details that are just so perfectly organized and written that you just can't help but feel this big sense of gratitude that such books exist.
I must say, the audiobook really caught my attention. But did it do so a little too much? Even though I was really attracted to the audiobook and devoured every single sentence emitted from it, I felt like it drew me too far away from all the other things happening in the book. Before Wiess started adding parts of "How it Ends", I was really into Hanna's story. I was intrigued with her attraction to Seth, and even more to her feelings for sweet and mellow karate boy Jesse. But once the audiobook started coming along, I felt like Hanna's story was just sucked right into an unattainable part of my brain. What once was a good read was now a stupid obstacle that was blocking me from yet another chapter of the coveted audiobook. Hanna's story just didn't feel important anymore, almost like it was unnecessary.
Oh, and who could forget the ending? Although I'm still in the state of denial that something so sad, so horrid can be written on a fragile piece of paper, I have to admit it was an amazing way to end such a powerful book. It was heart-wrenching, sob worthy, but it still had that sense of peace to it.
As you might have noticed by now, I have not given a rating for this book. The reason is that I'm not very sure if it was the whole entire book that I loved, or simply the audio-book. I mean, this book is just too beautifully written to be given anything less than 5 stars, yet I don't want to lie to myself and say that I thoroughly enjoyed everything about this book, and not just the audiobook. That being said, this book will be left unrated until I can calmly gather all of my thoughts and form them into a cohesive answer (if that ever happens...)
I know that I will never have the right words to do this book justice. How it Ends will weigh you down with its raw emotions, and make you see the words friendship and love in a whole new light.