All the Ugly and Wonderful Things Review + Interview

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

About All the Ugly and Wonderful Things:

As the daughter of a drug dealer, Wavy knows not to trust people, not even her own parents. It’s safer to keep her mouth shut and stay out of sight. Struggling to raise her little brother, Donal, eight-year-old Wavy is the only responsible adult around. Obsessed with the constellations, she finds peace in the starry night sky above the fields behind her house, until one night her star gazing causes an accident. After witnessing his motorcycle wreck, she forms an unusual friendship with one of her father’s thugs, Kellen, a tattooed ex-con with a heart of gold.

By the time Wavy is a teenager, her relationship with Kellen is the only tender thing in a brutal world of addicts and debauchery. When tragedy rips Wavy’s family apart, a well-meaning aunt steps in, and what is beautiful to Wavy looks ugly under the scrutiny of the outside world. Kellen may not be innocent, but he is the fixed point in Wavy and Donal’s chaotic universe. Instead of playing it safe, Wavy has to learn to fight for Kellen, for her brother, and for herself.

My Review:

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood is a book that was very challenging for me to read due to the content. The title is nothing short of absolute perfection in describing the book. I went into the book completely blind and didn’t read much about it besides liking a few reviews. I had no idea what was in store. Continue reading “All the Ugly and Wonderful Things Review + Interview”

Hansel & Gretel by Neil Gaiman and other Versions…

Hansel and Gretel was originally published in 1812 by the Grimm brothers. It’s a story of German origin. Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm heard the tale “Hansel and Gretel” from Wilhelm’s friend at the time, Dortchen Wild. Wilhelm later married her and she became Mrs. Grimm.

It’s possible that this fairy tale originated in medieval times when the Great Famine caused people to abandon children in the woods due to lack of food.

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Arthur Rackham’s illustration of Hansel & Gretel from 1909.

Hansel & Gretel is one of my personal favorite fairy tales from childhood. I was so fascinated with the story as a child. I used to have a copy of the Disney book that contained a record I could listen to on my record player. I can still remember sitting in my room and reading along with the story. This version was from Disney and came out in 1967.

Here’s a picture of the one I had a child.

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Here’s my review for this edition:

This is a little book and record that I must have listened to a thousand times when I was little. I can still remember listening to this on my little record player. Side one of the record is the story and side two contains three songs from the opera Hansel and Gretel by Engelbert Humperdinck.

I love the illustrations in this version and I’m amazed how clear the record sounds. As soon as it started it evoked nostalgia within me that I haven’t felt for some time. I recently purchased it for my collection for my family to enjoy. It’s perfect for children to follow and it does have the page turn signal.

If you’re a Hansel and Gretel fan, pick this up online. You won’t be disappointed.

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Continue reading “Hansel & Gretel by Neil Gaiman and other Versions…”

Just Around the Bend by Renée Paule – Updated

My Review:

22885929.jpgJust Around the Bend by Renée Paule is a book about letting go of the past and living in the now.

I was forewarned ahead of time that Renée Paule’s books make you feel like you’re looking into a mirror. As I continued reading, this became a reality to me and I was pulled into the book and couldn’t put it down. There were many “Aha” moments for me. I also felt a direct connection to some of the author’s experiences and feel I’ve made many mistakes because this is something I haven’t truly gotten over and accepted. It’s amazing these pent up emotions we hold on to inside and don’t even realize it.

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A gif made by Renee Paule

What I loved especially about the book was that the author speaks as if this is something
we are experiencing together by using the word “we.” It’s not like someone telling you what you’re doing wrong, but more of an observation on how we as humans handle our emotions and how we should realize that we’re the ones in control. We’re on a journey together. What are we feeling, why, and how are we supposed to react? This book won’t give you answers or instructions like a self-help book on how you can fix yourself, but will give you the insight and awareness needed to guide you in the right direction to stop this cycle of thinking and behavior.

Here’s something long forgotten by many people in this world-humanity is a team. Whether we like it or not, we work together. On the section titled, “Independence” the author discusses this fact. I recently heard a radio broadcast on NPR regarding the lack of compassion that people have for one another. This is a huge issue, isn’t it? There could be a massive fight going on with someone getting beaten badly somewhere and rather than call 911, people are getting on their cell phones and recording it so they can upload it to YouTube later when they get home, or post it on Facebook. This is horrible. When we start separating ourselves from each other, problems arise. When we stop thinking about humanity and lose compassion for others, we go backwards.

In the section “Humanity is One” the author discusses humans and how we’re wonderfully made. One of my favorite quotes from this section,“The world has many problems and many unhappy people living in it, but we don’t have to be that way to. No matter how miserable we feel we ought to become or how guilty we feel about being happy whilst others are suffering, we won’t make the world a better place to live in. We can only make the world happier by being happier in it; every move counts and the more people make them, the better.-Renée Paule

“We’re humanity and no matter how individual or superior we think we are, we’re part of a greater whole. We can’t find completeness somewhere else any more than an individual part of a one-thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle can. We all belong together and we always will. When we hurt each other what we’re really doing is hurting ourself and damaging the world in which we all must live.” -Renée Paule

“Imagine living in a world where we no longer believe that war can lead to peace. War can’t lead to peace anymore than ignorance can lead to knowledge. War leads to premature death, pain, suffering, hatred, fear and more separation.” -Renée Paule

My favorite sections included: A Bit of a Rant, Completeness, Independence, What If and Other Worries, and Attachment. The simple (Dilly) illustrations make very powerful statements alone.

I think everyone could take something from this book and hope more will read it. It’s not a self-help book at all, so please don’t be afraid to read it if you’re one of those people afraid of those types of books. This isn’t it. This is the author’s journey and at the same time a call to humanity.

Continue reading “Just Around the Bend by Renée Paule – Updated”