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Published by Thomas Dunne Books on August 9th 2016
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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.
We received this book/audiobook for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect our opinion of the book or the content of our review.
Amazon – B&N – Indie Bound – BAM
Book Review: 5 + stars
This is a review about a book for everyone, who can step off the proverbial soap-box for a few hours and I want to remind everyone, that a review is a personal opinion. You might be of a completely different opinion if you read the book yourself, seen as everyone has different ethics.
“All the ugly and wonderful things” is the story of two soul mates, who could not be more different but the same – yeah, doesn’t make sense but is the truth. When Wavy meets Kellen for the first time, she is only 8 years old and he is already in his mid-twenties. Despite their age difference, a tender friendship starts to form and Wavy, neglected and mentally abused by her parents, finally has someone, who looks after her and gives her life a new direction and safety. The tender friendship forms into more in the span of the next 5 years and both know, they are “the one” for each other. Suffice it to say, that society has a big problem with this kind of love, even if it is the purest and most beautiful bond there is between two people. A man of 27 who has a relationship with a 13 year old girl is being called a pedophile and is to be punished by law. That’s exactly what happens in this book and I don’t know if I have to feel ashamed to say, that I thought Kellen has been mistreated.
If a grown man rapes a young girl or child per se, I’m all for punishing him – but with Kellen and Wavy, it was never that way. Their attraction was in no way focused on the physical aspect but on the love between the two. And if it hasn’t been for Wavy, who initiated all the sexual parts between them, I don’t think there would have happened anything physical at all.
Now, you can put on your judgmental pants all you want and say that a friendship between an eight year old and a 22 year old can never be possible and I would normally agree; it wasn’t even a relationship like you would anticipate between a father and his kid. But you have to keep in mind, that Wavy is not your average child. She has been the adult in her family for a long time, since both parents were more fixated on their drug-use than on her or even themselves. She was beyond her age and in my opinion, she even saved Kellen in some ways, at least in giving his life a new sense and joy.
Yes, I’m a mother of two kids – 4 and almost 6 years – and I would raise hell if a grown, big, motorcycle riding man would claim he was my daughter’s new friend but first of all, this was a book of pure fiction and second, I always had in mind, that Wavy was a very special young person. Please at least try not to judge their relationship from the start or otherwise you will miss one of the best books ever written in my humble opinion.
The writing was so extraordinary, that I fell in love with it within the first 3 pages. The author held me hostage with her beautifully written words. I cried, laughed, sniggered, scoffed, raised my eyebrows, and got choked up, my jaw hit the ground more than once… You get the gist.
I think I could go on and on about this book but I’ll stop here right now and can only recommend it to read for everyone, who can keep an open mind and who may be able to see love in the most unlikely of places. All in all, I rate “All the ugly and wonderful things” with 5+ stars and I can say that it was – hands down – one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read. Definitely a new favorite and I will read it again soon.
Please, dear Bryn Greenwood, write a few more stories like Wavy and Kellen’s. You just managed to score a place smack middle in my reader’s heart!!! Thank you, for being so courageous to write such a controversial but beautiful story.