“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”
Confess by Colleen Hoover
A word of warning: this review will contain spoilers, reference slut shaming, assault, talk of sexual attraction and include a lot of swearing. If you are sensitive to any of the aforementioned issues, do not read this.
Rating: 1 out of 5 stars
Auburn Reed is determined to rebuild her life after the death of her boyfriend Adam, who had been her first love.
Now, five years down the road she moves to Dallas, Texas to find work as a cosmetologist.
But things are far from perfect; Auburn hates Dallas, she hated it five years ago while siting with Adam on his deathbed and she still hates it now.
However, life has a strange habit of making a bad situation worse, especially when Auburn walks into an art studio that she passes by everyday and meets the enigmatic and aloof owner, Owen Gentry.
There is an instant attraction, and after a magical night on the town Auburn starts thinking that maybe Texas isn’t so bad after all.
That is, until she learns that Owen is keeping a momentous secret from her, one that could very well undo all the hard work she’s put into moving on in the last five years.
Auburn knows that Owen is trouble, and she knows she should stay away from him.
The only question is — can she do it?
Down right awful.
Those are just a few of the words I would use to describe the absolute mess the characters in this book were and it pains me to have to write about them.
But the sooner this is over, the sooner I can throw this book into a dark corner of my room and never have to think about it again.
Let’s start with Auburn, she’s the dim witted damsel in distress who is able to effortlessly piss me off.
She has no back bone, no personality, no charm, she has absolutely nothing to offer as a character because she is completely flat.
Not to mention she endlessly contradicts herself.
Now, the thing with most romance novels is that often the female lead is written in a way that allows the reader to imagine themselves in her place.
And that’s okay and it works, but only in bloody YA novels, dammit!
When you are trying to write a serious novel, that needs to address some hard hitting questions, you don’t make the protagonist a spineless airhead, I honestly shouldn’t have to be the one to tell you that.
She was just such a boring and unfathomable character that I would have to stop several times while I was reading just to talk myself into continuing to read further.
And that should definitely never happen when you’re reading a book.
Auburn fell short of every requirement that makes a good character, and it wasn’t that she missed the mark by a fraction, she fell into another fucking dimension trying to get away from it.
All in all, -100/10 would not recommend.
Let’s move on to the troubled love interest; he’s gorgeous, talented, charming and aloof.
He has a sordid past that could destroy our damsel and wants to stay away for her sake but she refuses to let him go.
Owen Gentry is unremarkable, on every level.
In fact, the only thing that stood out about him was how fucking creepy he was because seriously this guy could easily fit in with Edward Cullen and Christian Grey.
Hoover tried to paint him as this magnificent creature who was the key to Auburn’s happiness but yet again fell short.
It was actually rather disturbing how much he fixated on Auburn, not to mention that for the entirety of the twenty-one pages of the chapter he was introduced in, he continuously compared Auburn to his ex, whom he referred to as ‘palindrome Hannah.’
He takes every chance he gets to stare and babble about her, and on their ‘first date’, he kept trying to prolong his stay, bought Auburn a drink when she was still underage, forced her to dance with him and invited himself into her house and took her to his studio.
And proceeded to not talk to her for three weeks afterwards because he was arrested for a drug charge.
That’s the love interest people, couldn’t you just eat him up?
Like I said, just like his girlfriend, he’s drab and boring and makes me want to rip the pages to shreds.
The only character I could tolerate was Harrison, the bartender and a friend of Owen’s.
But even so that could barely make up for the disaster the rest of the lot were.
I have a confession to make;
I didn’t actually finish this book.
I read about a 113 pages and decided that enough was enough and called it a quits because frankly my time would be better spent elsewhere.
Let me get right to the gist of things,
This. Book. Fucking. Sucked.
There, I said it.
I have honestly never hated a book so much (I probably have, but hush I’m being dramatic. It was still awful though, no doubt about that.)
The characters were atrocious, the plot was laughable and this was an all around shit show.
First of all, I really hate it when romance writers go for the instant connection cliche.
It’s over used, boring, unrealistic and frankly just plain lazy on the author’s part.
Owen and Auburn literally met eyes and fell in love, and got the hots for each other before they even knew the other’s name.
Well actually that’s a lie, this is where it gets creepy.
Now see, Owen knows who Auburn is but she doesn’t have a clue about him.
Owen was in a hospital when he was fifteen because his father was in a coma.
The same hospital where Adam, the dead boyfriend was being treated and as such where Auburn visited everyday for five weeks.
He apparently fell in love with her back then, without ever saying a word to her, and he’s been obsessed with her since.
That and then after not seeing this chick for FIVE FUCKING YEARS he recognizes her the second he lays eyes on her and continues to babble incessantly about how she’s different from his exes (Palindrome Hannah) and how he’s never met anyone like her before.
It wasn’t romantic, it was creepy and unsettling.
Anyways, their ‘relationship’ (essentially an instalove where they went out once and would now die for each other) was unrealistic and boring.
They had no chemistry whatsoever, and they simply were not a good match for each other (creepy obsessions aside).
Moving on to slut shaming. I am so sick of this showing up in literature, like people this the bloody twenty-first century get over yourselves and your illogical opinions and prejudice.
There is an instance early on where Auburn makes an incredibly controversial remark and it was just so necessary and uncalled for because it did nothing but make Auburn look like a brat.
(I’ll add my notes on this book at the end of the review and you can find that particularly offending paragraph there.)
Also, I think there was a paragraph early on (somewhere around page 30) that essentially implies that Owen slept with his art teacher at some point in school?
That just had me pause for a second and I can’t tell if he was speaking literally or figuratively but that’s still fucked up, but I’m beginning to see a pattern in Hoover’s work because of it.
Okay, so to sum up all the things wrong with this book:
- The characters have no chemistry and as such the romance seems dry and forced. There is no creativity involved or anything particularly remarkable about it.
- Owen is a total creep, and it shows. He takes advantage of Auburn’s lack of a back bone is essentially a stereotypical asshole (but in artist edition.)
- Auburn is a total doormat, she has no personality and is as bland as they come.
- SLUT SHAMING.
- Reference to a student teacher relationship and possible underage sex.
- Instant romance.
- Paragraphs worth of useless information.
- Hoover will go on and on with needless descriptions and will complicate the simplest of sentences.
- -1000/10 would not recommend
Now for the things (as scarce as they are) that I did like.
Firstly, Hoover’s writing is a bit addicting, even if she does have a habit of going off on a tangent.
And I think that it’s one of the things that let me get a hundred pages in before I threw in the towel.
Secondly, I like that Hoover implemented the confessions and the artwork into this novel.
The paintings were incredibly beautiful and impressionistic and really added some well needed character.
The confession were an interesting addition as well.
See, the confessions included in this book were actually submitted anonymously by real people and that’s what makes them so unique, a fascinating implement indeed.
Third, there was one scene in the book where a drunken Auburn attempts to cut Owen’s hair and it did make me chuckle a bit.
And lastly, the cover is positively stunning, hats off to the designer for that one.
Below the line you can find the notes I made for this book, enjoy:
Confess book notes
35 pages in and already the word love is getting tossed around.
What’s with the sudden attraction and infatuation. Like I get these two went to school together but it’s been 5 years like wtf??
The paintings are pretty, incredibly abstract and impressionistic
Page 31: Uh…did Owen sleep with his art teacher??
Chapter 2: Owen page 31
Good lord I may be ill. These two have no chemistry despite the author desperately trying to prove otherwise. It feels forced and one sided. Owens acting like he’s known auburn his entire life even though it’s been 5 years since they last spoke.
Auburn is annoying the shit out of me.
Why does Hoover constantly remind us that auburn isn’t 21 yet?
Also how come Owen spent 21 pages just comparing Auburn with Palindrome Hannah? Like huh? (Chapter 2)
Didn’t auburn just say she’s never had a drink before ( she’s never ordered a drink before) but if you’ve drank before then order that and don’t let someone do it for you! The amount of contradictions is killing me
PAGE 60! CHAPTER 4!! THIS SHIT
Brace for cringe…
￼PAGE 62-63! THEY’VE ONLY KNOWN EACH OTHER FOR A FEW HOURS PEOPLE!!
Oh god she’s going home with him, isn’t it a little early for that??? But then again I wouldn’t be surprised considering what the last 60 pages gave me.
But I sincerely doubt I can sit through a session of these two fucking, not even god could make me do that willingly.
Page 69: you can reference a horror movie with John Cusack but not the story it was based on?
(In regards to Hoover making a reference to the movie 1408 which was based on a short story of the same name written by Stephen King in 1999 and featured in s collection titled Blood and Smoke.)
So just because her roommate has unorthodox interests and enjoys a piece of fiction and is little quirky and unconventional in her mannerisms she’s…different and weird?! Bravo Hoover.
Page 70: “it’s way too soon for a kiss and the discomfort of our FIRST DATE coming to an end is there.”
BUDDY WHEN WAS IT EVER SAID THAT YOU WERE ON A DATE FFS SERIOUSLY THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?! YOU LITERALLY MET HER 5! HOURS AGO SLOW DOWN.
Chapter 5, Auburn Page 72: The hell is with this line???
The fucking stereotypical portrayals of the characters makes me wanna scream especially shit like “I assumed artists were quiet, brooding, emotional creatures.” (Page 74)
Chapter 7 Auburn: so let me get this straight, just because a guy stops calling you get all emotional and teary eyed, even though you only knew him for ONE NIGHT?! I mean Owen did a shitty thing sure but WELCOME TO THE REAL WORLD HONEY ITS A SHITTY PLACE FILLED WITH SHITTY PEOPLE! SURPRISE SURPRISE!
Honestly, Auburn reminds me of a literal child, shit happens get over it already.
Too many paragraphs of useless descriptions and dribble
Who lets a drunk person near their head with a pair of scissors??? Owen Gentry that’s who.
The fucking idiot. I do admit that scene did make me chuckle a little.
(Pages 108-111, Chapter 8: Owen)
I think Harrison is probably the only character I can tolerate in this book (Harrison, the Irish bartender and Owens friend)
Well folks, there you have it.
I personally would not recommend that you read this, but to each their own I suppose.
If you do however decide to subject yourself to this sorry excuse for literature, I’d love to know your thoughts.
Until next time.