After By – A Review

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After By – A Review

Zion Mesfin, Movie Reviewer

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In the series After by Anna Todd shows the story of Tessa Young and Hardin Scott and how they came to learn to change to be a better version of themselves for the sake of their relationship. Although the story of Hessa is very toxic, it is nothing that should be romanticized, or to exemplify what a relationship should look like it was meant to show readers that if you really try with the right person you can walk through hell and back and be alive to tell the story. Their love was one of the novels they read as a kid, usually referencing classical novels such as Pride And Prejudice, Wuthering Heights, The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell To Arms, with each book reveals something about their relationship.  

HARDIN: Hardin in the books is often compared to Pride And Prejudices Mr.Darcy, being cruel to Tessa and pushing her away while simultaneously loving her unconditionally, which causes their back and forth to have an impact on both of them as individuals. His father was emotionally, physically abusive alcoholic when he was growing up, leaving them in England to go to America where he met Karen and Landon who became his father’s step-son and wife. This caused Hardin to have a hard time as an adult mistreating others, having trouble expressing his emotions, which caused him to be depressed, suicidal, alcohol misuse, relationship issues, and self image issue. Due to the negligence of his father he rebelled as a child participating in criminal activities, drug and alcohol abuse, fighting, feeding his ego and doing terrible things to women with no regrets, using them for consensual sexual pleasure as a game.

TESSA: Tessa is a very complex character although, contrary to popular opinion Tessa is never always in the right in the books, often slut-shaming girls who do not dress or have the same sexual beliefs as her, which leads to her hypocrisy of shaming and doing the same of cheating on her boyfriend. An example of this is when she is constantly slut shaming Molly, an ex-FWB of Hardin’s, often calling her a “whore, slut and skank”  because of what she dresses like.Which is wrong for so many reasons, one being who even says skank in the 21 century. As a child her father neglected her and turned to alcohol, often fighting and beating her and her mom. Tessa has worked all her life for one purpose of getting to college, a specific college, WCU university her mom never got to finish due to her pregnancy. Her mother is very hard on Tessa because by the time her husband left she had gotten used to the illusion of their “perfection”, trying to hide a family embarrassment with her daughters’ good grades and her fake pearls. Tessa has never been intimate with anyone, not even her long term boyfriend Noah whom she cheated on with Hardin, which started it all.   

The Bet: This is probably the least expected of plot twist in the book for the sole reason of the undying love Hardin claims to have for Tessa. Ever since the beginning, Hardin has been playing her. All for a twisted game, a bet between him and his friends on who can steal her virginity first, showing the used condom and bloody sheets. Being torn between the love of his life and his reputation,and really himself, trying to keep her a secret from his friends,sure to make sure she never finds out, metaphorically and actually trapping her in an apartment and covering it as a gesture of his love and commitment   he got for the two of them to make sure her roommate doesn’t tell her what he fears, the truth, this is something he fears the most about in their relationship, afraid that once she knows about his damaged past and what he is doing to her now there will be no apology large enough, no speech more heartfelt to make her stay. He was torn. He wanted her more than anything he had ever wanted anyone or thing in his life but thought she wouldn’t understand that he did not know how to stop, he did love her but couldn’t stop hurting her,knowing even this was no excuse for his horrendous act of hurting only the person he had ever even loved  . Taken aback by the news Tessa thinks that their relationship was all fake and leaves, but considering this is the first of the series, their story is not over. “Whatever the hell their souls are made of hers and mine are the same.”- Hardin A. Scott   

If you like After you might like: After We Collided, Nothing Less, Brightest Stars, and Before.

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