I received a copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for a review. If it sucked I'd tell you because I'm a jerk like that, fortunately this one didn't!
I am always complaining that I feel nothing about oh-so-many books. The characters are blah, the story just doesn’t grab me, I am dead inside, blah, blah, blah. I know I sound like a broken record most of the time but this book here? This book here is a genuine 5 star read. I know. I can hardly believe it myself.
I didn’t want to write this review because, as many before me have already said, this book is not for everyone. People are going to go nuts about the controversial story line and probably unfriend me and yell all over me but it made me feel all kinds of emotions and I could not put it down and, for me, that’s what makes a five star read. So I’m writing this review and I’m sticking with my five star rating.
If you don’t already know, this book spans many years and is about a friendship between a fragile little eight year old girl named Wavy and a 20 something man called Kellen. Wavy is so emotionally screwed up from her messed up parents that she doesn’t talk or eat in front of people. She’s faced neglect, seen too much of the ugly side of life and has been forced to grow up way too fast. Dad runs a meth lab, screws a string of floozies and mom is a drug-addled, germ phobic mess. Wavy is the only one capable of caring for her baby brother. You don’t have to imagine the horrors Wavy has seen because the author clearly paints them all for you. One day Wavy meets Kellen, a big, tattooed bear of a man who showers her with attention, friendship and is the first person to actually care for her well-being and that of her brother. He brings her food and shoes and delivers her safely to and from school every day for years. They become the best of friends and as the years pass their friendship grows into a bond that many will find disturbing. I’m going to leave it at that. You will either hate the book on principle or you won’t. Just don’t blame me if you read it and feel like this throughout most of it.
I found it to be raw, unflinching, sweet, painful, heartbreaking, cringe-worthy, uncomfortable and completely unforgettable. Yep, this one deserves all the adjectives. It’s the kind of book that isn’t afraid to delve into the deepest, darkest corners of a little girl’s hellish world and put it all out there. The ugly and the wonderful, as the title says. It’ll grab you emotionally, twist your insides all the hell up and might never let go. I’ll know never forget it and that's saying something because I can't remember a damned thing.
"That was what I wanted for as long as she was looking at me, but when she looked past me, what I wanted more than anything was for her to look at me again. Most people look at you like nothing, but the way she looked at me … it was like we were in the meadow again. Like I was important. People don’t usually look at me like that."