Ugly Love was my introduction to CoHo, the first book that I read by her. This is also the book that sent me into a reading frenzy at the beginning of the year, reminding me why I love books. Reading to analyze and reading for pleasure are two different things and after 3 years of reading to analyze, Ugly Love was a welcomed difference.
It started out as a no-strings attached, friends with benefits arrangement. But it quickly becomes more. And messy. Miles Archer has 2 rules, “don’t ask about my past” and “don’t expect a future”. Tate craves to know why Miles is so brooding and not interested in commitment. And Miles is set on keeping an emotional distance while being physically close.
The two can’t stay away from each other but with Miles’ secrets and Tate’s constant uncertainty about how Miles feels about her, can the two be together or are they doomed from the beginning?
When I first read this book I had insta-love for it. I thought the writing was amazing and I loved the characters. But re-reading Ugly Love for my October haul was a completely different experience.
The more I read, the more frustrated I became with Tate’s decisions. Her rationalizations for why she allows Miles to use her over and over again for sex are crazy. And desperate. She belittles her feelings for him, trying to show indifference, but then she walks away from the experience feeling deflated from his lack of affection towards her. What did she expect from a no strings attached arrangement?
Miles also annoyed me. His actions were completely contradictory. He says the right things, acts the right way. And then suddenly he doesn’t. I get why Tate falls in love with him. He’s gorgeous, tall, muscled and brooding. Typical bad boy. Tate hoped that the good would eventually out way the bad but it doesn’t. The guy is the way he is.
But no matter how much I hated the book while I was reading it. Once I read the last sentence and closed the book, I couldn’t help but love it.
The story is actually flawless. Here’s why:
It’s true. Men use women (and women use men, but it’s the former in this context). And women hope that they will be the ones to tame the bad boy. Thaw the ice heart. Help him remember what love feels like. And women will rationalize it any way they need to.
Tate and Miles are real because they’re imperfect. They lie to themselves and each other. They are hypocrites. They are stubborn. They are the compilation of everything needed to self-sabotage a relationship. They are real. The details might be un-relatable, but their situation is relatable. A woman knows when a guy is bad news. But she sticks around because if he just changed, changed for her, they could be amazing together. Sound familiar? A guy thinks a woman is too good for him, so pretends they shouldn’t be together but he really wants to be with her. He sends mixed signals, but then pretends he didn’t’. Sound familiar?
The title of the book delivers. Colleen Hoover really does tell the story of ugly love. No holds bar. Every lie, every self-esteem problem. It’s there.
Also the narrative structure is amazing. Narrative style gets me every time and this one is great. The font and page layout of the text changes as the story changes. The book is divided into two perspectives. The chapters alternate between Tate’s present and Miles from 6 years earlier. It’s hard to explain but the typology evolves with the story. The typology alone is telling their own story. I am obsessed, positively obsessed, with narrative structure that does this. Not only does CoHo tell a story with her words, but she also tells a story with typology structure #BlissfulSigh
How can I not love a book that does all of these things?
Ugly Love has gotten a lot of mixed reviews, what is your opinion?