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“All The Ugly and Wonderful Things” – Bryn Greenwood

3.4 out of 4 stars.

Tick tock, tick tock. That is the sound of my clock in the background as I try to write a review for this book. I am at a loss for words.

If I want to write an on the surface explanation of this book I would simply say that it is deeply dark, unfortunate, and extremely difficult to read. Pick it up at your own risk of being flooded with intensity. I would just leave it at that and move on. However, I would like to become a more educated and mature person with my writing and that is why I try to grab books (occasionally) that I normally wouldn’t be drawn to. In this case, it is a story about an 8 year old girl falling in love with a 20 year old man. Time to put my money where my mouth is and gives this hard to swallow concept an honest try.

Wavy is a tiny little blond haired girl that doesn’t speak. This is due to her meth dealer father and mother abusing her and telling her she is dirty and not worth it to be acknowledged. If Wavonna only had to worry about herself that would be one thing but she also has to take care of her kid brother, Donal. She is an adult before she even hits double digits. She is simply going through the motions until she has a run in with Kellan, one of her father’s “business partners” and Wavy begins to feel whole again. They fall in love with each other and begin to not care who sees it or judges them on it.

The entire book is very graphic. It goes into detail about drugs, sex, and violence. It was difficult to say the least to get through every detail and that was not even factoring in how young the main characters was. I am 28 years old and some of the terminology was even new to me.

I hope I don’t offend any of the readers by saying I am leaning more towards the side that Kellan could of tried harder to restrain his feelings from Wavy. I understand he is not that intelligent, young himself, and in love but 8 years of age is just far too young for me to agree with his lack of self control. I truly believe that Wavy was mentally unstable and looking for a figure in her life that could UNDERSTAND her. That is all. Yes, her aunt Brenda was able to put a roof over her head and give stability but she clearly did not “get” Wavy. This was obvious. Kellan allowed her to express herself the way she wanted without harping on her. This meant being an 8 year old without rules. What pre-teen wouldn’t fall in love with that?

I understand I may sound naive but even if the roles were reverse and I was talking about a little boy falling in love with a young woman I truly believe I would feel just as strongly that if the feelings were really there they should still wait.

All in all, I believe it is remarkable that an author was able to have me think this hard about a topic that I would not normally consider so I do believe the writing was great. It was just a tough concept that I personally had trouble being open-minded about.


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