All the Ugly and Wonderful Things


by Bryn Greenwood
Published August 9th 2016


“Girl that age ought not to have so many troubles, but she did. Looking at it that way, them two was about made for each other.”

This one doesn’t have a fixed rating from me. It’s one of those books that you read and cannot decide where to place it. The writing was superb but the subject matter is a disturbing one and I love delving into taboo topics once in a while and this was just it for me. The synopsis had a Lolita vibe to it and so that made me get it but then after reading it I can honestly say it wasn’t what I expected at all.

In a nut shell, the story is mainly about Wavy who is raised in difficult circumstances. The father is a meth dealer and the mother is an addict. The burden of her small brother falls on her because she is the only one responsible enough at home to look after him at just eight years old. But then an unlikely ally comes her way through one of her father’s friends and ex-con, Kellen, when he wrecks his motorcycle and she helps him.

“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.”

The story spans through fifteen years and the author gives it form different perspectives from Wavy, Kellen, her cousins and grandmother among other people. This had an effective way of bringing out how people felt about her and her situation. It was mostly ugly. My heart broke for Wavy so many times throughout the book. Growing up with negligent parents like that cannot be easy on anyone. For some people things work out in the end but some are not so lucky. Let me state that Kellen is more than ten years older than Wavy and that was the disturbing thing that made me not want to get into the book.

“I liked to play at tragedy, but she drank it out of her baby bottle.”

When Kellen comes by Wavy’s path, he can clearly see that she has been neglected by her parents and so he becomes a friend to her. He tries to take care of her by making sure she eats and gets to school safely. He is a lonely guy and finds solace in her company and he can relate with her since his own father was abusive towards him. The love was purely between someone who was genuinely looking out for someone he cared for but the lines were bound to get blurred when Wavy got to the age where she wanted more from him and he did too.

“From Alpha Centauri, we were twin stars, side by side.”

I know what you are thinking right now. WHAT?!? WTF!?! To say such things don’t happen in our society is to admit ignorance. They do happen. And we are not talking about rape and what not, consensual due to maturing too fast. It happens. Is it right? That’s where the question lies. This was a girl who made sure her small brother was fed and bathed when she was just eight years old. She made dinner at that age and made the grocery list, of course she wouldn’t come out the same as the other girls her age. The circumstance shaped her in a different way.

“That night I first saw you, I was going too fast. There I was rubbernecking at you and dumped the bike. Wrecked me up. I don’t want to wreck us up like that. I don’t want you to get hurt.”

I cannot give away anything else from the book but I will urge those who can venture into taboo reads to pick this one up. Its twisted but also thought provoking.


Get it here:


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