Book Review: All the Ugly and Wonderful Things


All the Ugly and Wonderful Things

Brynn Greenwood

Thomas Dunne Books

352 pages

This was touted as a “meth lab romance” when it was chosen as an August BOTM pick, and that’s really what drew me in–

Wavy is a young girl living with two abusive, good for nothing, drug addicted parents. She is often neglected and left to her own devices, and is befriended by an adult man Kellen, who works as a drug runner for Wavy’s father.

Wavy is very introverted, to the point where she doesn’t even talk. She is obviously a very intelligent girl, but people don’t know what to make of her. Over the years, as Kellen becomes her rock and the one person she knows she can rely on, Wavy slowly emerges from herself and finds her footing in the world.

Meanwhile, you still have the very seedy setting of a trailer compound where everyone fawns over Wavy’s father. No one seems at all fazed that Kellen is spending such an inordinate amount of time with a minor child, driving her around on his motorcycle and showing up at her house at all hours. It sounds creepy as hell I’m sure, and yet I found myself rooting for Wavy and Kellen.

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things spans over ten years, starting when Wavy was 8. {SPOILERS} And as time wore on and Wavy’s relationship with Kellen turned sexual, it almost seemed natural. And their relationship certainly didn’t feel sinister or wrong. And I began to wonder wtf was wrong with me that I wasn’t totally disgusted by their relationship.

I read some other reviews and chatter about this book as I finished it because I wanted to know whether I was alone in my feelings or not and I was relieved to see that I wasn’t. That was part of the reason I loved this book. It was one of those books that turned all my preconceived notions on their head and made me question how I truly felt. And it showed me that maybe everything isn’t as black and white as it appears. And I am still uncomfortable with how I feel.

I have to give a huge shout out to Book of the Month Club. I absolutely never would have chosen this book on my own. When it showed up as an August selection, I dismissed it straight off. And then I did a little digging, read some good reviews, went back and read the description multiple times, and ultimately decided to give it a shot. If you haven’t checked out BOTM yet, it is one of my favorite things ever. Check it out here.

If you’ve read All the Ugly and Wonderful Things, please share what your thoughts are!


2 Responses

  1. I am getting ready to read this one, and I’m eager to see how I feel about how it unfolds. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Lola this book sounds great, your review makes me want to read it.

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