It must have been over a year ago now that I said I was going to be rereading the Shatter Me series in order to shed some light on the deeply problematic aspects of abuse romanticism that exists within the series. Well, I’d started but eventually lost track due to life and my desire to read books that were more deserving of my attention.
Last night I finally started.
I ordered physical copies of the first three books and the short stories that exist in between them. I opened Shatter Me last night and began. As of this moment, I have only annotated the first nine and a half chapters. It’s interesting, reading this book again. I had enjoyed it the first time. Never in my life had I expected that the author would try to manipulate me into liking the despicable Warner.
Forgiveness is important in life, for sure, but I don’t think it plays a role here. There are some things that are unforgivable. And honestly? If Warner genuinely wanted to develop himself and become a better person, it should have been with someone else. To have Juliette degrade herself and regress entirely in her character development to the point that she falls for her abuser was disturbing on a number of insane levels.
Warner’s obsession with Juliette is terrifying.
And I haven’t even truly scratched the surface yet.
I am baffled by the fact that people find their relationship romantic. I am deeply saddened by the fact that “broken” characters somehow are given the okay to horrifically damage their partners in the name of love. As if the fact that they love this person makes it okay that they hurt them in these ways.
It doesn’t make it okay. He did not deserve or earn her forgiveness. And once I’ve finished annotating all of these books, I will share with you all why that is.
To any girl who meets a boy who was “broken” by the way someone in his life treated him, who gets treated horribly by this boy — run. His brokenness does not make it okay for him to hurt you. His brokenness does not mean that he deserves your forgiveness. There are plenty of people who suffer abuse and do not lash out and abuse the people they “love.”
Mafi manipulates her readers to try and force them to like Warner. She creates characters and then manipulates them into unrealistic actions in order to push them in the direction she wanted, even if it doesn’t actually make any sense to do so. In this way, I see these books as being very poorly written.
But the worst thing of all is the fact that abuse is lauded as romantic in these novels. Warner may hurt Juliette and be forgiven for it time and time again all because, beneath his terrible acts, his motives are supposedly based in the fact that he loves her. Nevermind that time and time again his love is portrayed as selfish and only insofar as she benefits him.
Like the novels, if you wish. But at least like them knowing the facts: Warner is abusive. Juliette and Warner are in an abusive relationship.
Keep an eye out for Chapter One.