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Verity by Colleen Hoover

Summary and Review:

When I read a book, there are two merits by which I judge the book. The first, is the classical literary judgement. Is the book well written? Solid plot and great dialogue? Etc, etc. The second merit is how well the book captures me. Does it fully engage me? Do I feel like I time traveled when I finally look up from the pages?


The brilliance of this book lies in the second category. This book was a train wreck I couldn’t look away from (I mean this in both the best and the worst ways). It captured me almost from the beginning. I was trapped in the mind of an extremely anxious girl, desperate to stay afloat in a world she believed had it out for her. Tragedy after tragedy seems to follow her, and the gorgeous man she meets on page 3 (Chronics, IYKYK).


Lowen is a perpetual recluse, her mind completely riddled with anxiety. She takes a job to finish Verity’s books, and stays in her house with the gorgeous stranger, Verity’s husband, and their five-year-old son. Very interesting set up. Lowen jumps at everything. She’s paranoid, and practically gripped by her anxiety. It’s part of what makes this book feel like a thriller. Trapped in Lowen’s mind, the reader also feels every sound, every breath, every possibility of tragedy.


She finds an autobiography written by Verity, and begins to dive into Verity’s mind and marriage. (A warning for more sensitive readers: Verity is extremely sex-obsessed, and a lot of that shows up in this detailed manuscript. I prefer close-doored romance, so I skipped quite a few pages). Through the manuscript, Lowen sees Verity as the villain, and through the manuscript and basic interactions, begins falling for Verity's husband. To be fair, Verity is supposedly brain dead. She's been in a coma for weeks, and has only the barest of movement and functions left.


It’s easy to see Verity as the villain. The words she writes are things I couldn’t even imagine thinking. Her plots and decisions left my jaw hanging. Her mind was disturbing. Which is how I would categorize this thriller. It didn’t scare me. It didn’t keep me from sleeping afterwards. But when I finished the novel, the words kept spinning in my head. Wondering how does someone end up there. How does someone end up that twisted? Make decisions like that?


As the book came to a close, I knew there had to be a plot twist. Quite a few things had been expected up until that point. I wasn’t quite prepared for the ending. It leaves you with a resounding question. (My opinion is manuscript, but that’s all I’ll say for the sake of spoilers).


To me, the most interesting part of this book occurs after putting the book down. I read the entire book in about three hours, barely taking a break. The words twisted throughout my head, as well as the realization that no one in that book is sane. Every single one of them has ways to justify their actions, and every single one of them could be right or entirely wrong. Who’s to say?


That’s the brilliance of this thriller. There are scenes that are absolutely sickening, and moments that are terrifying simply because Lowen is anxiety prone. But in the end, there is no resolution. Happily ever after doesn’t exist in thrillers, and this one is sure to float around in your brain for days. At a minimum.


 

Content Warning:

Language:

There is a lot of language. The f word is her favorite way to describe sex. There’s also a handful of just about every other cuss word scattered throughout the book.


Violence:

Verity’s mind is a terrifying place to be. There is extreme violence throughout her thoughts. This book includes murder, suicidal ideations, and attempted murder.


spoiler alert


Verity resents the fact she ended up pregnant, and tries to force her body to miscarry. She starts with sleeping pills, then alcohol, and finally in a fairly detailed scene attempts to use a wire hanger.


She is a constant danger to her twins, and even after they are born, she doesn’t stop scheming or her attempts.


Spice:

As previously mentioned, Verity is sex-obsessed. That being said, there are a ton of sex scenes. She is constantly trying to push that on him, and after having children, attempts to convince him to return to how things were, but he's concerned about her body post C-section. Far more scenes that I was expecting, and I skipped quite a few pages.


 

My Theories:

Personally, I stand with Lowen. I don’t believe that a mother could write something about graphically attempting to abort her children, and then eventually murdering them if she didn’t actually feel that way. It’s too far. I understand that grief can push people to extremes, but the scenes she wrote are so far out there I don’t know how she could’ve gone that far without feeling it.


That being said, I am also a writer. I understand getting in characters’ heads and writing brutally awful things that I would never even be capable of plotting. I can understand how Verity could amplify emotions such as grief and paint herself as the villain. However, she is clearly off in her mind. Whether she did those things or not, she is not a sane human being.


Neither is Lowen. Lowen finds the letter, flushes the pieces and eats the rest??? What sane person eats pieces of a letter to hide it from their husband? The answer, hopefully, is no sane person. Lowen is possibly as crazy as Verity, but possibly less dangerous.

And then Jeremy. He falls for Lowen and sleeps with her in the same bed he shared with Verity? The whole thing is honestly gross. Not to mention the teeth marks in the headboard. That’s ridiculous. And the fact his small child is still in the house? While Verity is upstairs, out of her mind. Supposedly.


All of the adults in this book are the pinnacle of insanity. It also bothered me a little that Lowen and Jeremy got their “happy ending.” They murder Verity, and move on with their lives. Lowen has Jeremy’s baby and swears to herself she’ll never tell him about the letter. They move far away from his life with Verity, and that’s that.


If you read Verity, I'd love to see your vote below:


Manuscript or Letter?

  • Manuscript

  • Letter


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