5 STAR REVIEW!
Standalone – Raw and emotional forbidden and disturbing love story.
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Reviewed by Gitte & Jenny
This is one of the most difficult books to review- in our experience as reviewers. We have sat for hours discussing All the Ugly and Wonderful Things- the incredible beauty of the writing, the bravery of its Author, Bryn Greenwood and our extreme discomfort at the story line. There is no question in our opinion – at all – that this Author is in a league of her own. Her talent, her intelligence, her command of the written word is outstanding and unique. To write an epic love story – which in essence it was – of this nature is beyond the realm of comprehension but not beyond the realm of reality. Perhaps that is why the discomfort is so grand, yet the understanding a real possibility?
‘I felt like I’d been kicked in the stomach. Not like she’d kicked me, but like life had. Kicked her, too, while it was at it.’
We rarely come across as many points of views as we did in this story, however, each added an insightful, visual and important emotional aspect. Each had a place in this story whether it was to feel for the characters or to feel emotionally removed, as a bystander with an unbiased view would. The extreme mixed with the almost basic. It was so important, and this Author cleverly gave that to us. As an outsider you see more when the intense emotion is removed.
“It’s not what it looks like. I’m not that kinda guy.”
We’re going to be completely honest with you and say this story is very hard to read. Very. Especially as a Mum, Sister, Aunt or Grandmother. As a Father or a Brother. You have an innate instinct as a protector and nurturer. You know what is right – you know what is wrong. You see in black – you see in white. You base this on what is morally and ethically right. The vast majority of us would have an issue with this storyline based on just that. We’re not going to lie and say “oh we think it is okay, they loved each other.”- No. We will say though, that this is one of the most brilliantly compelling books we’ve ever read. Contradiction. Yes. Because it is. It truly is one of the most enthralling, intelligent, horrifying epic love stories we’ve ever read. You can’t deny the words or the facts of the story. However, you can deny the rightness of them- the morality of it when all the words have been read.
‘She was going to make me promise something and I didn’t even know what I was supposed to promise.’
We could not put this book down- it was utterly gripping and we hated having to look away despite at times wanting too. See no evil – hear no evil – speak no evil. Whilst never graphic and purely emotionally driven each word spoke a thousand in its place- so we saw, we felt and we lived this story. It grabbed us by our hearts and demanded to be felt and understood, as it provoked us with its hard to grasp and almost evil abusive ways. Souls are bared open for all to see, judge and punish. However, there is so much that is broken, dark, terrifying and tragic for a little girl punished and conditioned to believe she’s worthless and who lives in the dark and dirty. So when this little girl is suddenly given the light, the helping hand and the comfort where would this this girl turn? Where should she turn when this is the only thing in her life that makes it bearable and liveable? How can she be judged for finally feeling safe and loved?
‘I wanted a fairy tale ending for Wavy, because if she could find happiness, there would be hope for me, too.’
A friend. A protector. Love is interpreted in many ways and whilst we wholeheartedly and honestly felt uncomfortable, heartbroken and later disgusted with someone whom for all intents and purposes should have known better, who did know better – until pushed in his face – we did understand to a certain degree and we surprisingly felt like we could take a breath at the end. An important story to be read, a compelling piece of fiction and a naked eye at a sad and horrific reality for many.
‘Wavy made her way as best she could, found ways to fit in on her terms.’
There’s an incredible amount of messages of importance weaved into this story. It is vital to behold each. Read between these significant lines and not only find and see yourself, see your neighbour, your friend and your family but really – see yourself. So much can be taken away, especially the thought provoking and the hard to grasp. Not all of you will pick this book up, not all of you will finish. We understand. But if you do. If you do indeed pick it up and finish it, prepare to be blown away by Bryn Greenwood. Prepare to have every one of your senses called upon. Prepare to become so deeply affected, outraged and horrified. But mostly and most importantly be prepared for – when all is said and done, all denied and rejected – be prepared for an honesty of the heart epic love story on a level that’s hard to comprehend. Hard to comprehend when you see in black – see in white, believe what’s right – believe what’s wrong……
‘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 travelled on…..That was how I felt….I was moving forward into space, but I would never come home again.’