Review: All The Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

Posted July 10, 2017 by sweptawaybyromance in Review / 0 Comments

Review: All The Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn GreenwoodAll the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood
on August 9th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Coming of Age
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A beautiful and provocative love story between two unlikely people and the hard-won relationship that elevates them above the Midwestern meth lab backdrop of their lives.

As the daughter of a drug dealer, Wavy knows not to trust people, not even her own parents. It's safer to keep her mouth shut and stay out of sight. Struggling to raise her little brother, Donal, eight-year-old Wavy is the only responsible adult around. Obsessed with the constellations, she finds peace in the starry night sky above the fields behind her house, until one night her star gazing causes an accident. After witnessing his motorcycle wreck, she forms an unusual friendship with one of her father's thugs, Kellen, a tattooed ex-con with a heart of gold.

By the time Wavy is a teenager, her relationship with Kellen is the only tender thing in a brutal world of addicts and debauchery. When tragedy rips Wavy's family apart, a well-meaning aunt steps in, and what is beautiful to Wavy looks ugly under the scrutiny of the outside world. A powerful novel you won’t soon forget,

Crista’s Review

2 Stars!

Unfortunately, this book did not work for me.  I am all for forbidden and tragic storylines, but this one was too much for me to handle.  The premise of this book was intriguing: A child brought up in horrific surroundings, parents who personify neglect, and criminal activity finds love in the most unlikely of places.  However, the reality of this book dove into the darkness so deeply that I wasn’t able to find my way back to the light.

This book spans the course of when Wavy is 8 years old to the time when she is a consenting adult.  We see her taking sole responsibility for her brother, as her mom is depressed and in the throws of drug addiction and her father is a drug-dealing criminal with a propensity towards violence.  She feels that she is “dirty”, because her mother also has obsessive-compulsive tendencies as it relates to germs.  This is ironic because they live in complete disarray and filth.

Wavy does not speak and is a odd child.  She is so stunted by what she lives in day-to-day, that relationships are virtually impossible for her.  Kellen, who is one of her father’s drug delivery boys, changes all that.

I think the main reason for my rating is my inability to buy into and accept the age difference between Wavy and Kellen.  Kellen is 20-something when they meet, and Wavy is 8.  Their relationship starts out platonic, but Wavy quickly fancies herself “in love” with Kellen (around age 12).  This is just wrong.  Very wrong.  I could not get past it.  When their relationship progresses and becomes more and more intimate, I just couldn’t keep going.  I skimmed to the end to see what would happen, and I never felt any peace about it.

Definitely not for me.


About Bryn Greenwood

Bryn Greenwood is a fourth-generation Kansan and the daughter of a mostly reformed drug dealer. She is the author of the novels All the Ugly and Wonderful Things, Last Will, and Lie Lay Lain. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas.

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