All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood 1


“I wanted a fairy tale ending for Wavy, because if she could find happiness, there would be hope for me, too.”

Some scars from childhood can never completely fade away. Neglect can hurt children more than abuse in some ways because the lack of love changes their souls. Wavy is a beautiful child with almost white blond hair born to a drug-dealing father and drug-taking paranoid mother. She learns early how to take care of herself and her little brother. Can anything or anyone save them?

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things was the choice for the March book club I belong to with some other local moms. The synopsis really doesn’t give many details as to how deep and graphic the story gets. All of us who read it agreed that it was a tough read, not just because it was graphic, but also because the story is reality for some in this world.

Wavy’s father is often absent or living with one of his girlfriends. Wavy’s mother is either dressed to impress or sleeping off the drugs she took. She also has OCD about germs and has given Wavy a complex about what she eats and touches. (Her tongue has been washed with bleach on more than one occasion because she ate something her mother thought was dirty.) Wavy finds a man wiped from his motorcycle out on the road one night and offers to call someone to help him. It turns out the man knows her father and has started doing some “work” for him. The man, Kellen, notices the conditions Wavy and her brother live in and he starts coming by often to take care of them. He gets involved to the point that her teachers think he is her father since he drops her off at school. A family is built around their relationship. However, as time goes and Wavy gets older, the connection between Kellen and her deepen and leads to trouble for them all. Is it right? Is it wrong? Or is it just what it is?

This book is for adults who can read about a realistic abusive and tough situation. Kellen and Wavy’s relationship develops while she is still underage and he is in his early 20s. Despite the graphic nature of some of the writing, the characters are entirely believable and I enjoyed that aspect of the book. The author herself grew up in a family affected by drug abuse. It is a story that will stay with you. Due to how deep the book gets, it would be a good book club book so that you would have people to discuss it with.

Please report any abuse or neglect of children if you suspect it – you could save a child’s life.

Buy the book here (affiliate link).

About Sarah Anne Carter

Sarah Anne Carter is a writer and reader. She grew up all over the world as a military brat and is now putting down roots with her family in Ohio. Family life keeps her busy, but any spare moment is spent reading, writing or thinking about plots for novels.