Review | All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood
Published by St. Martin’s Press on August 09, 2016
Genres: ContemporaryRomance
Pages: 346



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.



Well, true love exists. But sometimes, time is a bitch that tries to ruin it for you.

I needed to collect myself after this one. It totally owned me. And it kind of made me question everything –my feelings, my reaction, my judgments. I read books mostly for entertainment. Sometimes, I read to visit places I’ll never see. Other times, I read to live some people’s lives that have no resemblance to mine and this book was surprisingly good at giving me that. Gritty, unsettling, and daring, this book is something I wouldn’t normally read… and love, but here I am so eager to give this a five star.  

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.

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things follows the life of Wavy from age eight to twenty-one. With a drug dealer for a father, an abusive and negligent mother, and a baby brother to take care of, Wavy struggles to cope with the very unpleasant world she’s in. She’s quite tough for an eight year old but still my heart wanted to weep for her. Then she met Kellen, one of his father’s men, and in him she found someone to lean on.

Kellen on the other hand has his own rough history as a child. So he took care of Wavy when her parents couldn’t be bothered to check on her. Later they developed an unlikely connection with each other and so begins the story of their unconventional love.

With a very controversial subject matter, I agree that not everybody might like this book. It doesn’t shy away from making its readers uncomfortable. For me though, I loved it. I think it was flawlessly carried out. It’s not that I approve of everything that had happened but nothing in this book was simple black and white. Inch by inch, I slowly understood Kellen and Wavy as the story unfolds. Until all I see is genuine love between them and I couldn’t help but hope the best for them.

Not everyone falls in love in a conventional manner. Bryn Greenwood kind of gave us a glimpse of how society saw (and sometimes judge) this kind of relationship by making us see Wavy and Kellen through different perspectives, both from people who knew them personally and from people who are a complete stranger to them. Also she showed us how it is to be in that person’s shoe –the person who falls in love with someone and somehow knew that it was wrong. And that’s where the beauty of this book lies. It makes you see and makes you feel.

I think the title is most fitting because Greenwood made a unique and evocative story that shows all ugly and wonderful things in love, in people, and in society. The story has a lot of courage in it. It’s wonderfully told and Greenwood has this power to make her characters’ emotions become your own. So be ready.

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things was something I haven’t come across before. I was skeptical at first because I wasn’t sure if I’ll be able to tolerate the subject. But I’m glad I go into this book. This will probably stay with me for a long time, if not for life. It’s a masterpiece. If you’re looking for something unique, or if you want to go out of your comfort zone in reading, this might be for you.


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