Let’s just be honest. I was both delighted and disturbed. The silent strength and quiet resilience of both Wavy & Kellen won’t soon leave me. Read with caution! Strong language, sexual references, drug use, child abuse and a very unlikely friendship turned relationship will have you most likely delighted and disturbed as well.
As a reader it’s easy to get caught up in the tragedy of young Wavy’s life. She’s forced to grow up too soon and much too fast so that she can take care of herself and younger brother. But there’s only so much an 8 year old can do. Along comes Kellen. He takes care of her and slowly Kellen becomes much more to young Wavy aside from the caretakers her parents consciously throughout the narration choose not to be. In return Wavy fills a lonely void in Kellen’s life; that void where he fantasizes about putting the gun in his mouth, pulling the trigger and painting the ceiling with his brains. Yes, it’s that graphic. More than a caretaker, Kellen is Wavy’s friend, and that friendship grows into something more. It’s like you’re reading it, forgetting how old she is but remembering how old she is at the same time!!! Does that make sense? As an adult survivor of child sexual abuse, I could literally feel the shift as the dynamics of Wavy’s and Kellen’s friendship deepened. The invisible line drawn in the sand was constantly being tested and realigned. My feelings were all over the place as each voice gave their side of the story. The title of the book couldn’t have been more appropriate either! All the ‘ugly’ and ‘wonderful’ things. Life and love and loss can most certainly be both ugly and wonderful.
Please, please, please, rather you loved or loathed the book, these bonus/deleted scenes penned & blogged by the author are certainly worth the read. Chicago, Part 2 is my favorite alternate ending of all. You’re welcome. https://mailchi.mp/f6a0a4f7f8b3/atuawt_alternate_reality