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Verity, by Colleen Hoover, is fascinating, dark and disturbing

‘A writer should never have the audacity to write about themselves, unless they are willing to separate every layer of protection between the author’s soul and their book. The words should come directly from the center of the gut, tearing through flesh and bone as they break free. Ugly and honest and bloody and a little bit terrifying, but completely exposed.’Coleen Hoover

There are books that bring a smile to our lips and calm us, and then there are books that get into our bloodstream like addictive drugs and choose to haunt us, making us relive every terrifying moment. Verity, by international bestselling author Colleen Hoover, is one such book that stays with you long after you have finished reading the last word.

A psychological thriller, the book starts with an unknown, but bloody death. It moves on to the first time Lowen, a writer on the brink of financial ruin, and Jeremy, a married man with an immobile wife, and a lot of baggage, meet at a coffee shop. After accepting an offer to complete the remaining three books in a series written by esteemed author Verity Crawford, Jeremy’s wife, Lowen travels to Vermont and stays a while at the couple’s house, attempting to finish the books.

Lowen finds Verity’s autobiography, titled So Be It, and proceeds to read it. It is a horrific revelation to Lowen, who finds out that Verity is responsible for her daughter Harper’s death. The autobiography reveals Verity’s violent impulses, and is laced with vivid descriptions of her active sex life with her husband.

As time passes, Lowen suspects Verity is pretending to be immobile, and tries to catch her red-handed, and does so once, but fails to prove it to Jeremy. Expectedly, Jeremy and Lowen fall for each other, angering Verity, who continues to fake the extent of the injuries that she sustained in a car crash. Through a seemingly innocent conversation, Lowen realises that Verity is talking to her five-year-old son, Crew, and letting everyone believe that she is brain-dead at the same time.

The book ends with Jeremy killing Verity, and with Lowen discovering a last letter left behind by Verity, where Verity claims her innocence.

It is never specified whether Verity actually kills her daughter Harper, or tries to self-abort her twins because she hates them for stealing Jeremy’s attention. It is also not clear whether Verity loved her other daughter, Chastin, more than Harper. There are other unexplained incidents as well.

The book is disturbing, eerie and chilling, featuring instances of abuse that should serve as triggers. It is not for the faint-hearted, or the romantic types. At once deep, dark and twisted, it still is a compelling read. But be warned, it will upset you a lot.

(Arya Mohapatra is a slam poet and a published author. She regularly comes up with original poetry at open mic events. She performed in the World Congress of Poets, which took place in November 2019. She is the third-place recipient of the Rabindranath Tagore Awards for poetry, 2020, and got the fifth position at the Bharat International Awards 2022)


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