All the Ugly and Wonderful Things is a novel I find difficult to comment about and that leaves conflicting emotions.
There is a girl, Wavy, and her bad family: the father produces and sells meth and the mother suffers from depression and clean mania. The traumatic childhood brought Wavy not to trust anyone (most of all her parents), not to talk to anyone, not to be touched by anyone and not to eat with other people in the room.
There is Kellen, a twenty year old thug working for Wavy’s father and who Wavy meets one night. And Wavy finds in Kellen e reference point – he brings her to school, helps her and her little brother Donal – until she falls in love with him, but she is a little girl and also Kellen grows fond of her.
The novel is constructed on various point of views, and among them Wavy’s, and cover a time span of about 15 years, since Wavy is 6 till she is 21. When Wavy is 14 years old, she and Kellen would like to marry, but a dramatic event changes their plans and the girl is sent to her aunt.
The novel conflicting feature are the sensation that transmits to the reader: Kellen falls in love with a child, but he is not a pedophile, instead he is the only one to provide balance in Wavy’s life, but this attachment with Wavy-girl is quite hard to accept; despite the fact that it is moderated by the fact that Wavy’s family is quite awful, from her parents to her aunt, who is unable to understand the girl’s perspective and actually help her.
Reading other reviews I found a phrase that summarize this feeling: during the whole book you hope Kellen and Wavy to be happy together, and then you don’t.
Everything considered, I think the novel is an interesting one, and that it is able to make us think about some issues (and maybe we well contradict our own values), and I liked reading it. Concerning te narrative style it is well done, the POV alternation contributes in building the setting and in developing the characters; the plot is engaging, maybe a little bit slow in the middle part.
However it’s a book difficult to suggest: it’s nice but not everyone will like it, because of the controversial love story.
Thanks to the publisher for providing me the copy necessary to write this review.
* All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood ★★★★☆
*I read this book in english