All the Ugly and Wonderful Things
*This review is based on an advanced reading copy. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a chance to read the book in exchange for an honest review*
This is what I was looking for.
Rewind to last month when I was talking about Lolita and how I wanted more for the book, this is exactly what I was looking for and it was ugly and wonderful and made me so emotional I had to stop reading a few times, but it was so completely worth the heartache.
This is not an easy subject matter, and a lot of people may hate sympathizing with a sex offender but trust me: you want to read this.
The book is told in multiple POVs, which didn't bother me too much and had information from different characters that we needed. The main character is Wavonna (Wavy), an eight year old girl in the beginning that has two crazy meth dealers for parents that are always at each others' throats. Wavy is taught at an early age not to talk, especially to the police. What people may mistake as shyness is really Wavy being taught horrible things. She never eats in front of anyone because she was told by her mother that her mouth is dirty and was washed out with bleach too many times to count. She won't let anyone touch her. She also takes care of her infant brother when her mother can't be bothered to, which means all the time. Overall, her life is pretty messy... at least until Jesse Joe Kellen comes along.
Kellen/Barfoot Jr. is her father's mechanic who is often described as 'slow' and has caused some trouble in the past due to his size and aggression, but Kellen seems to be the only one who cares about Wavy's well-being. He enrolls and brings her to school everyday on his motorcycle and makes sure she eats, he even gets her to talk to him. As Wavy grows up, their relationship becomes more complicated. They love each other, but Kellen knows that it's wrong to have a physical relationship. This doesn't stop Wavy from trying, though.
So much goes wrong in the second half of the book that the reader craves for the constant in Wavy's life, which is Kellen. When they are separated and Kellen is taken away from her, Wavy will do anything to get him back and keep her family together.
This story is beautifully written and really makes you care about the characters, and even empathize with Kellen. You don't want them to be together because you know it's wrong, but Wavy needs Kellen and we hate anyone that tries to tear them apart. Great story, great lesson behind it. Five stars from me.