Imagine my surprise when I open my New York Times app to a startling photo of a middle-aged woman, staring through the screen with those piercing gen-x eyes. Who is it? Colleen Hoover. The New York Times was doting a striking statistic: in 2022, more Colleen Hoover novels were sold than copies of the Bible. The actual fucking bible! To give you a little context, she sold 7.5 million books, and only 5 million copies of THE BIBLE were sold. This statistic had my jaw on the floor, as an English major, but also as a person who possesses more than three brain cells.
Now for those of you who don’t know who Colleen Hoover is, I invite you to walk 3 feet (0.91 m) into your local Barnes and Noble. Plastered on the walls and displayed around every corner is a collection of shitty romance novels, dawning hot pink and baby blue covers illustrated with flowers and ponies and some other garbage like that. Seriously, she’s everywhere. Displays labeled “#booktok favs” and “Co-Ho’s best” are on every corner. If your local Barnes and Noble, like mine, is closed, I recommend you find your Co-Ho content on everyone’s favorite video-sharing service, Tik Tok. Every other video is some tweenage girl raving about coho’s glorified smut. They treat it like scripture, glorifying some enemies to lovers’ toxic romance bullshit.
So naturally, I trolled the Reddit forums for some honest reviews of books like “Ugly Love” and “Reminders of Him.” What I found was unbridled hatred! Some of my favorite reviews coined terms like “Blech!” and “This book makes 50 Shades of Grey look like a well-developed story.” And of course “I’m not into book burning, but Verity almost made me change my mind.” I looked long and hard for some good reviews too, but there didn’t seem to be any, despite the average ranking of her books being above 4.5 stars. I asked around too, but everybody I met made the same claim: “I was only reading it out of curiosity” and “Don’t bother- you’ll lose brain cells.” From all of my research, I’ve determined one thing. Colleen Hoover has written 24 books and they all suck. Every single one.
For the weeks following my deep dive into the world of Colleen Hoover, I started to become more aware of the bookshelves of my peers. Everywhere I looked were books about siblings having sex and abusive relationships! I wish I were making that up! It got me thinking about society, and how our generation has abandoned religion and replaced it with middle-aged southern ladies writing smut! Now I’m not exactly a bible-thumping, god-fearing Christian, but I am an English major, and I value some good writing. Even still, my brain has been consumed by Co-Ho and her cult, and I don’t think I can escape. I haven’t drunk the Kool-Aid yet, but that’s not to say I never will. Her powers of persuasion rival those of the big man upstairs, and that’s a crazy thing to think about. This whole obsessive spiral climaxed one night when I smoked a little J, and I started thinking about none other than Co-Ho. I was imagining her in a fistfight with capital g God. And it wasn’t pretty. Blood was spilled, and egos were bruised. I like to imagine that God would win, but I’m brought back to the wise words of Ms. Hoover: “Sometimes you have to walk away from the fight in order to win it.”
Now if you are an active Colleen Hoover reader, I’m sorry to shit all over your perception of literature- but not really. Colleen Hoover sucks and so does God.