So last week (or maybe earlier) I made a post speaking about my feelings and reactions to All the Ugly and Wonderful Things. It was mostly a rant post about how I disliked the usage of the age gap between the protagonist Wavy and Kellen. This is a post to correct myself, but I will reiterate a few points I made in that post.
- I have not read this book and I will probably never read this book. This book is something that I guess most people would consider ‘triggering’ material because of the fact that Wavy and Kellen’s relationship does become sexual. I will say this: that is the only reason. People have seemed to get the idea that I’m bothered by the entire novel, when I’m mostly bothered by the specifics of their relationship.
- I still don’t like the relationship.
That being said, I will admit to my wrongs. People have told me that the book is not a romance but woman’s fiction and furthermore I’ve been told that Kellen does have consequences for his actions.
Considering that, the reactions from this novel does still worry me. It’s sold as woman’s fiction or just contemporary fiction, but why do people still consider it a romance? Why are they shelving it as romance and then romanticizing and excusing the romance? I did a little bit more research and it seems that many of the people who received the ARC got the impression of a romance because it really does say:
What follows is a powerful and shocking love story between two unlikely people that asks tough questions, reminding us of all the ugly and wonderful things that life has to offer.
So most people shelved it as Romance or what not. I do, however, see some people’s argument that it’s a love story but not a “romance”. Mostly because there’s nothing romantic or sentimental in the book and I can get that understanding coming from other people that have read the novel. Yet I still can’t get over the fact that this book mainly revolves around a love story that begins with an eight year-old child and a twenty year-old man. Still not comfortable with it. From the reviews it seems that this book is a book that’s really meant to spark discussion. Perhaps the author didn’t intend to, but it’s what it’s becoming.
I can understand the argument for the relationships, but I cannot stand by it and justify it because of again, the power imbalance and the fact that they seem to have an incredibly unhealthy, co-dependent relationship. What I would like to see is an in depth discussion that goes into their relationship and specifically how it develops. There is apparently no sexual agenda from Kellen and their love is incredibly pure. I’m curious as to see where it comes from. Is Kellen a lonely man who leans on a young child for comfort? Is it because she’s apparently innocent despite her horrid upbringing? Is it because she’s some kind of light in his dark, dark world? And is Wavy in love with him because he’s the only one that was there for her? Because everything she thinks that everything he does is from a form of romantic love rather than a familial love?
I’d like to see discussions happen on this topic. You’re probably telling me, Alexa just read the fucking book, and I’m going to say again that I probably will not be able to because of the subject material. I probably will not be able to read this book without leaving fucked up so I probably won’t touch this book with a ten foot pole for my own mental and emotional stability–but this is a topic I would like to discuss with someone who has.