Book Review: All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

Author:Bryn Greenwood
Reading Level: Adult
Genre: Coming of Age | Dark
Released: August 9, 2016
Review Source: Thomas Dunne Books

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.

Where do I even start with this one!?  I absolutely loved this book.  This book has a whole lot of ugly as the title suggests but there is beauty in overcoming the horrible things life sometimes throws at you.

The mother in me truly struggled to read certain parts of this book. Hearing the realness of what kids go through in a drug influenced atmosphere was so incredibly heartbreaking. I wanted to put myself in this insane world and hug Wavy and Donal and take them away from the horrible lives they had to endure for so long.

The story begins in the spring of '75 in a small town in the Midwest.  It's written in multiple point of views, which I normal freakin HATE but it works in this book.  Wavy, a six year old little girl, and her brother Donal, a baby, are dealt an extremely shitty hand. They live with a certifiably crazy, drug addicted mother, Val and occasionally Liam, their meth making/dealing father would come around.  Val's neglect forces Wavy to look after herself and her baby brother.  Two years later, after being moved around from different family member's homes, Wavy is back with her mother.  Standing in a field, she notices a man she had never seen before, on a motorcycle, coming down the road. He notices her too, causing him to crash his bike.  Both of their lives changed that day.  The book covers more than a decade of the lives and experiences of the characters.

I don't want to say anything more about the story line because I feel it would give the story away.  I had such mixed emotions reading this book. I think the writing was so raw and brilliant. It was unlike anything I have ever read before.  I had a love/hate relationship with Wavy's aunt, Brenda. The mother in me sides with every choice she makes, the 14 year old girl in me feels so sorry for Wavy.  While I felt closure at the end, I was left with a lot of questions.  I hope the author writes another book on Donal's life so I can see more from his point of view.

This book won't be for everyone so I have to put that out there. There are some topics some may struggle to read because at times it was hard for me but it was such an ugly, wonderful book. The title could not be more accurate.  I recommend everyone at least give this amazing story a chance. It's a life changing book that I'll never forget.

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