You know how sometimes when you read a book, one that someone convinced you to try, and you are completely blindsided and blown away when you fall deeply in love with it? Well, that is exactly what happened to me when I read Friday Brown by Vikki Wakefield. I have a very very select few of my absolute top shelf favorite books, and in my entire lifetime of reading it’s only got 8 books on it. One of those books is Friday Brown.
Falling in love with a book like that is actually rather rare. Though, when I find an author I love, I do immediately grab another book I may not dive into it right away. I worry that if I really hate a second book then it’ll tarnish the love of the first book. I can be a little bit of an over-thinker. Also, Vikki Wakefield has a very strange voice. It’s darkly poetic almost. When you read her books the cadence of the characters is just very… strange. It worked well in Friday Brown, but every time I would try to pick up All I Ever Wanted I would chicken out. The writing style in the first two chapters is slightly disconcerting at first.
I am so very glad that I pushed through it because this has got to be one of the most heartwarming books I’ve ever read. I told my close friend, who I’ve convinced to read it, that All I Ever Wanted was about beauty where most people would only see filth. That’s, I feel, the perfect description of what Vikki Wakefield does in this book. She tells a story of poverty, and crime, and what society would see as the ugly of the world and she fills your heart with all the love instead.
“When you’re a child, what you see and hear and comprehend can be sorted into little boxes. Then, as you live and learn, all those boxes open up and become rooms. The more you experience, the bigger those rooms get. If you’re lucky enough, there are some people you will love, and who will love you, long enough to see their boxes grow into vast spaces. You’ll understand things that had no meaning. You’ll find dark corners that only light up for the briefest moments. But when you keep getting lost, you just end up with a pile of boxes.”
Although this is classified as a YA novel, I would not at all recommend this to an impressionable teenager. Some of the things that happen in this book are likely too realistic for a young mind. I believe that a book for the young should have a certain amount of black and white. That what is ‘wrong’ is clearly addressed. However, as an adult, I know that things aren’t always that simple. Bad Guys aren’t always held accountable. And you know what, it wasn’t really the point of the story. The point of All I Ever Wanted was about roots. It was about family. It was about knowing where home is. Knowing who has your back.
‘Who, being loved, is poor?’ -Oscar Wilde
In the end I feel like I’m standing on pretty steady ground with this author. She’s written two books; I’ve read both of them. Both books made me cry. Both books get 5 stars.
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