Jenny's Review: All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

Title: All the Ugly and Wonderful Things
Author: Bryn Greenwood
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press

Pub Date: August 9, 2016
Rating: 5 Stars

Our thoughts...

I am a mother and a fiercely loving and protective one at that. This leads me to be of the “mama bear” variety. Do not read this book with mama bear goggles on or any similar glasses! My children will never be in a situation anywhere near as dire as what Wavy or Kellen experience. I know this for a fact because my children are surrounded by people who love them unconditionally, not because they are obligated to but because they want to. Wavy and Kellan have been surrounded by people who look down on them like trash as if they are something to be disposed of. Unless you come from a similar situation, please do not go in with predisposed judgments. Wavy and Kellen’s story is born out of a place of neglect, sorrow, hatred, and so many other things many of us will never have to see outside of our imaginations or the news. Please give this book a chance. Give Wavy and Kellen a chance. There are so many ugly and wonderful things.

This book does not cover the easiest subject matter. In fact, there are several tough subject matters hinted at in the synopsis. Life for the two protagonists is hard, and that’s putting it lightly. Both Wavy and Kellen were born into a life of Hell on Earth. They don’t know love, they don’t know what it’s like to be wanted or cared for (without someone being forced to care for them), and they don’t know what a real family is like. Until their paths cross one day. Their real family is not with their parents, cousins, aunts, uncles, or friends; it’s with each other and with Wavy’s little brother, Donal. That is where they finally find unconditional love for the first time in their lives.

This story is told from multiple perspectives but never any that I could easily relate to (such as Wavy’s aunt who tries to protect Wavy the way she sees fit). I could put myself in their shoes but I would most likely never find myself in their situation or one remotely similar. We hear from Wavy, Kellen, Donal, Wavy’s cousin, Wavy’s grandmother, Wavy’s college roommate, Kellen’s boss, etc.; so many perspectives that allow the reader to see not only inside the minds of Wavy and Kellen, to see where they are mentally, emotionally, and intellectually, but from characters that allow us to view their behaviors and their relationship from perspectives that are most likely more varying from the average reader. Disclaimer: I realize I’m generalizing; there are many people who will be able to relate to various aspects, so please don’t think I’m ignoring that possibility. My intentions here are for those who are sitting on the fence wondering if they should read this or not because the subject matter makes them uncomfortable due to it being hard to relate to. This book is worth stepping out of your comfort zone.

I could say so much more but that would be obnoxious and most likely contain spoilers. Just know that this book is something different, something special, and worth the time. I will read this book over and over for years to come. The characters and story have burrowed themselves deep into me and have found permanent residence in my bookworm heart. I highly recommend you open your mind and heart and read this book and then come find me and tell me your thoughts, good or bad.

No comments:

Post a Comment