Rant Review: After by Anna Todd

8 May 2020


Hi Readers and Friends,

I had so much ranting to do that I filmed a 25 min long rant filled with expletives to get my point across.
I hope no teenage or impressionable girl EVER reads this and think that it's romantic, something to aspire towards, or normal behaviour to have to go through.

This book and the sequel has absolutely no storyline other than a back-and-forth between Tessa and Hardin who have an extremely unhealthy, toxic and abusive relationship. They also have no thoughts or storylines outside of each other.

If your partner is manipulative, controlling, jealous, violent and uses sex to manipulate you - leave him. If he does inexcusable things to you - do not forgive him. This book may be 70% sex scenes designed specifically to make teenage girls fancy Hardin, but it does not cover up the fact that he is a violent, abusive partner and I cannot stress enough that NOBODY should want a relationship or a boyfriend like him.

Tessa continuously using the phrase 'passion' does not excuse his actions or personality. His crappy sob-story background does not excuse his behaviour.

*** Something I also forgot to touch on in the video is how they use sex frequently as something to either get over an argument or to prove that he loves her. I cannot stress enough that sex does not equal love. And the sheer amount of times that Hardin says he loves her during sex, to me, seems manipulative because it's done about 500 times. It's like he's brainwashing her to believe that because he is the only person to sleep with her that he's the only one who can love her or should be with her. Ick. I also felt extremely uncomfortable in the first sex scene of Book 2 where she was so drunk she didn't remember in the morning, while he was totally sober. That, to me, is sexual assault as her raunchy drunken demands don't equal proper consent. ***

Also, I didn't mention the Mum at all in the video but she is a rank, odious, slut-shaming character as well who calls her own daughter a whore. So that tells you all you need to know about her.

I can't bring myself to write much more so if you want to hear about all the gross things Hardin does to Tessa throughout about 300 chapters then please watch the video. I have After 2.5 stars and After We Collided 1 star, and urge anyone considering it to... not.


EDIT: I wanted to come back quickly and add a couple of things.
1. I read some summaries of what happens over the rest of the series, in case it got better. It sounds like most of it continues on in this back and forth unhealthy relationship way, and then in the last book or so they take a few years apart to heal separately, and Hardin sees a psychiatrist before (obviously) ending back together. While this sentiment is good, unfortunately the book does not clarify how abusive his behaviour is, nor does it show his healing process, for me, making this redundant. We are just told he goes to therapy and then comes back 'better'. Which is a load of crock after 4 books of abuse to not show the healing process.
2. Tessa is just as bad. I don't think I mentioned this but aside from calling everyone whores when she herself is a cheater, she also antagonises Hardin in all the ways she knows will provoke him. It's a very toxic and co-dependent relationship, and she is as much to blame as he is, although she's not abusing him.
3. This book is not badly written, and I want to emphasise that my one-star-rating is based on the fact that I take ratings as recommendations and I cannot in any good conscious recommend anyone read a book with as dangerous a premise as this. Any book that romanticises abuse will not be something that I can give a good rating to. THAT SAID, this book clearly made me feel a lot of emotion and I can't stop thinking about it, which signifies decent writing. If you're into smut, the sex scenes are decent apart from when he's threatening her without consent, obviously.
4. The film was okay because they downplayed Hardin's atrociousness and a lot of abuse is obviously cut out, to make it teen-friendly. So I don't hate the film and don't discourage you if you want to watch that. I liked the casting for both characters as well.
5. The reason the first book got a better rating from me was because when you find out about the bet, it kind of makes sense how rank Hardin is throughout the book. The reason the second book was 1 star and much more dangerous in my opinion is because at this point she remains with him and he professes to 'love her' when all he does is continue his abusive patterns throughout the book, no bet involved. I guess it's because in the first book he's the bad guy for a specific reason, the second book he's just generally an all-round bad guy for no reason.




Love,
C x


https://www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk/

The freephone, 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0808 2000 247

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