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review 2018-01-18 16:47
All The Ugly and Wonderful Things
All the Ugly and Wonderful Things: A Novel - Bryn Greenwood
This novel, oh this novel. Wavy had no one to take care of her, to watch over her as she became the adult of the family. Not even double digits, silent Wavy cared for her younger brother while her parents lived in their own little world of drugs and alcohol. It was amazing how mature Wavy became, she was fighting for survival, fighting for a way out.
 
Kellen worked for Liam, Wavy’s father, in his illegal operation. Wavy met Kellen when she came upon him after his motorcycle accident and she got ran and got help for him. Kellen soon realized what type of life Wavy had been living and he stepped in to help. At first, it was little things like helping her keep the house clean, helping her get to school and being a positive person in her life. As the years passed, their relationship became closer and I became queasy as I didn’t like how chummy they were becoming. Kisses on the cheek, Kellen buying her things, Wavy hugging Kellen, and Kellen calling her, “Sweetheart,” this was becoming more than just a friendship. Normally not a big problem but the age factor comes into play here, Kellen is around 24 years old and Wavy is around 12. I thought things were progressing too fast for the maturity of the individuals involved.
 
Wavy is smart but she doesn’t talk (doesn’t like to do it) and she doesn’t like to be touched except for now, as Wavy and Kellen seem to be doing some touching which begins to stand out. Now, if Wavy had parents that were awake to what was happening in the world they would notice and step in but her parents are in their own little world and Wavy does what she pleases. It’s sad how things were progressing, I was hoping that time would speed up as everyone was living their lives dangerously and I knew sooner or later something was bound to happen, but to whom?
 
I wanted to cover my eyes and peek through my fingers, this whole novel was living on the edge. I understood Wavy and what she was doing and then, her little brother Donal, he seemed to be floating along on a raft, just there for the ride. What would happen to these small children as they marched out into the world? I couldn’t put this novel down as it pulled at my emotions and I found myself staying up all night to finish it. This was an intense, driven novel and not one that everyone will enjoy like I did.

 

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review 2017-12-13 20:33
All the Ugly and Wonderful Things
All the Ugly and Wonderful Things: A Novel - Bryn Greenwood

In case you haven't heard of this book or looked up the synopsis -- this is an unconventional love story. Our 'hero', Kellen, meets our 'heroine', Wavy, when he's somewhere around 21 and she's about 8. It's basically love at first sight for both of them.

 

Now let me be clear. I in NO WAY support or condone pedophilia. It's disturbing to me on many levels, and not just because I have an 11-year-old daughter. Many people believe that Kellen in this book is a pedophile and that this book is about sexualizing children.

 

I don't agree. 

 

Pedophiles prey on children. They exploit them and do emotional and physical harm. I believe pedophiles have a mental imbalance and need help. My impression is that they don't believe what they are doing is wrong, or if they do then they don't care and blame it on not being able to control themselves.

 

Now let's look at Kellen and Wavy. Oh dear, what a complex situation. Wavy's parents are drug dealers/users and couldn't care less about her. They DO abuse her -- both emotionally and physically. It's no wonder she developed a crush on the first adult who showed care for her. Kellen is not the brightest bulb in the pack and has is own issues. But for some reason, he sees Wavy and feels compelled to take care of her. A relationship develops. Not sex -- a relationship. Now, as Wavy gets older the relationship does take on a more mature turn. I won't go into more detail for the sake of spoilers.

 

What I loved about this book was the fact that it made me question everything. It made me constantly ask myself, "Am I OK with this?" It also made me wonder if I would have felt differently about certain things if Wavy had a more stable home life. 

 

My high rating of this book is not because I think it's this romantic tale that made me go all starry-eyed. In fact, the relationship made me uncomfortable most of the time. But this book is well written and shows the reader a different side to a coin that most of us just want to be black on one side and white on the other.

 

I highly recommend others to read this book, but you have to have an open mind while doing it.

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review 2017-04-14 07:54
Sad and moving.
All the Ugly and Wonderful Things: A Novel - Bryn Greenwood

I understand all the controversy regarding this, but I don't agree. I think this was a hard look at mistakes made by a family, court system, and community. I have seen some people think the book is glorifying pedophilia, and again I disagree. I think Kellen in the book was mildly mentally handicapped, like around 14 mentally, in a man's body. I do think it should be required reading for anyone getting a degree in social work because it helps the reader to see things from the mindset of a child growing up in severe dyfunction. 

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review 2017-01-27 11:22
All the Ugly and Wonderful Things: A Novel - Bryn Greenwood
I am a bit thrown by how good, yet disturbing this read was.
The story concerning Wavy is heartbreaking. There is just no other way to describe it. How she came to be and what she was born into and forced to endure as a result. I have mad respect for this girl. Because no matter what was forced upon her, her heart, reactions, and thoughts remained pure. Untainted somehow, in many respects, in spite of the poison all around her and threatening to grow within her.

God took care of this girl HE really did. As bad as things were for her. All the ugliness, she could have easily turned out a WHOLE LOT WORSE. What she chose to focus on in life and dwell or not dwell on, truly defined the type of person/ woman she eventually would become. Her character. She never failed to show me what was truly important here or her capacity to over come such things and I love that.

Kellen
My goodness. I have no words for this man. He's.... in many ways a truly great man. With a heart filled so deep with such beautiful things, it's hard to hate him when he made certain choices. But I will admit, he had me hating him. Wanting to smack and scream at him. Shuddering (not in a good way) at his emotions or desires at times. I've always had a sense of black or white when it comes to what is wrong. Morally etc.. But this story, these people, are stock full of gray.

I went back and forth so many times on my stance on the relationship between Wavy & Kellen that I made myself dizzy. I'm still not sure how I feel about their journey. But I can't deny that it was heartbreaking, sweet, wrong, yet right, real, and beautiful.
It's simply just the Human Condition. With something as raw as this, I guess you really can't put it in a certain box or corner. You can try, but it will never truly fit in one place or the other.

Maybe I just needed more time with them. I'm not sure, but I'm upset that that's not really what I got in the end. What kept this from being a 5 star read for me, was the fact of how rushed the closing of their story was. Loose ends were tied up neatly, reunions were had. Some shaky, some not. And some that were left with a It's alright for now feel. Or its a work in progress, but we'll get there type of close.

I just feel with all that we witnessed here, that the ending and process leading up to that ending, should be more expressive and detailed and not just summarized and then it's done. That's what the close and ending was for me. A summary.

I guess you could say with all the triggers here within this journey, and the not so stellar way it ended for me, I still really enjoyed this read. I would definitely recommend it to those sitting on the fence about diving in here. It is a great story.

One thing is certain though.. Kellen and Wavy are going to be with me for a very long time.

Happy Reading :)
 
 

 

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review 2017-01-02 00:00
All the Ugly and Wonderful Things
All the Ugly and Wonderful Things - Bryn... All the Ugly and Wonderful Things - Bryn Greenwood This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life.

I am so disappointed! I was so excited to read this book and I didn't love it nearly as much I thought I would. I have seen so many rave reviews for this book and I just knew that I would absolutely love it too. I actually pulled it out on New Year's Eve because this was the book that I wanted to start the new year reading because I was sure it would be a 5 star book. There were some things that I did like about the book but it ended up being just an okay read for me.

This is a happy little inappropriate meth lab romance. The meth lab isn't the controversial part of the story. I said it is inappropriate because of the fact that the romance is between a child and an adult. I knew that going in but I just couldn't get over this issue while I was reading. This book made me uncomfortable as I am sure it made many other readers. I just couldn't get past this issue. This book made me sad more than anything.

I felt bad for Wavy. The things that she must have went through before this book starts just breaks my heart. She has so many issues at the beginning of the book and she will still be dealing with these issues for years to come. She doesn't want to be touched, she doesn't talk, and she will not eat in front of anyone. I really wish her grandmother would have been able to care for her for a longer time.

The people who should be taking care of Wavy simply don't do their jobs for the most part. Her mother lays in bed most days and her father is off dealing with his drug business. She takes care of her brother and herself. When Kellen crashes his motorcycle in front of Wavy's house, an unlikely friendship is formed. Kellen really did do a lot to take care of Wavy and her brother. I liked him a lot of first but when it crossed the line into a romantic relationship it just didn't work for me.

I was really excited to read this book because I knew it was different. I like different. I am open to reading about things that are not the social norm. I think my main hang up with this story is that Wavy was a child during most of it. This was a book that I found rather easy to set aside. Some sections seemed to hold my attention more than others but in the end it is a pretty forgettable story for me.

Initial Thoughts
I am a little disappointed that I didn't like this one more than I did. I liked it but I didn't love it. I am pretty sure that I went into this one with completely unrealistic expectations.
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