Audiobook Review: All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

Narrator: Jorjeana Marie
All the Ugly and Wonderful Things Book Cover All the Ugly and Wonderful Things
Bryn Greenwood
Fiction, Adult, Dark Romance
Thomas Dunne Books
August 9th, 2016
audibook; e-book

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 was a vivid, powerful and poignant chronicle of children living within a drug dealing and abusing environment. I wasn’t prepared for how listening to this audiobook would affected me emotionally. The absolute strength of will the characters had to survive was incredible. To reduce this book to just sheer age difference is a complete disservice to the story, the author’s writing and characters. Bryn Greenwood weaved this plot showcased several points of view so the reader can get a glimpse into the character’s lives but in the character’s voice.

Normally, it is disturbing to entertain the idea of a romantic relationship between a 13yr old girl and a 25-year-old man. A fair amount of rationalizing occurred in my head such as “with Wavy’s upbringing, she is more like 16 and Kellan is more like 18” or “He’s the only one who really sees and accepts her just as she is”. From age 8, Kellen had been Wavy’s protector of sorts. It doesn’t surprise me that when Wavy turned thirteen, her relationship with Kellen began to changing to a more affectionate one.

I am not sure her mom or aunt explained to her about puberty, hormones, feelings, etc. It wasn’t hard because I was so focus on the fragmented people who were scrambling to find an anchor in their turbulent lives. I wouldn’t characterize this novel as a romantic novel, but it was a love story. A gripping account of abiding love. It also showed extended family or friends playing a supporting role wanting to help and protect. I understood Brenda’s actions. She wanted to do the right thing but somewhere she lost sight of what her goals had been. I wanted to know more about Sean. That’s the only thing I didn’t quite get answers to. The rest of the story was done exquisitely.

This wasn’t the kind of love story I normally read but I am glad that I gave it a chance. It was one of the best written stories I have listened to this year. It’s a fiction tale that will stay will the reader for quite a while. If you want a story where you will be drawn in and actually feel it, then run and grab this book.



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