1 November 2016

Review #546: All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“The greater a child’s terror, and the earlier it is experienced, the harder it becomes to develop a strong and healthy sense of self.”

----Nathaniel Branden

Bryn Greenwood, an American author, pens a heart wrenching and sad tale about abuse and love in her new book, All the Ugly and Wonderful Things that is centered around a forbidden love story between an adult man and a very young female girl, both being the victims of social, mental, emotional and physical abuse from their own families, so when they meet, there is an instant connection between them that forbids the readers of the book to feel disgusted towards such a unnatural relationship. Although it is so much more than just a love story.


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.

When you think that an adult man is consensually getting involved sexually as well as emotionally with a little girl, you compare that relationship as "Lolita" but Greenwood's story, where a "Lolita" kind of relationship is depicted, is nowhere close to that disgusting or forbidden feeling that you get when you think about an adult man and a little girl sexually. This is the kind of story which is dark throughout and forbidden to the last layer of its outer crust yet it is exceptionally enlightening and though provoking without being too emotional or nostalgic. the author has successfully delivered an underlying message by crafting out this hardcore raw and honest story about abuse and its effects through the stories of two individual souls be it old or mature or young. And the story will hit its readers like a painful bee sting but ultimately that sting is necessary to bring light to those subjects which are often discussed in a hushed voice.

The author's writing style is fantastic and eloquent, well textured with so many layers that are gradually unraveled with the medium pace of the story line. The narrative is not at an emotional or does not beg for readers' empathy towards the characters' plight, instead the dialogues make the characters look strong and confident even in the face of pain. Without being evocative, the story will encourage the readers to keep reading this hurtful love story till the very last page. The readers will be left anticipating about the climax and that's what will keep the readers glued till the very end. The prose is so striking that it will raise faith among the hearts of its readers.

The characters are so excellent that they escape beyond the highest level of appreciation, words will fall short to describe about the distinct characters that the author strikingly crafted out. There are so many voices that narrate the life story of Wavy through a span of almost fifteen years right from the childhood to her adulthood. The central character, Wavy, is an exceptional character, who walks far beyond the common reality that surrounds the readers. Her demeanor is though mysterious yet it will bring a sense of calm into the minds of the readers while reading about her ordeal with life. She suffers and experiences a lot of abuse through out her childhood from a substance abused mother to a physically abusive father who loves to infidel away his marital bed. When her mother is sent to prison, she becomes the sole guardian to her baby brother and is sent away to live with an aunt, where she meets and falls for another broken and mature soul like hers, Kellen who is another intriguing character, who will teach a lot of sense to the men of today's world who looks at little girls in a lecherous manner. He is gentle yet compassionate enough to strengthen the bond of simple friendship into love with Wavy and gradually their relationship progresses and this is where the author makes her readers feel good about such a forbidden relationship.

In a nutshell, this is a must read for all those who are chained to a narrow minded society and also for each and every victims of abuse as the author vividly captures the mentality and the pain of such abused victims. Even though the story is not at all sentimental, yet the story will manage to make the readers shed a tear or two for the central character, Wavy.

Verdict: Will leave the readers intrigued and filled with compassion to their very core.

Courtesy: Thanks to the author's publishers for giving me an opportunity to read and review this book.

Author Info:
BRYN GREENWOOD is a fourth-generation Kansan and the daughter of a mostly reformed drug dealer. She is the author of the novels All the Ugly and Wonderful Things, Last Will, and Lie Lay Lain. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas.
Visit her here

Book Purchase Links:


Post a Comment

Thanks for your feedback!