Told mostly in reverse order, But I Love Him chronicles the relationship between Anna and Connor. The reader is introduced to Anna, a high school senior, who has spent the past year focused on Connor, and has slowly given up the people and things that were important to her prior to meeting him.
Through Anna’s accounts of her interactions with Connor and people in their lives, the reader gets a sense of the conflicted feelings Anna has toward him. The story being told from end to beginning is similar to viewing a mess being picked up—it starts off as a disaster, but piece by piece, things get better, until everything looks new again. This emphasizes the way abusive relationships gradually develop. Observing the relationship in reverse shows how difficult it is to pinpoint the beginning of the abuse, and highlights the inconsistent behavior in abusive relationships and how people can alternate between loving and destructive actions. Anna is also an outside observer of Connor’s parents’ abusive relationship. She views both herself and Connor’s mom as causing the abuse to happen to them, but often doesn’t acknowledge the parallels between them.
But I Love Him is a quick read with a big impact.