Saturday 13 August 2016

Review & Giveaway ~ All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

Book Description:

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.

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Our Review:

Reviewed by Donna ~ 5 stars
***ARC received for an honest review***

“It’s not what it looks like. I’m not that kinda guy.”

There is something about the unconventional, the controversial, the forbidden, the rule breaker and the taboo that often becomes one of the best books you have read. They push your boundaries, they test your comfort zone, they make you cringe, you know you shouldn’t love it…yet you do. Does that mean that you condone what you read? No…but it makes you think outside of the box, it makes you empathetic towards what you read when you should only feel disgust, but sometimes the situations people find themselves in are unique and you have to look at the bigger picture, even though it is wrong, sometimes you have to accept that wrong sometimes maybe a little right…

“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 over the past two thousand years.”

As a mum your first instinct is to protect and nurture, your children are your flesh and blood, they are your life, your everything…but what happens when a child has nothing? No-one to love, no-one to care, no-one to protect them?  Put this situation back in the 1970’s and the world was definitely a different place, drugs were rife, a leftover from the 60’s, love was given freely and people’s morals were skewed and twisted. I’m by no means trying to justify the outcome, but that is the beauty of this book…it makes you think. I finished this book yesterday and I have thought about nothing else since. I have slept on it, dreamt about it, I have many thoughts and opinions swishing around in my mind but they are like a twisted vortex, constantly spinning and spinning and I have yet to get myself out of it. This book, THIS BOOK will make you think, it will push so many sensitive buttons, so many buttons you wish had never been pressed, but buttons that needed to be pushed to put you in Wavy’s world and even though I should have been disgusted, and at times I was, for some reason that I still can’t fathom I have to admit that, for Wavy, it was right.

“I love you all the way.”

I still can’t get my head around it…how can this author make me feel this way? Because she was a genius, she presented one of THE most EPIC love stories, a love born from nothing but tragedy and a truly crap load of tragic circumstances. But and this is a HUGE but, this was definitely a love story and one that I certainly will never, ever forget and one that I will definitely be reading about again. Yes, it was hard to read. Yes, I had to take many a breather. Yes, my boundaries were well and truly pushed, but when the chips were down I found myself championing them for a happy ever after. After everything they had been through, they at least deserved that. I shouldn’t have wanted that, I should have wanted a totally different outcome, but this author has such an amazing talent that she makes you want the unconventional.

“…but the fact is, he loved that girl. He treated her good, took care of her, made sure she went to school. He looked out for her when nobody else did.”

I shed so many tears reading this book, every single emotion was pulled out of me like a fishmonger gutting a fish. Bryn Greenwood cut me deep with words, with situations, with emotions and it really hurt. Anger, hate, love, horror, empathy, sympathy are emotions that are prevalent throughout this book. This book was totally compelling, unputdownable, it was akin to a car crash but such are the talents of Bryn Greenwood that she totally submerges you in a world that is so foreign, so incomprehensible that you live and breathe a life you will never ever experience, yet by the end you totally feel like you have. This quote sums up just how I felt…

“You can look up keening in the dictionary, but you don’t know what it means until you hear somebody having their heart ripped out.”

I have kept this review deliberately vague, this is definitely a book you need to go in blind, to not be put off by what other people say, other people’s opinions. You need to make your own. I went in totally blind, I didn’t even read the synopsis. The title spoke to me enough to read this book, the world is full of Ugly and Wonderful things but do you really appreciate just how ugly it is for some people?

“I thought then of Voyager 1 and 2, so far away. They were launched the same year I met Kellen, and now they had reached the end of our solar system. Although their programs were being powered down one by one, they traveled on…that was how I felt, as I walked down the driveway to my car. I was moving forward into space, but I would never come home again.”

Bryn Greenwood, I have nothing but praise for you. THIS book is going down as one of my favourite all time reads. The writing was superb, layers upon layers of soul searching, gut punching prose that was totally captivating from start to finish. Thought provoking, compelling, honest, conflicting and so emotional. Something that you know is wrong, so wrong…yet somehow black and white become grey. Life is full of grey areas…is this one of them? Only you can decide, it is your soul to search, your heart to breach, your emotions, your thoughts and opinions. I’m in limbo still, my heart tells me one thing, my heart another. I’m currently Stretch Armstrong being pulled both ways…which way will you be pulled?



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