REVIEW | All the Ugly and Wonderful Things

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All the Ugly and Wonderful Things book review

Bryn Greenwood

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I get it. This book won’t be for everyone and I can completely understand why. I like to think that I’m pretty open minded myself, but getting through this one was a little tough.

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.

I think I surmised my experience pretty succinctly in the Halfway Point; what you see is what you get and your experience of the novel will be strongly based on whether or not you can be open to the issues that it addresses.

Though ATUAWT is on the more extreme side, the narrative feels very real and I think that we can attribute this to the fact that a large part of the book is based on Greenwood’s personal experiences. I commend her for publishing such a personal and controversial story. Needless to say, this was such a refreshing and realistic read.

As I mentioned in the Halfway Point, I had to put this one down a couple of times due to the inevitable downsides of the plot. By no means am I saying that the story is bad, but despite all the good that happens, there’s the constant shadow of reality that made me feel very anxious at times.

Though being a bit predictable, ATUAWT is still gripping due to the fact that the characters are so complex and easy to empathise with – you just want to know that in the end, everything will turn out alright.

If you think you can stomach it, I would definitely recommend picking it up.

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