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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.

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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review 2016-12-12 00:00
All the Ugly and Wonderful Things
All the Ugly and Wonderful Things - Bryn... All the Ugly and Wonderful Things - Bryn Greenwood 4.5 stars. It takes, I guess, intelligence and empathy to pull off a book like this.

This story is a departure from my usual reads, I rarely read contemporary fiction and I was forewarned it dealt with very serious themes which I cannot even apply the word “controversial” to, because it would imply the possibility of debate. Maybe that was the attraction, maybe that was the risk since I'm very judgemental when a book tackles disturbing subjects.

Point is, this novel had the potential to be a huge disappointment and instead it turned out very good. The writing and the alternating first and third person perspectives were spot on, so was the gradual unravelling of Wavy's behavior.
Let me get this straight: I devoured it. The story was sweet and painful and impossible to read detachedly, the events slowly brought me to sympathize with the main leads and I consciously let them.

I had some minor issues with the ending because it’s hard to make room for allowances, but my experience with this book was, at the same time, most fulfilling and emotionally draining.

I mostly liked high school. I liked learning things. How numbers worked together to explain the stars. How molecules made the world. All the ugly and wonderful things people had done in the last two thousand years.
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review 2016-12-08 00:00
All the Ugly and Wonderful Things
All the Ugly and Wonderful Things - Bryn... All the Ugly and Wonderful Things - Bryn Greenwood The most amazing and wonderful book EVER!
This book was so great I just don't know where to begin. Just read it! It's touching and beautiful and heartbreaking and horrible and sweet and wonderful and above all else it's absolutely real! Real life at it's rawest, real emotion and heartbreak and perseverance, real characters full of flaws that made them beautiful and so endearing because of, not in spite of their imperfections. Life is so imperfect and unconventional and this book is a perfect reflection of all the details that make life and love both ugly and wonderful. Praise be to the title (how appropriate) and praise be to the author with the most heartfelt congrats to the reader because this book was really that good and I feel lucky to have experienced it and better because of it. This is a book that I will remember. This is a book that affected me.
This book is a perfect example of why I read!!!
I cannot articulate a synopsis or review that will give this novel the justice it deserves, so I'm not going to try, but if you only read one book this month, this year, this lifetime, read "all the ugly and wonderful things." I finished this book in less than 24 hours but it will remain with me indefinitely.
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