Contemporary Literature · Romance

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things

This is my very first post. So I figure the best thing to do is start with, hands down, my favorite book that I’ve read in years (and if you know me at all, you know that I usually list at least 5 titles when asked what my favorite book is, so this is big). Usually when I give book recommendations I get a little nervous – even if I liked it a lot, I get antsy. I worry that even though I thought the book was amazing, maybe that person won’t like it as much. Maybe they’ll be annoyed that I gave a bad rec. Or their opinion will make me question what I thought of the book. I assume it’s a weird protective or book self-preservation thing, but I’m on edge til I hear back about what they thought. In my defense, no one has ever straight up hated something I’ve recommended, but that doesn’t stop my imagination. Regardless, I’m going to save myself all that turmoil on this first post and hit everyone with this absolutely infallible rec:

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwoodimg_5351

Here’s what I wrote on Goodreads immediately after finishing: “This books hits hard. Over and over. It’s hooks are so far in that I don’t think I’ll ever get them out…or if I even should. I cried so many times reading this, for so many reasons, and I don’t think I could name them all even if I wanted to. It really was a story about all the ugly and all the wonderful things. Heartrending and hopeful in turns, and at the same time. I literally could not put it down, even through the tears. This is a book of perspectives, of not jumping to conclusions, of respecting each person’s experiences as their own and no one else’s, of growing through the pain, of fighting for love, of the power of love, of the many forms of love. Wavy, Kellen, Brenda, Amy and Donal are going to be with me a long time. This might be the vaguest review I’ve ever written, but I feel like to say any more would be to take away the power of the author’s own words, of how she is able to grow you into the person you need to be to accept each part of this story as it comes at you, to make such a realistic portrayal of so, so many different perspectives, so that you really feel like you understand them all, even if you don’t want to, or think you should, or wish things were different. It’s left me mostly speechless, in turmoil, an emotionally spent ball. I love this book all the way. You should go read this, now.”

I said it then and I’ll say it now – it’s the vaguest review I’ve ever written. And, looking at it now, one of the shortest. But don’t let that throw you off. I didn’t write so little because there wasn’t much worth saying. I wrote that little because I literally didn’t have the vocabulary to express how deeply this books hits. Still don’t. Calling how I felt after this book was done a “book hangover” is like calling Harry Potter “a kid’s series about a wizard and his friends” – Not. Even. Close. To. Enough. And honestly, I cannot think of a single person who shouldn’t read this. This story is so raw, so human, so striking.

But be warned: have something on hand for recovery, like a whole box of tissues, one of those giant chocolate bars, a pillow to cuddle, and maybe something to help you sleep (cause I can tell you, your mind will not be able to let go).

**If you are interested in buying the book, try to support a local/indy bookstore at the same time! Here’s a link to one of my favorites, Flyleaf Books, where you can purchase online and have it shipped. Or, find one close to you instead – going in person is always more fun!**



4 thoughts on “All the Ugly and Wonderful Things

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