Publisher: West Virginia University Press
Source: Sent by publisher in exchange for an honest review
Jason Stevens is growing up in the 1970s in small town Harper's Ferry, Virginia., all the while trying to find himself, deal with his family's problems, and cope with some other tough issues. It isn't easy, and Jason makes a lot of mistakes, but so goes the process of growing up. Ugly to Start With is told as a chronological series of short stories.
In all honesty, this probably wasn't the book for me, but I figured I'd give it a go. Unfortunately, my gut was right and I just could not get into these stories.
The writing is plain and a little coarse, although I did like the first short story of the collection. The problems the main character faces are certainly sympathetic, but I just wasn't invested enough in him to truly care about his troubles. And issues that I suppose are meant to be underlying and subtle are not. Everything is just laid out on the table.
I did like the protagonist enough to enjoy how he progressed from one part of his life to the next, I will say that, but mostly with this book, I was bored. Plenty of topics are tackled in Ugly to Start With some of which could have been dealt with a bit better, perhaps. Honestly, I can't see many teens enjoying this type of book, although people who grew up in this time period may appreciate it more.
Do you often try books outside of your preferred genres? What happened when you did?