Review: All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood
All the Ugly and Wonderful Things
Author: Bryn Greenwood
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Date of Publication: August 9, 2016
Genre: Romance, Adult, Contemporary
As the daughter of a meth dealer, Wavy knows not to trust people, not even her own parents. Struggling to raise her little brother, eight-year-old Wavy is the only responsible “adult” around. She finds peace in the starry Midwestern night sky above the fields behind her house. One night everything changes when she witnesses one of her father’s thugs, Kellen, a tattooed ex-con with a heart of gold, wreck his motorcycle. What follows is a powerful and shocking love story between two unlikely people that asks tough questions, reminding us of all the ugly and wonderful things that life has to offer.
There goes my feelings. After reading this book, I found myself playing all the events in my mind over and over again. They were too absorbing and nothing short of brilliant. I didn’t expect I was in for a roller coaster ride!
All the Ugly and Wonderful Things was a tough book to read. It screamed heartache and many different overwhelming emotions. A well thought-out story about a girl named Wavonna Lee “Wavy” Quinn, the book opens in the year 1975 when she was 6 years old and has started to live under the roof of her aunt Brenda and her husband and two daughters Amy and Leslie. Wavy has always been a different girl. She doesn’t eat, doesn’t speak if she doesn’t want to, and always sneaks out of the house. It was when her parents came around to take her and her brother Donal when her life went back to being miserable. Her irresponsible parents are the worst. Her dad is a drug dealer while her mom suffers a mental illness. But when a tattooed ex-con named Kellen came into her life and basically helped her manage her awful childhood, she started looking up to him and she developed more than brotherly feelings to him.
Told in multiple POVs, I found this book in a way, emotionally challenging. It wasn’t that easy to dive into various characters’ minds and perhaps explore their feelings and thoughts. Wavy’s thoughts alone were more than enough to destroy me. What more when it comes to her cousin, to the people around her, and especially Kellen? But the good thing that I found in this multi-POVed book was that it made me become more open-minded to the main characters’ situation. If I have read this book without getting into other characters’ perspective, I think I may have the tendency to judge Wavy and Kellen’s relationship. Their age gap was odd and I can’t blame this story if it led to so many negative reactions from the people around her, especially from Wavy’s aunt. Reading this book made me feel accepting. It made me feel as though I was the one wearing their shoes, thus I found myself empathizing with them.
I was awestruck by the series of events here, both the good and the bad. It was pretty much unpredictable. All throughout the book, I didn’t know what’s about to happen and worse, I already envisioned a sad and tragic ending. Because gaaah books like this tend to end that way! But despite all the ugly things that happened here, there were of course wonderful things as what the title implies.
“I liked to pet his feet with mine. Touch his hands with mine. Rub my cheek against his. I liked how we were different, but the same.”
I believe this is one of the most unforgettable books that I’ve read this year and I’m glad I really read this gem. It was gripping and it definitely offered a whirlwind of emotions. The characters were painted with enough realism and everything kept me on the edge. Just a heads up though, there were many delicate issues here such as drugs, abuse, marital cheatings, and crime. All in all, it was a highly emotional read and certainly one of the best books ever written in 2016!
(Apart from being intrigued with this book, I’ve also read it for a purpose which is to greet my dear friend AJ a happiest birthday. Happiest birthday, my dear! I hope you did have a blast! AJ happens to love this book so I decided to delve into it, too. Click her name to read her fabulous review and send her birthday wishes as well. 🙂
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