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All the Ugly and Wonderful Things
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In the author's note she says she's "asking readers to suspend their everyday perceptions of morality and sympathize with flawed characters." Do you think she succeeded?

Created: 09/10/17

Replies: 37

Posted Sep. 10, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

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In the author's note, she says she's 'asking readers to suspend their everyday perceptions of morality and sympathize with flawed characters.' Do you think she succeeded?

In the author's note she says she's "asking readers to suspend their everyday perceptions of morality and sympathize with flawed characters." Do you think she succeeded?


Posted Sep. 30, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
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bestmartin

Join Date: 02/20/13

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In the author's note, she says she's 'asking readers to suspend their everyday perceptions of morality and sympathize with flawed characters.' Do you think she succeeded?

Yes!!! I think it was a very brave undertaking. Throughout the book I was saying: "no , no. Please don't go there." By the end I felt so aligned with their getting together. I think the whole way the author handled the story and the experiences each of them went through, helped the reader suspend judgement and just wait and see.


Posted Sep. 30, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ref librarian

Join Date: 09/30/17

Posts: 2

In the author's note, she says she's 'asking readers to suspend their everyday perceptions of morality and sympathize with flawed characters.' Do you think she succeeded?

Wavy and Kellen's relationship made me really uncomfortable. I understand why Wavy loved him and Kellen was an admirable person for taking care of Wavy. I wanted the relationship to stay platonic because she was a child. Kellen was acting in a very fatherly way for much of the book, making sure she got to school and had what she needed, not overstepping her "touch" boundaries etc. That being said, I can see how a relationship like this can develop. She was a child in desperate need of love and care, and Kellen provided it. The dysfunctional way it developed was inevitable and of course, could have been really bad had Kellen been a different character. I was glad that they ended up together---they really met a need in each other and it didn't waiver.


Posted Sep. 30, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Carol Rainer

Join Date: 09/03/15

Posts: 40

In the author's note, she says she's 'asking readers to suspend their everyday perceptions of morality and sympathize with flawed characters.' Do you think she succeeded?

Yes - she certainly affected my perception in that we got to know these characters from the beginning of their father/daughter relationship. What developed between them was forbidden, but knowing them so well by that time, I accepted it.


Posted Oct. 01, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
tswaine

Join Date: 09/14/11

Posts: 37

RE: In the author's note, the author she's "asking readers to suspend their everyday perceptions of morality and sympathize with flawed characters." Do you think she succeeded?

Yes, I think the author succeeded in getting me to sympathize with Wavy and Kellen. They both had hard lives. Kellen took Wavy under his wing and then their relationship grew into what society deems as wrong, but in the end it seemed normal for the love they shared together.


Posted Oct. 01, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
rebeccar

Join Date: 03/13/12

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RE: In the author's note, the author she's "asking readers to suspend their everyday perceptions of morality and sympathize with flawed characters." Do you think she succeeded?

I absolutely believed she succeeded. Even my husband commented that he had not seen me this absorbed in a book for quite a while. As I mentioned in a review for this book, these are not the acceptable, suburban white collar opiod abusers; these are the segment of society that people are ready to pretend do not exist in America.


Posted Oct. 02, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
jenniferj

Join Date: 09/30/17

Posts: 20

RE: In the author's note, the author she's "asking readers to suspend their everyday perceptions of morality and sympathize with flawed characters." Do you think she succeeded?

I thought the intention above would lead me to a different perception of the parents. I was surprised that the story was about Wavy and her eventual relationship with Kellen. To me, Wavy and Kellen are victims of the flawed characters. Their flaws were sculpted from the shortcomings and abuse of their parents. The story did, however, change my perception of the relationship between this child and young man. I realized that conventional laws do not always apply to those with entirely unconventional lives. Intent is an important element. Maybe the most important element.


Posted Oct. 02, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Rosieglitter

Join Date: 10/16/16

Posts: 27

RE: In the author's note, the author she's "asking readers to suspend their everyday perceptions of morality and sympathize with flawed characters." Do you think she succeeded?

Yes, I totally sympathized with both Wavy and Kellen. I felt that Kellen truly loved and cared for Wavy. Not all relationships are conventional.


Posted Oct. 02, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
lorris

Join Date: 09/06/12

Posts: 8

RE: In the author's note, the author she's "asking readers to suspend their everyday perceptions of morality and sympathize with flawed characters." Do you think she succeeded?

What was pretty masterful about this book, I think, is that Greenwood managed to bring shades of gray to a relationship that by all traditional criteria should repel the reader. That Greenwood had a personal experience that was similar to Wavy's no doubt made it easier for her to blur the line between what is "normal" and what is not. Still, it is true that regardless of the ways Kellen loved Wavy and the fact that he kept her safe, the bottom line is that Wavy, a child, is not able to give consent. Yes, she seemed mature, and yes, she deserved love, but there are complexities in that relationship that she was not able to understand. I agree with Greenwood who believes that children's inner lives are more complex than we give them credit for, but they are still children. In the absence of any kind of parental protection and guidance, the law needs to provide it.


Posted Oct. 02, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
amberb

Join Date: 07/28/11

Posts: 83

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RE: In the author's note, the author she's "asking readers to suspend their everyday perceptions of morality and sympathize with flawed characters." Do you think she succeeded?

Yes and no. I feel like I understood the relationship, but it still made me squeamish. Admittedly, it would have been completely different if they had met when she was 21 and he was 36. It's so complex and complicated, though, because they did care for each other and were in love, and Wavy obviously had to grow up MUCH too fast. While I was reading it, I was able to "suspend perceptions" but the thought of it is still definitely uncomfortable.


Posted Oct. 02, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
MarieA

Join Date: 10/12/11

Posts: 149

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RE: In the author's note, the author she's "asking readers to suspend their everyday perceptions of morality and sympathize with flawed characters." Do you think she succeeded?

Yes, she was successful. The author portrayed Wavy and Kellen as sympathetic characters who deserved to find some happiness in their lives. We as readers may not "approve" of their relationship, but we can understand why and how their relationship occurred.


Posted Oct. 02, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ScribblingScribe

Join Date: 02/29/16

Posts: 60

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RE: In the author's note, the author she's "asking readers to suspend their everyday perceptions of morality and sympathize with flawed characters." Do you think she succeeded?

This story was all about context. With everything each of them went through and the environment they were in during the story, it made perfect sense for them to be drawn together. While having sex with a 14-year-old is not something I would ever advocate, it made sense in this story. Their love was the only anchor they had in a messed up world. Given Wavy's role models, it made sense for her to want to show her love that way. Kellen should, and did, know better, but was pulled in by Wavy's devotion and his overpowering love for her and his need to protect her. The author was skilled at creating something beautiful out of something reviled. She definitely succeeded.


Posted Oct. 02, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
acstrine

Join Date: 02/06/17

Posts: 9

RE: In the author's note, the author she's "asking readers to suspend their everyday perceptions of morality and sympathize with flawed characters." Do you think she succeeded?

I found myself incredibly nervous at points in the story that Wavy and Kellen would be "discovered" or "caught" by her parents or teachers. I didn't want that to happen, yet it scared me that I was such a supporter of their relationship because of the differences in their ages. Other times I found myself almost pleading with the characters, "No, no, no, don't go there." I found myself incredibly angry reading Goodreads reviews that essentially condemned the author. I agree wholeheartedly with ScribblingScribe and context being an important piece. I did not have a drug addicted mother. I didn't have a father who ran a drug operation and several mistresses. I was not responsible for raising my brother. I always had clean clothes, food to eat, and someone reminding me to do my homework. But what if I hadn't? To Wavy, Kellen was her family--her only family. Not the family that any of us would necessarily choose, but it was no less real, as she pointed out to the judge.


Posted Oct. 03, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
darylb

Join Date: 06/23/13

Posts: 90

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RE: In the author's note, the author she's "asking readers to suspend their everyday perceptions of morality and sympathize with flawed characters." Do you think she succeeded?

Yes, she did succeed in my opinion. The way the relationship evolved over time made me feel it was right for them. I thought possibly Wavy would outgrow him as she got older. Out of all that dysfunction something good grew for them.


Posted Oct. 03, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
laurap

Join Date: 06/19/12

Posts: 180

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RE: In the author's note, the author she's "asking readers to suspend their everyday perceptions of morality and sympathize with flawed characters." Do you think she succeeded?

I think "lorris" hit it on the nose. I was very uncomfortable as the Wavy/Kellen relationship developed -- but had to concede that except for the age difference it seemed to be the only reasonably healthy relationship in the story. The evolution of the relationship made sense in the context of the troubled lives they otherwise experienced, so the problem of their age difference became a very grey area.


Posted Oct. 03, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
terriej

Join Date: 07/28/11

Posts: 142

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RE: In the author's note, the author she's "asking readers to suspend their everyday perceptions of morality and sympathize with flawed characters." Do you think she succeeded?

Yes, I think she succeeded. She approached a very controversial topic and did it in a way that made readers rethink what we've been taught as right and wrong.


Posted Oct. 03, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
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bestmartin

Join Date: 02/20/13

Posts: 71

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RE: In the author's note, the author she's "asking readers to suspend their everyday perceptions of morality and sympathize with flawed characters." Do you think she succeeded?

I love being part of these online discussions and being among readers who really care and think and have strong opinions. The discussion of this question is particularly important to me because I was awed by the author's ability to keep us reading and open our minds and hearts to the possibility of love between Wavy and Kellen despite our initial feelings. The author was matersful and based on all of our answers, she succeeded. Bravo.


Posted Oct. 03, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kimk

Join Date: 10/16/10

Posts: 285

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RE: In the author's note, the author she's "asking readers to suspend their everyday perceptions of morality and sympathize with flawed characters." Do you think she succeeded?

Bestmartin, I'm with you! I, too, am truly amazed at how much sympathy I felt for Wavy and Kellen. I don't think I realized how talented the author is until I tried to explain the book to a friend. I couldn't describe it without it sounding like a very disturbing book - but I was never disturbed by it. It takes a lot of talent to make your readers think about things in a whole new light - to have them look at what on the surface is an ugly situation, and yet get them to suspend judgement. I was very impressed.


Posted Oct. 05, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
annl

Join Date: 04/03/17

Posts: 12

RE: In the author's note, the author she's "asking readers to suspend their everyday perceptions of morality and sympathize with flawed characters." Do you think she succeeded?

In today’s world, the “normal” relationship is not necessary. While their relationship is unconventional in its development, it gives them a foundation for success.


Posted Oct. 05, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
annl

Join Date: 04/03/17

Posts: 12

RE: In the author's note, the author she's "asking readers to suspend their everyday perceptions of morality and sympathize with flawed characters." Do you think she succeeded?

In today’s world, the “normal” relationship is not necessary. While their relationship is unconventional in its development, it gives them a foundation for success.


Posted Oct. 05, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
lynnw

Join Date: 09/01/11

Posts: 129

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RE: In the author's note, the author she's "asking readers to suspend their everyday perceptions of morality and sympathize with flawed characters." Do you think she succeeded?

The author did an incredible job of making me not only sympathize but care about these two very flawed people. If left on their own, they probably would have been unsuccessful at any type of normal life.


Posted Oct. 05, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
laurieh

Join Date: 04/04/12

Posts: 17

RE: In the author's note, the author she's "asking readers to suspend their everyday perceptions of morality and sympathize with flawed characters." Do you think she succeeded?

If you asked me before I read this book if I would be rooting for Kellan and Wavy or even just any character in this book I would have said no. How do lives such as these even exist? In my small circle of experiences the situations presented in this book are sordid and unsavory. Each person deserving of what they got because of their actions. But why do I feel that way and is it warranted or just ingrained ?? How could a 24 year old man love a 13 year old girl and how is it not criminal? The author forces upended thinking and the stark truth that not everything is always black and white. Choices and. Circumstances shape us but do not need to define us. They saved each other and I as a reader wanted that for them despite the taboo of their relationship.


Posted Oct. 07, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
SD Reader

Join Date: 02/10/16

Posts: 2

RE: In the author's note, the author she's "asking readers to suspend their everyday perceptions of morality and sympathize with flawed characters." Do you think she succeeded?

Yes! For me, that's exactly what makes this book so stunning and powerful.

One tiny side note, though - I kind of wish Wavy had matured more in her looks by the end - just to show absolutely that their love transcended any kind of questionable attraction. But I'm still rooting for them!


Posted Oct. 07, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
celiap

Join Date: 07/27/17

Posts: 32

RE: In the author's note, the author she's "asking readers to suspend their everyday perceptions of morality and sympathize with flawed characters." Do you think she succeeded?

Greenwood did an excellent job. I also listened to this book on Audible, narrated by Jorjeana Marie. Her narration enhanced the suspension of beliefs even more. Her lovely portrayal of Wavy's voice had me from minute 1.
I am usually not much for graphic sex scenes, but the way that Greenwood portrayed them really opened my eyes as well. To think a 13 year old was so sexually savvy... omgosh.


Posted Oct. 09, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
pamelathereader

Join Date: 04/22/15

Posts: 9

RE: In the author's note, the author she's "asking readers to suspend their everyday perceptions of morality and sympathize with flawed characters." Do you think she succeeded?

The author ALMOST made me suspend everyday perceptions... If Kellen had not been such a "good guy" (buying food, taking Wavy to school, helping her care for Donal, etc.) the development in their relationship would have seemed all wrong. But she did structure her characters in such a way that their story developed with a sense of inevitability. However, I couldn't quite believe in Kellen enough to accept the ultimate direction his relationship took with Wavy so that I thought it was okay.


Posted Oct. 09, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
andreab

Join Date: 07/29/14

Posts: 76

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RE: In the author's note, the author she's "asking readers to suspend their everyday perceptions of morality and sympathize with flawed characters." Do you think she succeeded?

For me - yes. As I said in answer to one of the other questions, I think this fiction is a reality for many. Whether it offends my morality does not matter unless it motivates me to do something. Unfortunately, most people (me included) are not pushed into action unless personally affected.


Posted Oct. 11, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ellenf

Join Date: 03/04/13

Posts: 11

RE: In the author's note, the author she's "asking readers to suspend their everyday perceptions of morality and sympathize with flawed characters." Do you think she succeeded?

Yes, the author definitely succeeded in getting this reader to sympathize with flawed characters. I was initially reluctant to read about this group of very dysfunctional people. Ms Greenwood develops the story in a way that led me to hope that Kellen and Wavy would be together and be allowed to care for each other.


Posted Oct. 11, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
vickys

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 28

RE: In the author's note, the author she's "asking readers to suspend their everyday perceptions of morality and sympathize with flawed characters." Do you think she succeeded?

I don't know that I had to suspend belief. Real people are complicated and no one is all good or all bad. People have struggles and not everyone starts out at the same spot. There are economic, environmental, family, value differences that provide some people with more opportunities than others and a variety of coping strategies. I could see how the relationship naturally developed between Wavy and Kellen but I still cringed when it became sexual. I kept wanting another caring adult to be there for her.


Posted Oct. 13, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
jessies

Join Date: 11/09/15

Posts: 7

RE: In the author's note, the author she's "asking readers to suspend their everyday perceptions of morality and sympathize with flawed characters." Do you think she succeeded?

Yes, she definitely succeeded. I think she also succeeds in making the reader think about their own 'everyday perceptions of morality' in a much broader sense. We can sympathize with these characters because we can see the good despite the bad, and how they have struggled though impossible situations...can we do that in real life? We are often quick to judge others based on our own beliefs, but we may not reach the right conclusion if we don't know the whole story. A very thought provoking book!


Posted Oct. 15, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
JulieAB

Join Date: 07/16/13

Posts: 44

RE: In the author's note, the author she's "asking readers to suspend their everyday perceptions of morality and sympathize with flawed characters." Do you think she succeeded?

Yes! As I read this book, it stayed with me even when I wasn't reading. I have never had characters stick with me or rather disturb me like Wavy and Kellan. But, by the end I felt I was in full support of them being together. It was the only path that made sense to me.


Posted Oct. 15, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kimk

Join Date: 10/16/10

Posts: 285

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RE: In the author's note, the author she's "asking readers to suspend their everyday perceptions of morality and sympathize with flawed characters." Do you think she succeeded?

I generally have difficulty with novels where the protagonist is a child, as I think it's very difficult for an author to make the child sound the right age. I'm astonished by the author's talent here; I really believed Wavy was a child in difficult circumstances, and, while she came across as mature for her age, I didn't find her unreasonably so. Perhaps the inclusion of other voices - characters who viewed Wavy as a child - helped make this work so well.


Posted Oct. 15, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
mal

Join Date: 09/09/13

Posts: 155

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RE: In the author's note, the author she's "asking readers to suspend their everyday perceptions of morality and sympathize with flawed characters." Do you think she succeeded?

I sympathized with the characters but my morality was not suspended. Wavy is a broken child and Kellen is fractured. Their connection was beautiful until the relationship became sexual. It is never appropriate for a minor to be involved with an adult under any circumstances at all.


Posted Oct. 18, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Peggy H

Join Date: 06/13/11

Posts: 188

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RE: In the author's note, the author she's "asking readers to suspend their everyday perceptions of morality and sympathize with flawed characters." Do you think she succeeded?

Yes, it was the right relationship for them in the end. Kellen had the opportunity to act earlier than he did but refrained due Wavy's age. Wavy, searching for love, could have been attracted by the wrong man, but was drawn to his kindness and difference from the other men in her life. Then remember she had little guidance and support from her mother or her aunt.


Pegh
Posted Oct. 19, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Loveslife

Join Date: 08/01/15

Posts: 6

RE: In the author's note, the author she's "asking readers to suspend their everyday perceptions of morality and sympathize with flawed characters." Do you think she succeeded?

Let me first say that I really loved this book. It made the reader consider all the different experiences that are possible and don't fit in a rigid view of a "normal" life. I think Bryn Greenwood definitely succeeded in getting the reader to suspend their own perceptions and care for Wavy and Kellen and the world to which they were born. I work everyday with "challenged" students and when I read this book, I was truly able to leave where I live and hear Wavy and Kellen's real voices. Bravo!


Posted Oct. 19, 2017 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
jackiew

Join Date: 04/26/17

Posts: 3

RE: In the author's note, the author she's "asking readers to suspend their everyday perceptions of morality and sympathize with flawed characters." Do you think she succeeded?

In reading this book and stressing over the sexual relationship of Kellen and Wavy, I was reminded of John Irving's The Cider House Rules. In that novel we are also asked to suspend judgements we hold about abortion, and also about the rules of life that don't always apply to everyone on an equal basis. We are encouraged to understand that some rules should, and can, be broken. In reading Greenwood's book, we are asked to do the same......to leave our comfortable lives and truly embrace the dysfunctional life of Wavy and Donal. Wavy had rules; ones she made for herself......and many of them served her well. This author put me in a very uncomfortable place, but in the end I felt that I understood most of Wavy's decisions, and I applauded her own set of morals.


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