Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Ugly

Ugly. Robert Hoge. 2016. 208 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Imagine you're in art class. The teacher drops a lump of wet, sticky clay on the bench in front of you. "You've got thirty minutes to sculpt a newborn baby's face," she says.

Premise/plot: Ugly is a memoir by Robert Hoge. This very personal story is about growing up 'ugly' or 'different' in Australia in the 1970s and 80s. Readers learn about his life at home and at school. The focus is on his family, his friends, his classmates and teachers. Not everyone was nice....or accepting. But. He made a way, found a way, to be comfortable in his own skin. His journey included some surgeries, but, not as many as you might expect. (I loved, loved, LOVED the ending.) His journey also included sports. 

Perhaps readers have heard the phrase, "He has a face only a mother could love..." Well, in Hoge's case, his mother had a hard time accepting him--and his face--at first. For the first month of his life, she refused to take him home from the hospital and didn't want anything to do with him. She later became loving and accepting--a true supporter--but at first she struggled.

My thoughts: What I appreciate most about it is its warmth AND truth. He tackles a subject that could be very melodramatic and emotional, perhaps even manipulative. You'll be moved, but not with pity. At least I was. I loved, loved, loved the writing. He has a way with words that won me over from the start.

Favorite quotes:
I'm the ugliest person you've never met. (3)
I knew I was ugly. But everyone is uglier than they think. We are all more beautiful too. We all have scars only we can own. (200)

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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