Hoover’s ‘Ugly Love’: An Exploration of Love and Traumas

Krisha Prasai

Book Title:  Ugly Love
Author: Colleen Hoover
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Published: August 5th, 2014
Pages: 352

“Ugly Love” by Colleen Hoover is a compelling exploration of the complexities of love and the enduring impact of past traumas. The author invites readers into a world where love is not only a source of joy but also a profound force that can unravel the deepest wounds of the human heart.

The story revolves around Tate Collins, a determined college student aspiring to become a nurse, and Miles Archer, a pilot haunted by his painful past. As the pages unfold, the non-linear storytelling method reveals layers of emotion, secrets, and the transformative power of love. When these two souls meet, their connection is undeniable. However, Miles is a broken man and he cannot offer Tate anything other than a physical relationship. Emotionally, Miles is distant and he makes it clear that he does not want to discuss his future plans with anyone. Miles is reeling from his past, a story that he wants to keep hidden from Tate. As Tate and Miles draw closer, their emotions run wild. Can they both stick to the rules and keep things casual?

The character development is a standout feature of the novel. Tate is a relatable and strong willed protagonist, while Miles is a complex character burdened by a tragic past. The exploration of themes such as grief, forgiveness, and the healing power of love adds depth and resonance to the narrative.

The pacing of the novel is well-executed, with a perfect balance of suspenseful moments and introspective reflection. The incorporation of poetry throughout the story adds a poetic dimension to the narrative, enhancing the overall literary experience.

While “Ugly Love” falls within the romance genre, it transcends clichés and stereotypes, offering a nuanced portrayal of the intricacies of human relationships. The plot twists are unexpected and contribute to the novel’s emotional impact, keeping readers engaged until the final page.

One of the strongest aspects of “Ugly Love” lies in Colleen Hoover’s ability to create deeply nuanced and authentic characters. The novel excels in portraying the emotional complexity of its protagonists, Tate Collins and Miles Archer. Each character is meticulously crafted, carrying their own burdens and scars, which adds layers of authenticity to the story.

One of the things that make Ugly Love such a compelling read is its raw and honest portrayal of love and loss. Colleen Hoover doesn’t shy away from the darker aspects of love, exploring the pain and heartbreak that can come with it. But she also shows us the beauty and joy that love can bring, even in the face of adversity.

Additionally, the non-linear storytelling technique employed by Hoover is a notable strength. By revealing key events in a fragmented order, the author creates a sense of suspense and intrigue, keeping readers engaged and invested in the unfolding narrative. This structure adds a layer of complexity to the storytelling, allowing for a more immersive and impactful reading experience.

Some of the very heartbreaking lines of the novel that still has an impact on me are:

  • “Love isn’t always pretty. Sometimes you spend all your time hoping it’ll eventually be something different. Something better. Then, before you know it, you’re back to square one, and you lost your heart somewhere along the way.”
  • “The only thing I’ve ever wanted is to stand right in front of me. But if I don’t find a way to make her believe in me, to make her see that I’m all in, then I’ll spend the rest of my life loving a woman who will never fully believe she deserves it.”
  • “Hearts get infiltrated. Promises get broken. Rules get shattered. Love gets ugly.”
  • “You can’t leave yet. I’m not finished falling in love with you.”
  • “It’s easy to stop caring when things don’t matter. It’s hard to stop caring when they do.”

These lines encapsulates the novel’s theme of love, loss, and the complexities of relationships. They hold deep and saddening truth of life, love and loss which, when thought profoundly, always gives tears to my eyes.

I also encountered some aspects in the novel that I was not entirely fond of, and I believe could be improved upon. If these points can be considered, the book can move on to the next level and can get more attention and love than it already is getting:

  • Certain chapters felt repetitive and draggy. A tighter editing process could enhance pacing and keep readers engaged throughout.
  • Although both main characters have deep backstories which reveal their struggles and vulnerabilities, further exploration of these aspects would add depth to them.
  • The final chapter might feel rushed compared to the rest of book due its abruptness.
  • The unrealistic story line of Tate being such an ignorant of the way Miles was treating her and the novel really showed that love is blind, which in reality is not true to that extent.
  • The novel contains a very thoroughly explained physical intimacy which makes it difficult for people under the age of 16 to read it.

In conclusion, ‘Ugly Love’ by Coolen Hoover is a book that contains some heavy themes and triggers with very sensitive lines making it upsetting to read. This love story is so dark and twisted that at times, you feel disgusted by the scenes in front of you, but most times, you will cry in pain because of the chaotic and turbulent lives that our dear characters have had to live through.

Themes such as resilience, forgiveness, acceptance of imperfections, and the importance of loving ourselves can all be learned from the novel. Ultimately it teaches us that true beauty comes not only from physical appearance but from embracing our humanity flaws included. The most important message in the whole novel I believe would be “We cannot stop ourselves from being happy because we believe our past actions made us undeserving to love and be loved. But we must learn to let go of all that was and be ready to accept all that will be.”

Colleen Hoover’s skill in storytelling shines brightly, crafting a narrative that is both intellectually stimulating and emotionally charged. Whether it’s the memorable lines that linger in the reader’s thoughts or the unexpected plot twists that maintain suspense, the book makes an enduring impression. “Ugly Love” goes beyond being a mere romance; it serves as a profound exploration of human experiences, prompting readers to contemplate the transformative power of love and its capacity to mend even the deepest wounds.

The most interesting and heart wrenching part comes when the tragedy of Miles’s past unravels making it all sensible for the book cover to be drops of water. The detailing Hoover provides in each smallest thing has always surprised me and more so when during the end of her every book the cover page always ends up making sense.

To sum it up, if you’re looking for a book that will make you laugh, cry, and feel all the emotions in between, Ugly Love is a perfect choice.

(Krisha Prasai is a first year student at Kathmandu University School of Management)