All The Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood – 346 pages
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.
My Review: 5 stars
All The Ugly and Wonderful Things is an absolutely stunning novel about an incredibly horrifying topic. Not pedophilia, but an intense love story about an adult man and an 8-year-old girl. I know, pick your jaw up off the floor. What’s better than a book that makes you think, question, feel and wonder?
The book has the most perfect title that is seriously filled with a lot of wonderful and a ton of ugly. Author Greenwood miraculously keeps you interested in the well being of this couple and I found myself rooting for them. Then I’d stop myself from cheering them on when my brain got involved instead of my heart. It was a see-saw of emotions, completely thought provoking and really tested the reader’s boundaries.
From the moment Wavy was introduced, I fell for her. She was a waif of child who was broken, different, angelic, brave, and had goodness in her bones. She refused to be touched and won’t speak; yet as a reader, I was completely enamored with her.
Beyond their relationship there is so much more to that plot line in this book: taking care of family, drugs, rape, foster care, eating disorders, OCD, hookers, paternity, brilliance, the constellations, trust, role models, education and more.
This book is out of the box and really shows, in a most unusual manner, that love is so much more than sex. In this novel, it represents safety, respect, honesty and being your truest self. Perhaps some couples meet at what seems is the wrong time, but it is really the right time.
This will make a great book for discussion. I highly recommend it!
Quotes I liked:
Most days I was impossible. Like a unicorn.”
-“That’s not the only thing love means. You just got your mind in the gutter.”
-“I’d been going along thinking I was Shakespeare, but I’d written myself out of the play.”
-“I liked learning things. How numbers worked together to explain the stars. How molecules made the world. All the ugly and wonderful things people had done in the last two thousand years.”
– “It made me feel like a poseur. I mean, I was a poseur, but I never felt like one before.”
-“You can look up keening in the dictionary, but you don’t know what it means until you hear somebody having their heart ripped out.”