Title: All The Ugly and Wonderful Things
Author: Bryn Greenwood
Genre: Literary Fiction
POV: Shifting – Multiple
Publication Date: August 9, 2016
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
ARC provided in exchange for an honest review.
Jesse Joe Kellen was a nobody. People saw him simply as a dumb big brute. He was a lonely soul with no purpose in life until the day he wrecked his motorcycle and helped by the young daughter of his boss.
Wavonna (Wavy) Quinn grew up in a bad household. As the daughter of drug producer and addict, she had to fend for herself and her baby brother since she was very young. But everything changed the moment Kellen entered her life and learned all the ugly and wonderful thing life had to offer.
I love books that provoke emotions and belief systems. I love when it force me to see things from a different perspective. This book certainly managed to do that.
No woman had ever looked at me the way she did, or touched me that way. Like she wanted me, like I was worth wanting.
On the surface, Kellen might be seen as a monster, but on a deeper level, he was much more than what her parents could offer. The things he did and sacrificed for her wellness and happiness was noble and admirable.
Wavy started as a creepy, disturbed child. Learning about the history of her behavior invoked unspeakable anger in me. And despite her heartbreaking beginning she bloomed into a strong, smart young woman even with her fragility still “infecting” the daily life.
There were some parts of the story that managed to make even me uncomfortable and I can take a lot. But in the end, what the book was trying to say is sometimes love can creep up unexpectedly due to circumstances and who are we to say it’s unacceptable? Just because something is not deemed normal in society, doesn’t mean it’s not real to the people involved.
You can look up the word keening in the dictionary, but you don’t know what it means until you hear somebody having her heart ripped out.
I love how the book is written with multiple POV. Considering the numerous characters and shifting perspective, there’s a risk of it being confusing. But it was written seamlessly and it worked beautifully in delivering the story effectively.
All The Ugly and Wonderful Things chronicles the life of a young girl until adulthood as she learned to cope with what life threw her way. Read it with an open mind because while life can be ugly, it can also be wonderful if you let it to be.
This review is also available on Goodreads.
BRYN GREENWOOD is a fourth-generation Kansan, and the daughter of a mostly reformed drug dealer. Her debut novel, All the Ugly and Wonderful Things, is coming from Thomas Dunne/St. Martin’s in August 2016. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas.