Thursday, May 17, 2012

Review - Ugly to Start With by John Michael Cunnings

Title and Author: Ugly to Start With by John Michael Cunnings
Publisher: West Virginia University Press
Publication Date: October 1st, 2011
Paperback/Hardcover: 168
Genre: Young Adult

Jason Stevens is growing up in picturesque, historic Harpers Ferry, West Virginia in the 1970s. Back when the roads are smaller, the cars slower, the people more colorful, and Washington, D.C. is way across the mountains—a winding sixty-five miles away.
Jason dreams of going to art school in the city, but he must first survive his teenage years. He witnesses a street artist from Italy charm his mother from the backseat of the family car. He stands up to an abusive husband—and then feels sorry for the jerk. He puts up with his father’s hard-skulled backwoods ways, his grandfather’s showy younger wife, and the fist-throwing schoolmates and eccentric mountain characters that make up Harpers Ferry—all topped off by a basement art project with a girl from the poor side of town.
Ugly to Start With punctuates the exuberant highs, bewildering midpoints, and painful lows of growing up, and affirms that adolescent dreams and desires are often fulfilled in surprising ways.

I received this book from the author in exchange of an honest review.
Ugly To Start With includes 13 short stories, all about Jason and different moments in his life.  With each story we get several glimpses into his life and his relationships with the people around him.
Jason lives in Harpers Ferry during the 70’s and all 13 stories deal with the happy and sad, the high and the low moments of his life.
Jason is an interesting character and it’s easy to get involved in his life and hope things work out for him. His life and journey is not easy.
All of the stories are very unique, honest and raw. Some of them are dark and a little disturbing. Others are complex and left me wondering. All in all, all of the stories showcase an important part of Jason’s life and the difficulties of growing up.
All in all, I enjoyed this book even though I sometimes found it a little difficult to truly understand the point of some of the stories. While the reader gets involved in Jason’s life it’s not always easy to relate to him but I still thought he was an interesting character.
The book is well written and it deals with some interesting and complicated issues. A good read.

Rating: Readable (3 Stars)

No comments:

Post a Comment