Book Review: All The Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

Book Review_ All The Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood Feature Image

Have you ever been in a difficult situation where you wish you might have born at a different place in a different situation? Did you ever regret your decisions after a certain point of time? Well, I have come up with such a novel this time titled, ‘all the ugly and wonderful things by Bryn Greenwood’. This story shows how life can be hard at one point of time and so good at another. So, let’s dive into it to know more.

After reading this book, I was forced to re-evaluate my opinions and views. The antagonist and protagonist appear to have reversed places entirely in this book. Actually, I could write a whole book about this book! I finished this fantastic book in less than a week! Giving up nights of sleep to participate in this unusual story of love developing in an ugly environment was worth it.

All The Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood” is written in an intelligent style, with realistic details and first-person characters whose points of view change as the story progresses. Readers rush to flip the pages to the end because it is so engaging and intriguingIt was the oddest love story I’ve ever read, yet it was one of the most heartfelt and memorable.

Reading everything I’ve written above, you might have a lot of thoughts and questions about the book (if you haven’t read the book). Don’t worry. I don’t intend to leave you hanging with this curiosity of yours. Scroll down to read more!

All The Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood | Book Review

All The Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood book cover

About The Author | Bryn Greenwood

4th generation Kansan Bryn Greenwood is one of seven sisters and the offspring of a heroin trader who has primarily turned his life around. She is a Lawrence, Kansas, resident, and graduated from Kansas State University with an MA in Creative Writing.

The Reckless Oath We Made, All the Ugly and Wonderful Things, Last Will, and Lie Lay Lain are among her New York Times bestselling books.

Book Overview | All The Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

Full Title: All the Ugly and Wonderful Things

Author: Bryn Greenwood

Genre: Fiction

Publishing Date: 9th August 2016

Page Count: 432

Main Characters: Wavy, Kellen, Val, Liam, Amy, Jesse Joe Barfoot Jr., Donal, Brenda

Themes: Mental disease, conflict in families, child abuse, compassion, empathy, love

Point of View: The point of view of the book alternates among Quinn, Kellen, and a few side characters on an episodic basis, reflecting various facets of the protagonists’ conflicts through the inner monologues of people around them.


Wavy knows not to put her trust in anyone, not even her parents, since she is the daughter of a meth dealer. Eight-year-old Wavy, who is trying to raise her younger brother, is the sole accountable “adult” in the area where beautiful Midwestern night sky above the meadows behind her home gives her calm.

Everything changes one night when she sees Kellen, a tattooed ex-con with a good heart who is one of her father’s thugs, crashes his motorcycle. What happens next is an intense and startling love story between two unusual people that raises complex issues and serves as a reminder of all the positive and negative aspects that life has to offer.

Book Summary | All The Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

Wavy is a young woman who was never loved and now hears from her mother that she is filthy and disgusting. The story starts when Wavy is just five years old and has already suffered permanent harm from her physical and psychological abuse. She is mute, won’t let anyone approach her, and cannot eat in public due to physical limitations.

Wavy naturally distrusts grownups, as one might anticipate, at least until she meets Kellen who is an exception, despite being a con artist and being called a “fat slob.”

He penetrates Wavy’s defenses and establish a connection with her in a way that her younger brother and grandmother, the other two crucial figures in her life, were unable to. She, a lonely girl, meets a lonely boy, but the story is completely turned around because of their enormous age difference. When Wavy is just eight years old, she meets Kellen who is 24.

Although Kellen represents safety and belonging to Wavy, concepts that were entirely foreign to both before their meeting, it is a distance that appears morally unbridgeable. In the middle of their terrible reality, their friendship is a way for them to find solace and identity for themselves.

However, Wavy and Kellen could not be more dissimilar in terms of looks: the text repeatedly highlights Wavy’s waif-like appearance in contrast to Kellen’s enormous bulk and beer belly. The relationship between Wavy and Kellen is complicated, filled with emotional issues, and tainted by their upbringing. It is hardly a fairy tale romance.

My Takeaway from the Book

All The Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood book

This book has redefined love. It is poetic and contentious. I have a lot of questions concerning social norms after reading this book. It forced me to confront a dilemma where I had to decide between morality and happiness.

In the end, I understood that it depends on the situation. We can’t judge anyone until we’ve been in their shoes, and that was my takeaway from this book, as this is something people usually do these days.

Two situations drove this approach of mine. One by the characters in the book and the other by the author herself because I have not been in any nearly similar situation as any of them, so deriving conclusions on my own wouldn’t be fair to the book as well as the author as she has included parts of her self into that book.

Initially, I was skeptical about the love story between the two solely because of the considerable age gap and the way their love unfolded, but, as I mentioned in the previous section as well, we can never judge anyone unless we’ve been in any similar sort of situation like them.

Overall, this book is good. Sometimes, I felt like the plot was going hastily, but I don’t think it ruined the story even by a bit. Though controversial, I’m glad I’ve read this book.

My Ratings For All The Ugly And Wonderful Things

I think this book deserves a rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars.

Final Words

This book is indeed challenging to read. It is incredibly dark and doesn’t hold back but love also exists at its core. Love that most likely leaves you with uneasy mixed emotions, but that’s what an engaging book does. It keeps you thinking and rethinking the events that occurred. That’s precisely what this book does as well. You must read this book for sure!

Don’t forget to checkout some of the mentioned books below:

1 thought on “Book Review: All The Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood”

  1. Pingback: What Americans Read the Most? Surprising Answer

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top