Monday, July 11, 2011

Ordinary Beauty

Ordinary Beauty
By Laura Wiess
June 2011
egalley (320 pages)

“How can you make someone love you when they won’t?”

Summary: Sayre grew up knowing disappointment, neglect and loneliness. Her mother, a violent and unloving drug addict, made sure she took away everything that mattered to Sayre and squashed any chance of happiness. So Sayre learned to be invisible and to survive with almost nothing. Now, just shy of 18, Sayre’s mother is in the hospital and Sayre, scared and unsure, gets to discover who she is without her mother tethering her to despair.

Review: Like most of Wiess’ novels, Ordinary Beauty is dark and haunting. Wiess does an exceptional job at creating characters that are broken, damaged and forgotten, making it sometimes difficult to read her novels. Sayre’s life is depressing and Wiess doesn’t shy away from the grittiness and the damage of living with a drug addicted parent. Readers will either love the beautiful storytelling, with its hopeful message or hate the brutal honesty through which it’s told. The story is told in flashbacks which does disconnect the flow at some points, but overall there is solid progression of story in both the flashback and the real time. There is also a maze of side characters, some soft and kind and others hard and destructive, which reflect Sayre and her mother. A heartbreaking contemporary novel, completely relevant and one not to be missed.

Also by Laura Wiess: Such a Pretty Girl, Leftovers and How It Ends

If you liked Ordinary Beauty, you might also enjoy: Leftovers by Laura Wiess, Shine by Lauren Myracle, Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

Additional Info: The following Hamilton based websites are for youth struggling with difficult home situations, whether that be neglectful parents, abusive homes, etc or who are struggling themselves with drug or alcohol abuse. Please use take advantage of them you need it. Also check out the website section of my blog for more helpful resources

Author website:

Writing: 3.5/4
Characters: 4/4
Plot: 4/4
Originality: 3.5/4
Popularity: 3/4
Cover 3/4
Grade Level: S


Blog designed by Dreamy Blog Designs using Cré@Bisontines Everyday Blessings kit