Book Reviews

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things

Author: Bryn Greenwood
Published Date: August 2016
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Pages: 346
Stars: 4

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.

This book is interesting – in that it’s a love story involving a NOT socially acceptable situation, but yet you find yourself rooting for this couple. We meet Wavy when she’s 8 years old, trying to navigate life with a drug dealer father and mentally imbalanced mother. She’s smitten with Kellen, the 24 year old who sometimes makes drug runs for her father.

I loved the contrast between Wavy’s lifestyle and her cousin Amy’s, who comes from a 2 parent middle class background. You get so immersed in Wavy’s lifestyle that it’s a shock when we experience Amy’s life, where her and her sister have “matching rooms, right out of the JCPenney catalog. Wavy with her black leather boots didn’t fit in the catalog.”

All the characters are so interesting and the story so richly drawn, that I could so clearly visualize all of it. It won for Best Book of 2016 among Book of the Month club readers which is why I picked it up, and I’m glad I did!