trigger warning: Mental, physical abuse, suicide, molestation Spoilers
“Maybe the only way you really know you love someone is they can break you with a single sentence”
Bad Romance is the perfect portrayal of how it feels to be trapped in the clutches of those you love. Stuck in abusive households, manipulative relationships. Filled with all sorts of triggering contents, Heather Demetrios does an exceptionally wonderful job in expressing the difficulties and dilemma victims go through while suffering. However the contents were quite difficult to read considering how life like and real the situations were.
Grace and Her Family
Grace’s family includes her elder sister Beth, currently living away for university. Her mother, stepfather and half brother. They were a happy trio before her stepfather, The Giant, came into the picture. Controlling, abusive and dominating are just a few of his traits. His abusive ways so persecuting, even her other succumbed to his ways, losing all joy and developing a mental disease: OCD. In fears of upsetting The Giant, her mother would torment Grace is ways she herself probably wasn’t aware of. Punished for not cleaning the chopping board, grounded for weeks for not folding The Giant’s underwear. Grace would wear a different skin around them, the helpless, contrite daughter who would give up and apologize for whatever. Control over phone timings travel; since she was not allowed to get a driver’s permit and even to the extent of paying weekly rent of $100, Grace wanted out. Things got worse when her mother slapped her twice, for missing a spot in the kitchen.
However by the end of the book, we see the mother finally showing some regret. Grace knows her mom would never be the kind of person she is now if only she had someone more loving than The Giant.
I admire how Grace did not somehow try to justify her mother’s actions but simply forgive her because there was nothing she could go. She knew her mother’s tyranny was fueled by her stepdad but she never made it sound okay.
Grace and Gavin
Gavin Davis, the ultimate rockstar. The most beautiful boy with exceptional singing abilities and magic in his fingers. Lead guitarist in his band, lead actor in most of their high school shows. King 0of the theatre. Grace couldn’t stop herself from crushing on him. She also knew how impossible it was for him to fall in love with her, especially with the Goddess of a girlfriend, Summer. So when news broke he ended up in a hospital for slitting wrists due to his breakup, Grace couldn’t stop herself from trying to make things better, a note to let him know he matters. This was the inception of the worst relationship in history.
Much like most ausive relationships, Grace and Gavin’s started out all carefree and flirty, butterflies in your stomach. Serenaded with songs written for her, gifts and sudden trips for Pepsi Freezes melted her heart. She considered herself the luckiest girl on the planet. However, red flags started to show. She was forbidden in touching her friends of opposite sex, her clothes were too short, she was being spied on. Any guy in a 1 meter vicinity of hers was considered a threat. Gavin made sure she knew. Labelled as a Slut, a Bitch and a whore on various occasions and yet she stayed with him. She was too grateful for the consoling phone calls when her mother would persecute her. She was grateful for the care he would show, for going to the extent of renting an apartment for her when things worsened. She was grateful so she stayed, she let him touch her wherever, whenever.
She wanted to leave him for insults, for constant mental torture he did. Evertime Grace plucked up the courage to leave him he would threaten with a “I will kill myself.” She would surrender until one day she couldn’t. Being the destructive person Gavin was, he got himself in accident and begged for another chance.Grace caved. But things only got worse. It drover her to a point where she held a knife and contemplated killing herself. Luckily for her best friend Natalie, she didn’t. She decided to close the Gavin chapter permanently. And so she did.
While these incidents were a bit too emotional to read, her relationship with her friends made it easier. Girl power, luckily for Grace, her two best friends, Natalie and Alyssa gave her dark life some light. They were her lifejackets, keeping her from drowning in the sea of misery. Best advisers, best comforters.
One of the clichés she didn’t adopt was having a rescue romance. Gideon was present, he wanted to save her but Grace chose herself and she saved herself.
Almost like a younger version of It Ends With Us, Bad Romance was a raw and honest portrayal of abusive relationships and how simply because of gratitude, we stick around those who harm us in ways unimaginable.