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Additionally, I do not claim ownership of either of the images used in this post. These images were solely used for the purpose of delivering this review of her book with some visuals. These images were pulled directly from Colleen Hoover’s Facebook page as I do not have a physical copy of this book. All image credits and ownership go directly to her.
Fallon meets Ben, an aspiring novelist, the day before her scheduled cross-country move. Their untimely attraction leads them to spend Fallon’s last day in L.A. together, and her eventful life becomes the creative inspiration Ben has always sought for his novel. Over time and amidst the various relationships and tribulations of their own separate lives, they continue to meet on the same date every year. Until one day Fallon becomes unsure if Ben has been telling her the truth or fabricating a perfect reality for the sake of the ultimate plot twist.
Can Ben’s relationship with Fallon—and simultaneously his novel—be considered a love story if it ends in heartbreak?
My First Impressions of November 9 (Spoilers)
Where to begin with this book! November 9 by Colleen Hoover had such an incredible plot twist that I honestly didn’t see coming. For those who read Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover, there’s also a little Easter egg in November 9 for fans where characters from Ugly Love have relation to the characters in November 9 and I thought this was such a cool thing to add and see the worlds of all these characters mesh together.
When I first started reading November 9, when Ben stepped in and pretended to be Fallon’s boyfriend to defend her from her father, the only thing I could think in the beginning was how unrealistic of a scenario it was for someone to do that in real life. It seemed a little weird, not going to lie but as the story progresses and you learn about Ben’s story and how he knew of Fallon before he ever actually met her, and the guilt that he lives with, it all makes sense and feels a lot more realistic to why he did that and the things he did in the end. Ben entering Fallon’s life was somewhat impulsive but the bond they created together ended up being what they both needed to heal from the emotional wounds of their past.
Response: Whitney Atkinson’s Review
There are definitely a lot more positive reviews that stand out for this book, and normally I wouldn’t say anything. I don’t care if someone didn’t like a book or not. There are books I don’t like, and if a book isn’t your cup of tea, it’s not your cup of tea. However, I stumbled across one review in particular, by Whitney Atkinson (a book influencer) on Good Reads with a sizeable following that I thought was beyond insane. I couldn’t believe someone would actually take the time to write paragraph upon paragraph of such negativity towards a fictional book, its characters, and the author. In saying that, yes, I realize I’m probably just as crazy to write this review responding paragraph by paragraph to it, but it needs to be done and you’ll soon understand why.
Shortly after, I discovered that this particular reader had read Colleen’s books before. She read not one, not two, but SIX of Colleen Hoover’s books and she hated every single one of her books. Who does that? What kind of person goes out of their way to read that many books from an author they know they don’t like? Whitney seemed to go into this book knowing full well she wasn’t going to like it, because she mentioned distaste for Colleen’s books in the past (what are these folks known as, super haters??). Not only did she go into this book having distaste for Colleen’s books in the past, she actually went through November 9 hating it from the beginning, continued to read it despite hating it, and finished reading the entire thing for seemly the purpose of sharing her hateful review point by point. Again, this is the link to her review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1434213789 and I will be responding to it point by point below because she twisted and took SO much out of context, and I don’t want people who have never read November 9 before to be totally turned off from reading it because they stumble across Whitney’s review. November 9 is a great book (in my opinion) and all I’ll say is, don’t knock it until you’ve gone ahead and read it for yourself and come to your own conclusion.
My Interpretation of the book and Whitney’s review, point by point.
• Fallon describes herself as being “obsessive-compulsive” about hygiene. You could just say you find hygiene important instead of belittling an actual mental illness for a hyperbole.
Colleen has a somewhat colorful writing style. Anyone who’s read several of her books knows this about her. If you’re someone who’s easily offended by everything, particularly colorful language and will nit pick something like this, don’t read Colleen’s books.
• Homeboy (Ben) eavesdrops on a conversation Fallon has with her father in a restaurant, then when she says she hasn’t had a boyfriend, he SLIPS INTO THE BOOTH NEXT TO HER AND PRETENDS TO BE HER BOYFRIEND? WTF THE FUCK? GO SIT BACK AT YOUR OWN TABLE. STOP TOUCHING HER AND CALLING HER LADYBUG AND BABY. 1-800-DID-NOT-ASK AND WAS NOT INVITED.
In the beginning, yes, it seems weird and no one would ever do this. But when you read the entirety of the book, and come to understand the reason for why he pretended to be her boyfriend in the first place, it all makes sense and really isn’t so weird. Context makes all the difference. But you don’t come to find out the context behind this strange interaction until near the end of the book.
• I’m tired of every colleen hoover being about a girl with self-confidence issues. Even worse, in this one, the MC has disfiguring scars, which just worsens the fact that Hoover would exploit trauma and burn victims to establish a character trait.
Whitney, you’ve read six of Colleen’s books. If you don’t like this theme in Colleen Hoover’s books, why did you choose to keep reading from this author? Seriously. If you didn’t like the first couple books you read by her, then just stop. Personally, I have no issues with this being part of a plot. I think it’s relatable. A lot of people have difficulties with self-confidence issues. It’s a very common, very real thing that people deal with. And about trauma and burn victims, why do you feel they shouldn’t be represented in books? She isn’t exploiting anyone. These are fictional characters and her being a burn victim and it relating to Ben’s past is a major part of the story.
• LITERALLY THE ENTIRE FIRST CHAPTER IN BEN’S PERSPECTIVE IS TALKING ABOUT HER BOOBS AND WHAT COLOR UNDERWEAR SHE IS WEARING. WHAT THE FUCK???? HOW IS THAT SEXY OR ROMANTIC FOR A GUY TO BE FANTASIZING ABOUT UNDRESSING A GIRL IN HIS HEAD BARELY TWO MINUTES AFTER THEY MEET?????
I’m not sure what world you’re living in but this is how a lot of teenage boys actually think. That wiring isn’t dependent on how long they’ve known a girl. Men’s brains in general do not work the same as women’s brains. I don’t think Colleen was trying for that to be sexy or romantic. She was simply putting herself in the mindset of a teenage guy, and a lot of teenage guys actually DO think this way. A lot of males in general think this way when they are around an attractive female.
• FURTHERMORE, (I’ll stop using caps now bc I feel like I’m wearing it out but please do bear in mind that I’m furious) he literally says “if we’re just going to sit here and stare at each other, it’d be nice if she were showing a little cleavage, instead of wearing this long-sleeved shirt that leaves everything to the imagination. It’s pushing eighty degrees outside. She should be in something a lot less . . . convent-inspired” (pg. 24). IT’S CHAPTER 2 AND YOU’RE ALREADY DICTATING HOW SHE SHOULD DRESS?????? OH MY FUCKING GOD I WANT TO TEAR THIS BOOK APART
Whitney, if the book made you THIS angry, why did you continue to read? Why? After having read SO many of Colleen’s books prior and not liking ANY of them, why did you even bother to pick this one up and continue reading despite hating it? I’d love to know.
Again, Colleen is writing in the mindset of a guy. A teenage guy. This is how teenage guys think. That’s his internal monologue. He literally wasn’t dictating to anyone, he’s THINKING these things to himself in his own head.
• A few paragraphs later he starts looking at her scars and he’s like “Are [her breasts] scarred, too? How much of her body is actually affected?” And I get that it might be a genuine curiosity to see her and wonder how much of her body is affected by the burns, bUT YOU CAN’T JUST ASK SOMEONE THAT OR BLATANTLY FANTASIZE ABOUT UNDRESSING THEM JUST TO SATISFY YOUR CURIOSITY ABOUT THEIR DISEASE OR SCARS!!! I literally don’t understand this. This is absolutely disgusting. “I begin to mentally undress her, and not in a sexual way. I’m just curious. Really curious.” (pg 25). WTTTFFFFF??????!!!!!!!!!! this is so wrongly voyeuristic and completely fetishizes her scars.
Whitney, you’re really twisting the context of the book. Reading through everything you’ve said so far I can feel you have it in your head to demonize this book at every opportunity. Yes, Ben is attracted to her, but this section of the book was very clear it was out of curiosity, not sexualizing her scars. I think it’s natural to be curious about it, especially if it’s someone you’re attracted to. It’s not this out-of-this-world, taboo thing you’re making it out to be in your head. I think most people would wonder what those scars look like, if they were seeing someone they felt attracted to, because eventually if the relationship progresses, you’re probably going to eventually see them.
• I call bullshit on this book. I know the romance genre is unrealistic because it’s mostly just womens’ wish fulfillment, but a straight, not unattractive guy swooping in to save a girl from a verbally abusive dad, buys her dinner, is a creative writing student, etc.? It doesn’t happen. This doesn’t exist.
This is pretty much the same thing you said earlier, and I do agree with this point. But, again, once you read the book in its entirety, which you and I both have, it makes sense why those circumstances happened and isn’t as out-of-the-blue weird as it is in the very beginning. Context and Ben’s history involving Fallon explains everything and that part isn’t out-of-the-blue at all once you know the context behind it.
• I’ve always gotten subtle homophobic vibes from Hoover’s books, but on page 28 MC says “No gay man I know would have left the house looking like you do right now” and just the outright stereotyping and trying to use that to be funny is just gross. Assuming every single gay man puts fashion on an alter is so stupidly stereotypical and I’m angry about it.
I feel like you’re really just nit picking at this point looking for things to find problems with. Nothing about what she said is homophobic. It was a joke. I’m sure the LGBTQ+ community cracks jokes about straight people all the time. That’s what people do – we poke fun at each other. We poke fun at different lifestyles. We poke fun at things we both relate to and don’t relate to. That’s part of being human and our differences are part of what makes being human interesting and entertaining. Not everything people joke about is out of malicious intent.
• Ahhh. Page 34. He begins to get all romantic and heavy and saying “want to know what I was thinking about when I saw you for the first time?” and we thought we were going to get a touching story about looking past her scars at her beauty but nope. Full paragraphs talking about her ass and him wondering if she was going commando. The objectification of women in this one is so undeniably and painfully real.
That IS what he originally thought about her though. Again, it was because he was a teenage boy and that’s how most teenage boys actually think when they are around a girl they are attracted to. This is the reality of it. You don’t have to like that that’s the reality, but it is. Male and female brains are wired differently. Women are more emotional, men are more carnal. That doesn’t mean they are incapable of emotional connection.
• Ben basically navigates throughout this book doing whatever he wants without asking Fallon’s consent and then forcing her to do things because he thinks she’s uncomfortable for no reason. It’s just disgusting that the man’s presence in this book is written so much more naturally and commandeering in this book.
• For instance, there’s this entire scene where Ben wants her to wear this really revealing dress and she doesn’t want to but he keeps pressuring her to and finally Fallon is about to have a panic attack and cry and she’s squeezing her eyes shut because Ben is running his hands along her shirt and unbuttoning it (WHICH DEFINITELY MEANS FUCK OFF SHE DOESN’T WANT YOU TOUCHING HER FUCK YOU BEN FUCK YOU) and he finally takes off her shirt and looks her over and it’s so uncomfortable and nonconsensual and totally inappropriate having only met a few hours ago. then he taKES OFF HER PANTS AND DOES THE SAME THEN TELLS HER TO LIFT HER ARMS AND PHYSICALLY PUTS THE DRESS ON FOR HER and I just wanted her to literally slice him in half like I’m so done with him. He is the opposite of romantic and if I were to ever encounter him in person I would literally stomp him like a roach.
He never forced her to do anything. If the people I dated in my life asked my consent for every little thing we were about to do, that would have killed the fun out of everything. Some women actually like to go with the flow. My first kiss wasn’t verbally consensual, it was an unspoken thing that happened between us because we both were attracted to each other. Ben made moves, and yes, he tested Fallon’s insecurities and the context behind that was because he wanted to show her she didn’t need to be insecure of her scars. He wanted her to feel confident in herself and see herself as beautiful. So did her mother. That was why her mother bought that dress for her in the first place. If it was simply about taking what he wanted for his own selfish gains, he would have taken advantage of Fallon in the closet when he was putting the dress on her. But he didn’t. He practiced self control in that moment, because his motives were not to be forcing himself on her. His motives were to test her insecurities and attempt to help her move past those insecurities by encouraging her to wear something that revealed her scars instead of hiding herself. There’s a big difference. The unfortunate reality is that you don’t work through the challenges of life or heal your traumas by being coddled by everybody. People grow and heal and help their loved ones do the same by pushing them to face their fears and insecurities. In this case, Fallon’s fears and insecurities revolved around her burn scars which was why she always covered them up. Fallon’s relationship with Ben making her feel beautiful with her scars and encouraging her to face her fears and insecurities is why she became a more confident character later on in the book.
• May I just say that when he was telling her what dress to wear, he literally said “I’m paying for dinner, so I get to choose what I stare at while we eat.” Is that not a characteristic of an abusive boyfriend to be so controlling to force her to wear what he wants her to wear? And they’ve only been “friends” for 3 hours?
This part, I won’t defend Ben here because I actually agree with you on this point. I think Colleen definitely could have written this part in a different way because it is clear to me throughout the book that Ben’s motives for pushing her was to help her with her insecurities relating to her scars. This definitely could have been worded different for someone who’s only spent a few hours with her.
• Ben tells her, 3 hours into their friendship, I quote, “It’s your own fault people feel uncomfortable looking at you.” I can’t even make this up. He tells her it’s her fault that she has burn scars, that they make her feel self-conscious, and the reaction people have to them. If I didn’t already hate this character so much I would actually tear him to shreds with my bare hands.
Again, you’re absolutely twisting this. He did not tell her it’s her own fault she has burn scars, or that it’s her own fault they make her feel self-conscious. Context is everything. He is not at all wrong though that she is responsible for how people see her, despite her burns. Body language says A LOT about her person. If you are always covering yourself and hiding yourself, and giving non-verbal body language cues that you’re afraid of people looking at you or finding value in you, people absolutely can sense that without you having to say anything at all to them and it actually does influence how people treat you as a result. In this book it is very clear and mentions several times that Fallon sends out those non-verbal cues to people, so yes, she absolutely is at fault that people feel uncomfortable looking at her, because she is SENDING those non-verbal cues to people to make them feel uncomfortable looking at her. That’s because she feels so uncomfortable with herself and that is something that Ben tries to help her overcome in this book.
• You wanna know what the male gaze is? It’s a male supposed-love-interest saying shit like “There’s just enough showing at her neckline to keep me good and happy.” Because women, their boobs, and their lowcut shirts exist to make men “good and happy.” Barf. Gag. Vomit.
• HE LITERALLY SAID TO HER, “ . . . you could very well be as dumb as a rock. But at least you’re pretty” (pg. 57). WAY TO FUCKING OBJECTIFY A WOMAN TO REDUCE HER TO HAVING NO CAPACITY FOR INTELLIGENCE AT ALL, AS LONG AS SHE’S WEARING A LOWCUT SHIRT.
Again, you’re referring to a quote in which he is a teenage boy. I’m not going to go into this again because we’ve already established how teenage boys minds work. You also leave out the rest of the quote of course to demonize him as much as possible. That wasn’t a complete sentence like you made it out to be, so I’ll continue this quote for you. “There’s just enough showing at her neckline to keep me good and happy, but I’m not even positive I’ll be able to look away from her face long enough to stare at her cleavage. I can’t tell what’s different about her because it doesn’t even look like she’s wearing makeup, but she somehow looks even more beautiful than before.”
The second point to this I do agree is a distasteful humor, but it clearly is just that; humor, that you again took out of context with an agenda to demonize, so I’ll complete the context for you, again. “I stand up and walk to where she’s propped up in the doorway. I lift my hands to the doorframe above her head and I smile down at her. “Fucking beautiful,” I whisper. She smiles and then ducks her head. “I feel stupid.” “I barely know you, so I’m not about to argue with you over your level of intelligence, because you could very well be as dumb as a rock. But at least you’re pretty.”
The context of this scene is after she put on the black dress and put her hair up for their first date, she’s feeling insecure because she’s in something that reveals her scars. This was in the same day that they met, they’ve only known each other a few hours, so yes he does barely know her. It absolutely could have been worded better, but this personally didn’t offend me in the slightest because he wasn’t telling her she is as dumb as a rock. It was a colorful expression that you took very literally. What the expression meant was that he doesn’t know her well enough to make judgements about her intelligence but he thinks she’s beautiful. It’s really not that deep.
• There’s this scene where he’s running his hands along her scars. He asks, “is this okay?” asking for consent. Great. Awesome. But she responds “I don’t know.” And he fuCKING KEEPS GOING. NOPE. YOU RUINED IT. GOODBYE. I’M NOT EVEN SURPRISED SHE’S DESCRIBED AS HAVING TEARS IN HER EYES THE NEXT PAGE. BECAUSE YOU FUCKING KEPT GOING WHEN SHE DIDN’T CONSENT TO BEING TOUCHED MORE.
She doesn’t have tears in her eyes because what he is doing is bothering her. She has tears in her eyes because she is being very vulnerable with someone about her biggest insecurity. That’s obviously something that would be extremely emotional for anyone. The way you perceive these scenarios makes me feel like you’ve had a really toxic experience with men and now you view all interactions with them as being toxic. It feels like you’re taking that out on Ben as a character and Colleen as an author for creating him. So much of what you’ve said in your review is out of context and twisted in such a way to demonize Ben. Not taking into consideration that especially in these early chapters, he’s a typical teenage guy. Despite some of his sexual thoughts of attraction towards Fallon, his motives towards her are good and have been from a place of pushing her to grow out of her insecurities, not pushing himself onto her and being this disgusting toxic male who doesn’t have any respect for women like you’re making him out to be.
• They start outlining rules for what to do between the time that they’ll see each other again and whereas fallon’s are things like “read these books and have fun,” ben’s is literally, “go on dates. You don’t have enough experience for girls of your age.” Like, great. That makes me feel really good about myself. Great job.
Again, Whitney, context. Fallon hasn’t dated anyone since she was 16 because her scars made her feel so insecure of herself and she’s been sending out those non-verbal cues. Ben is encouraging her to live her life, encouraging her to get herself out there and challenge her insecurities in this scene. Dating and going to auditions every week are things that challenge her to grow past her insecurities. In the beginning their relationship started out really playful, both of them making it clear they hold no expectations of the other to have a committed relationship with each other. Ben wants her to meet people, to be happy, to have a normal life, fall in love, do all the things he felt like he had taken away from her because of the fire. Once the big plot twist happens, it’s very clear these were his motivations all along for all of these things. But I feel like you’ve been so focused on demonizing Ben throughout this entire book and had it out for Colleen Hoover since starting this book that you didn’t read November 9 from a place of genuine curiosity of wanting to understand the story. You went into it thinking to yourself that you don’t like Colleen Hoover books, you knew you weren’t a fan of her books because you read five books from her prior that you hated, and so you looked for things to be upset about with this one too. That’s apparent. But also, I don’t know what kind of experiences with men you’ve had in the past, but whatever happened to you is clearly reflected in your determined review to take every opportunity you get to paint Ben as this evil guy with no respect for women. But nearly everything you’ve said so far has been taken out of context and twisted in order for it to appear this way.
• She eventually reveals that her left breast was disfigured from the fire and in the next line of dialogue ben is like LET ME SEE IT I NEED TO SEE IT CONSIDER IT RESEARCH I WANT TO KNOW. Like in what the fuck world is that acceptable? It’s her number one insecurity and he’s such an entitled asshole that he’s like “uhhuh cool but let me see it. Because I’m curious.”
• Every sexual advance after that wasn’t because “you’re beautiful I love you,” it was, “let me take off your clothes so I can see the scars you keep trying to hide.” So disgusting.
Again, leaving out context with an agenda to demonize Ben and see past his true motives. After she challenges Ben on why he feels he needs to see it, he says this, “You listen to me. It pisses me off that you allow something so trivial to define such a huge part of you. I can’t make you pretty in this book, because that would be an insult. You’re fucking beautiful. And you’re funny. And the only times I’m not completely enamored by you are the moments you’re feeling sorry for yourself. Because I don’t know if you’ve realized this yet, but you’re alive, Fallon. And every time you look in the mirror, you don’t have the right to hate what you see. Because you survived when a lot of people don’t get that lucky. So from now on when you think about your scars, you aren’t allowed to resent them. You’re going to embrace them, because you’re lucky to be on this earth to see them. And any guy you allow to touch your scars better thank you for that privilege.”
To answer your second point, I think the last quote I sent reveals that taking her clothes off for his sexual excitement is not his true motivation here. Obviously there’s curiosity there, but the driving motivation throughout this book has always been to help Fallon feel more comfortable and confident in her own skin. That’s what this entire book has been about because of the guilt he’s been living with regarding the fire, but also him genuinely falling in love with her. This has all been validated from his side of the story in his writing near the end of the book.
• I think the saddest thing is Fallon never stops Ben from doing anything. She continually complies, even if it causes her to have tears in her eyes, shakiness, etc. She has so much internalized misogyny that she allows men to control her and tell her what to do and she contributes it to the alpha male personality in the romance books she reads. I’m so, so upset for her that she can’t stick up for herself, and Ben disguises his exploitative, disgusting, and toxic obsession with her scars and undressing her as concern and love.
Like I’ve already covered earlier, Fallon didn’t have tears in her eyes because she wanted Ben to stop touching her, or because it was him that was bothering her. She had tears in her eyes because she was opening up to Ben and allowing him access to a very vulnerable and insecure part of herself. You’ve got such a twisted and demonizing view of Ben in this book, and honestly what’s being reflected, is you have this view of men in general. I didn’t get this toxic perception of Ben at all from this book and I think Colleen did a really great job of tying everything together that made everything make sense as to Ben’s motivations and trying to help Fallon overcome her deep insecurities of her scars, because he was the one responsible for them, unintentionally. He was trying to help her and fix some of the damage he caused her.
• They were talking about their favorite foods. Ben said Pad Thai. Fallon said Sushi. “they’re almost the same thing . . . [because t]hey’re both Asian food” (pg 121) lmao okay…………..
🙄 Was this really worth putting in the review? Seriously though. They’re both uncultured and don’t know much about Asian culture other than the food, big whoop. Do people have to be an expert on every culture now adays? If someone said a hamburger and salad were almost the same thing, I’d honestly just find it funny that whoever’s saying it is so uncultured to barely know the difference between two totally different foods. 😂 Not offended. Are you really nit picking this?? 😂
• Fuck the Tate and Miles cameo. I fucking hate Miles.
This was awesome! Such a cool Easter egg for Colleen’s fans who have read her other books. To each their own though. Ugly Love was yet another book you read from Colleen that you didn’t like.
• “I step forward and shut her up with my mouth” lollolololol I hate this. I fucking hate this. Let her speak. Stay in your own fucking lane. You don’t dictate when she needs to shut up, especially kissing her forcibly to make her stop talking.
• “He kisses me with entitlement” is a real fucking line in the book. It literally just proved my point. Ben thinks he’s so entitled to her body. This is actually a perfect summary of any CoHo book you’ll read. Such arrogant, ridiculous, entitled men.
For the first point, again, missing context. They were going to miss a year of seeing each other because Ben’s brother died, so she decided to surprise Ben and go see him and comfort him. At his doorstep she says “I just lied to see you, I’m sorry. I’m not here to see if you’re okay. I know you’re not okay. I just couldn’t function after you hung up. The thought of not seeing you today and having to wait another year completely gutted me and…” I (Ben) step forward and shut her up with my mouth.
She took a plane to see him and showed up to his doorstep right after his brother died to comfort him and he was so happy she cared enough to show up that he interrupted her with a kiss. That’s what happened. Whitney, why are you so determined to take so much of this book out of context and twist it to look like this? I really just don’t understand it or why you’re so determined to be so angry about this book.
As for the second point, they’re sharing a passionate kiss about to have sex. What exactly is WRONG with kissing someone with entitlement that you’re getting it on with? They’re obviously lovers at this point, BOTH of them are entitled to kiss each other with entitlement. It’s wild how much you’re reaching with this.
• After she loses her virginity to him, she literally describes it as she “lost a part of [her]self to the person inside [her] . . . as if the second [they] joined together, a tiny piece of [their] souls got confused and a piece of his fell into [her] and a piece of [hers] fell into him.” IS THIS NOT THE EXACT WORDING OF ABSINTANCE-ONLY SEX ED??? TELLING GIRLS THAT THEY ARE POLLUTING THEMSELVES AND GIVING AWAY PARTS OF THEMSELVES TO MEN WHEN THEY LOSE THEIR VIRGINITY????? VIRGINITY IS A CONSTRUCT. YOU AREN’T LOSING ANYTHING. YOU ARE AN INDIVIDUAL PERSON EVEN AFTER SEX. OH MY GOD THIS BOOK IS UNBEARABLE PLEASE MAKE IT END.
When you have sex with someone, you actually do give them a part of yourself. Sex creates an energetic cord attachment and it works both ways. It isn’t just the woman giving a piece of themselves to a man, it’s the man giving a piece of themselves to the woman as well. It’s even stronger with an emotional bond which they had. If you aren’t a very spiritual person (not necessarily religious, I mean spiritual. The two are not exclusive), I can understand why this concept may go straight over your head.
• fuCKING GUESS WHAT IT GOT WORSE
• the next morning she was like “I gotta go” and he literally said, I quote, “I’ve never wanted to use physical force on a girl before, but I want to push her to the ground and hold her there until the cab drives away.” He literally threatens physical violence on her. BUT SO CUTE AND RELATABLE!!!! AM I RIGHT???!!!!!
Oh my god lol he did NOT threaten physical violence on her, these were his THOUGHTS. I’ve wanted to punch people in the face before when I’ve gotten frustrated with them. MOST people have. Humans are not these pure little angels who live out our lives never thinking a violent or impure thought. Every single person, even you, have thought extreme things against other people. But the things we think and the things we consciously choose to do or not do are what define us. Our thoughts do not control our actions. They can influence our actions, yes, but you actually CHOOSE the actions you take or not take based on your thoughts. Ben was frustrated, and that’s what he wanted to do because he was so frustrated because she chose to leave him right after having sex with him for the first time, and she did that while he was in such a vulnerable place of mourning his brother. It’s amazing that you demonize Ben so much because he’s a male. Let’s be really real for a second. If the roles were reversed, if Ben was the one who chose to get on that plane and leave Fallon right after having sex with her for the first time, you would have been furious at Ben for that. But the fact that Fallon did that to Ben? Absolutely nothing. All you can focus on is how this situation frustrates him so much that he has some thoughts you don’t like out of his hurt and frustration that he didn’t even act on.
• He actually gets pissed when she refuses to let him move in with her and exchange numbers. Like cry me a river, fuckboy.
I think I’m getting more frustrated with your review than you were with this book! 😂 YEAH of course he’s pissed! I would be too if the person I just had emotional sex with for the first time decided to take off on a plane the next day, not give me their number or any way to contact them, and they didn’t want to see or talk to me after that for an entire year. I would feel like I was used. That’s a major step they took in their relationship to just be like “yeah, this was fun, see you next year and by the way you can’t talk to me until then either”. I get why Fallon did it, but it’s absolutely justified why Ben felt hurt by it because this was a major thing to happen between them, and she just took off the next day, not to hear from her again for an entire year. Why are you so jaded??
• This book is just so outright woman hating. Ben has such frail masculinity. He was like “Fallon said she hates insta-love, but apparently she hates semi-instant love and slow love and love at a snail’s pace and love in general.” Like way to villainize a woman because she wants the best for you???? Horny motherfucker, go take a nap.
No, this book isn’t woman hating at all. Literally your entire review is man hating, taking everything out of context and twisting it to make Ben look like a villain when he’s not. I have not had toxic experiences with men in general but your review is very revealing of someone who has some serious traumas relating to men, and you’re taking it out on Colleen and this book, and that isn’t at all fair. Get help. I’m being very genuine about that. I really hope you get help because the hatred you have against men and your perception of men as a whole seems to be very distorted based on whatever horrible experiences you’ve had. I understand if you’ve had some really horrible experiences, especially a few times that it is easy to make judgements that it is ALL men. But the reality is, is that the characteristics of all men are not all the same as the men you’ve had horrible experiences with. They just aren’t. We are all individuals, both men and women. Both men and women are not a hive mind. We are individuals who all have different thoughts, feelings, perspectives, behaviors, mannerisms, and more, and a lot of that is a result of our upbringing and how each of us experiences the world. These things mold us into who we become, and those are all very individual experiences, not hive mind experiences. Just how your negative experiences with men is very different from my neutral/positive experiences with men. So I truly do hope you get help with whatever trauma it is that you went through, because this review is very revealing of your trauma and as much as your review frustrates me, I don’t know what you went through and because of that I can not see your world view. But I can understand to an extent why you have it because I know someone, or perhaps multiple people must have deeply hurt you. People don’t just hate men to this extent for no apparent reason. You’ve lived through something and you clearly never healed from it.
• At this point I stopped taking notes because shit was happening every paragraph but here’s the rest of what I remember
• SEVERAL times in this book, Fallon tells Ben “I need to leave” and he either grabs her, stands in front of the door, or otherwise blocks her exit. That’s extremely controlling and nasty.
• At one point she tries to drive away from him but he grabs her keys out of her hand and walks to his own car, forcing her to scream after him and follow him to get them back. He walks all over her life and calls it “alpha male” romance.
The times Fallon felt she needed to leave were either over things she didn’t let Ben explain, due to their miscommunication or a big revelation. These were emotionally charged circumstances. BOTH of them acted childishly, and he DID let her go. More than once, despite how painful it was for him. Fallon is not innocent in all of this like you’re making her out to be, she shares a lot of the fault and did a lot of harm to Ben. They BOTH hurt each other. Stop demonizing Ben when she was equally at fault.
• Near the end of the book Fallon’s out on a date with another guy and he shows up and is super manipulative pretending like he’s interviewing them for an article or some shit, but he’s actually just creeping on the guy she’s with because he hates how she’s moved on from him. That’s so controlling and disgusting? Literally leave her alone, she’s with another man? What the fuck? Grow up?
• During this same scene, Fallon is drunk at the bar and Ben takes her, drags her down a hallway, corners her there, demands to know who he is, and Fallon laughs. Hoover continually normalizes and REWARDS this behavior by making the main female character perceive it as humor or protectiveness.
• At one point she tells him “I need to get back to my date” and it says that he “lean[s] closer and sandwich[es] her against the wall,” then he says, “Don’t be like that . . . I’ve been through hell today trying to find you.” OH, OKAY, SO YOU STALKED HER, CORNERED HER, AND NOW YOU FEEL ENTITLED TO AN EXPLANATION? ENTITLED FOR HER TO LEAVE HER CURRENT DATE FOR YOU? I hate this man. Fuck his privilege and entitlement.
• At this point I’ve yelled so much. I’m going to try and stay calm for this one because it’s the most serious one. While they are in a bar together—Fallon drunk, Ben sober—he pulls her into a storage closet and they begin making out. Ben initiates this. Fallon is hesitant but complies. He starts touching her, and clear as day, she tells him “Stop, . . . [her] voice louder than it’s been all night.” This is an absolute, loud, clear indication that she does not want to proceed. But what does Ben do? His hands continue to “graze the edge of [her] panties” and he whispers—he fucking whispers to her face—“I’m trying. Ask me again.” He didn’t stop. He. Didn’t. Stop. THIS IS RAPE CULTURE. I TOLD MYSELF I WOULDN’T USE CAPS BUT IN A COLLEEN HOOVER BOOK THAT HAS A 4.45 RATING ON GOODREADS, THE MAIN CHARACTER TOLD THE LOVE INTEREST TO STOP DURING A HEAVY ROMANCE SCENE AND HE CONTINUED TO SHOVE HIS HAND UP HER SKIRT WHILE SAYING, “ASK AGAIN.” (UPDATE 2/18/17: Hoover will be editing this out of the book. https://www.facebook.com/AuthorCollee…)
No he’s not. Amber’s boyfriend told Ben where Fallon would be at because he waited all day for her to show up on their yearly anniversary and she never did. He went because he wanted to see her and make amends, not because he was intentionally trying to sabotage her date. Fallon doesn’t even really LIKE the guy she is on a date with. Before she even went on the date the book went on about how miserable she was and that the only reason she goes out with him is because he takes her mind off of Ben. She was never even over Ben.
Fallon is not full out drunk. She’s tipsy. There’s a difference. Fallon is guarded when he confronts her but she is still very clearly still attracted to Ben. They end up making out in the storage room because SHE wants to just as much as he does, that’s very clear in this writing. This scene is not at all an abusive one. Not in this context, because despite the unresolved things between them, she absolutely still wanted him and the ball was in his court to figure out a way to make that happen because she never would have reached out to him again after what previously transpired between him and Jordyn. If the scenario was different and she truly didn’t want him there and kept trying to push him away and he wouldn’t leave, then yes. That absolutely is abusive. But she did not make any real effort to try to get away, because she didn’t really want to get away. She didn’t tell him to leave, she engaged with him and enjoyed her time with him and while that’s not verbal consent, that still very much counts as being consensual when both people involved are engaged in each other. The chemistry was there on her end too. She still had feelings for Ben before she went to this club, and that did not change when they got in the storage closet a few hours later.
The one point I will agree with you on is when she clearly told him to stop, he absolutely should have. I won’t defend that. It’s clear in the writing that follows this scene that Fallon clearly wants Ben and doesn’t actually want him to stop. Though, I think it’s fair and a good thing that Colleen edited that part (where she asks him to stop and he didn’t) out of the book.
Whew! Did you read all that? Are you still with me?
I just want to say, I almost didn’t finish responding to the entire review because it’s so insanely damn long, it took me hours to finish and edit all of this. But for the sake of this review and post, I committed. 😂 I felt compelled to respond to it because this clearly isn’t the review of someone who simply read this book with an open mind and decided they didn’t like it. This was the review of someone who has a history of reading multiple Colleen Hoover books wanted to create a smear campaign. Most people who read a book and realize they don’t like it either don’t finish reading it, or leave their review and don’t bother to read any more books from the author. But Whitney has read Colleen’s books before and had previously established distaste, yet, still chose to read more. Why?
Whitney hasn’t read one or two of Colleen’s books. She’s read SIX of Colleen’s books and every single one of them she’s hated. (Sources: One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven) I don’t understand how someone can read that many books from an author they supposedly don’t like just for the sake of leaving negative reviews. I can understand reading another book by an author you don’t like, but if I were to strike out and not like 2 books by an author, that would be it for me because after striking out on two books, it’s pretty easy to establish I’m not going to be a fan of that particular author. But come on… it took SIX books to finally reach that conclusion? 🙈
Maybe I’m just as crazy as Whitney for taking the time to respond to this ridiculously long hate review. But for those who might be scared away from reading this book because of a review like this that shows up at the top of the Goodreads review section of this book, I wanted to break down point by point my perception of what Whitney is talking about in the book and provide clarity as to the circumstances surrounding it. So much of this book she twists and takes completely out of context to suit her smear campaign on this book, and specifically, the character Ben. I truly believe a lot of these feelings she’s directing toward this book really have nothing to do with this book at all, and everything to do with her own lived experiences, which I do feel sympathy for and Whitney if you’re reading this, I truly do hope you’ve sought out help in working through whatever traumas you’re dealing with.
In her defense though, Whitney did write this review back in 2015, which was nearly 8 years ago now and I am sure over the course of over 7 years she’s likely changed as a person, grown and evolved herself. Sadly, I didn’t discover Colleen Hoover’s books until just a few months ago so my response to her review is over 7 years late. But regardless of this, her review of this book is still up for everyone to read, so she very well may still feel the same about it (which I assume she does based on a recent Twitter post. Yes, I did a little homework). But who really knows.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this extremely long book review with a little bit of tea. ☕ Colleen Hoover has some really great books (in my opinion) with great story lines. She definitely isn’t everyone’s cup of tea so if you deal with a lot of trauma, are easily triggered or can’t handle a little colorful language, you probably won’t enjoy her content. November 9 is a really great read though and it is definitely among my recommended list for the adult romance genre!
Did you read November 9? Did you love it? Did you hate it? Let me know in the comments!