Love is a weird thing. Love is a feeling so intense that it could be either beautiful or horrible, the freedom of your body and soul that blends with your other half, or the chain that ties you up in a place where you should not be in the first place. This is one of the things we rarely speak about love.
Let us begin by telling you how the author wrote the book. A Different Ending is a first-person story written using the present tense. Considering the nature of the book, it is adequate to the situation and theme.
Our story is about Aliza, a normal woman that lives with her boyfriend. His name is Tyler Smith, a despicable, abusive, and the purest form of a burden. The man does not work, does not help in home at all, and goes out without telling Aliza where he’ll be.
The relationship between them is progressively getting worse. Tyler is the kind of person you want to punch in the face. It is unfortunate that our protagonist, from the beginning, talks about codependency, a feeling that is not letting her move away from that toxic partner.
“I guess I have always been codependent in a way, and that is never NEVER a good trait. At this point, I’m not sure if I have always been this way, always needing another person around, or if this is something that started after all of the things I have been through.“Excerpt from Aliza’s diary
When you fall in love, or when you spend too long with a person (family, friend, or romantic relationship,) one might end up getting used to that company, regardless of the situation they put through, or even if the relationship gives a 180 turn. From Aliza’s eyes, we will see how desperate she is to walk away, but it is not as easy as it seems.
There’s another character in the book, her friend Nolan. The man that is always there to support Aliza. The man, always caring and playful towards her, accidentally creates different conflicts. The most obvious is triggering Tyler’s jealously. Then the conflict within our protagonist. We see that they could be the perfect couple, always joking with each other, laughing, giving a hand whenever needed.
“All I want to do is grab him and tell him he’s a damn moron for not being able to see that I want to be with him, but I’ll keep playing the role of the not-interested asshole, like I have been for years… yes, years.”
She wants to be with him. But she is also afraid to ruin that friendship.
Then again, we have Tyler in the middle. As Aliza mentioned in the book, Tyler is also a narcissistic person who does not recognize when he is wrong. In fact, even when he does betray the relationship all the time, or does NOTHING to help, he manages to come up with an excuse to blame her. You have no clue how many times we hear (read) him saying everything is Aliza’s fault.
One interesting thing is that, every two or three chapters, we have an entry of Aliza’s diary. I think this is where she speaks to the reader. Every entry tells us what she is feeling on a deeper level; what is happening in her head. I mentioned that the author wrote everything using the present tense, so in theory, we see through the story her feelings and such; but I believe these diary pages go into a more personal level, as short as they are. A diary is for Aliza like the only friend who’s been there for so long. That only friend who is truly capable of understanding.
In the end, I must admit that the story didn’t end as I would have wanted. Tyler had a way better ending than he deserved. But we should not forget this is not a story about karma; the book is meant to show us an abusive relationship. It is a problem that unfortunately exists, and it could be happening to your friend or neighbor next door.
I don’t want to use “eye-opener” to describe this work. I believe it should be common sense to know this is a problem that always has existed.
Overall, this book does a good job of speaking about domestic abuse. You feel empathy for the main characters and hate for Tyler, and you know it is a good thing when your emotions toward the characters are genuine. The book also has a couple of moments that feel very intense, and it hooks you in; it is almost impossible to put the book down.