on August 9, 2016
Buy on Amazon, Buy on Audible
Genres: Coming of Age, Family Life, Fiction, Romance
As the daughter of a drug dealer, Wavy knows not to trust people, not even her own parents. It's safer to keep her mouth shut and stay out of sight. Struggling to raise her little brother, Donal, eight-year-old Wavy is the only responsible adult around. Obsessed with the constellations, she finds peace in the starry night sky above the fields behind her house, until one night her star gazing causes an accident. After witnessing his motorcycle wreck, she forms an unusual friendship with one of her father's thugs, Kellen, a tattooed ex-con with a heart of gold.
By the time Wavy is a teenager, her relationship with Kellen is the only tender thing in a brutal world of addicts and debauchery. When tragedy rips Wavy's family apart, a well-meaning aunt steps in, and what is beautiful to Wavy looks ugly under the scrutiny of the outside world. Kellen may not be innocent, but he is the fixed point in Wavy and Donal's chaotic universe. Instead of playing it safe, Wavy has to learn to fight for Kellen, for her brother, and for herself.
Talk about an ugly and wonderful journey! This book was one that hit me square in the heart. I didn’t just read it, I lived it. It is a very rare instance that a novel comes along that has such a profound impact on me. It happens maybe once or twice per year at the most. I know this book was fiction but it felt so real.
All the Ugly and Wonderful Things tells the story of a girl named Wavy. It spans thirteen years of her life. It’s a slow-paced book, but it is not boring at all. The author’s writing is exceptional. The style in which she wrote the story is kind of perfect. It’s not just told from the main characters’ POV but also from many supporting characters’ POV. (Props to the audio narrator on distinguishing the many voices.) This allows the reader to see the story from all angles which is pretty genius if you think about it.
“Truth was she took care of him as much as he did her. There was a few times when he was younger that I thought to myself, One of these days, he ain’t gonna show up for work, ’cause he’ll be at home with a gun in his mouth. I had an uncle did that. Jesse Joe was a man with a deep streak of lonely, until Wavy came along.”
I think sometimes we forget that some (many) people have an extremely horrible childhood full of neglect, drug abuse, and things children should never experience. This book really brought that to the forefront. It deeply challenged me in what I view as right and wrong because real life is not black and white. Life is full of grays and every other color under the rainbow. This book also made me feel grateful for the childhood I had. It wasn’t perfect but there was always love. This book also made me want to hold my kids tighter and protect them always.
I’d like to challenge all my book friends and anyone reading this review to read ATUAWT. I dare you not to be moved by this story about all the ugly and wonderful things life has to offer.
“I wanted a fairy tale ending for Wavy, because if she could find happiness, there would be hope for me, too.”