Review: Ordinary Beauty by Laura Wiess

Ordinary BeautyOrdinary Beauty by Laura Wiess
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

*Novel provided for an honest review.

Does my mother love me? That is the question Sayre has been haunted by her entire life. If you think your mother is horrible, think again.


Laura Wiess, author of Such a Pretty Girl, has written a heartbreaking and gut-wrenching story of a young girl who has lived a life of abuse, abandonment and neglect with very few moments of hope. Sayre‘s mother is an alcoholic and a meth addict. Living with her has been excruciatingly difficult, and not just because Sayre knows her mother never wanted her. Sayre has stuck by her though, trying to make her mother see and love her. Now Sayre’s mother is dying, and she must find a way to deal with the fact that she is finally going to be left behind for good.

The story is told through Sayre’s point of view at present time but she tells us about her life through a series of flashbacks. The novel begins just as Sayre learns that her mother has been admitted to the hospital once again and she is forced to visit her. In an attempt to avoid being hit on the snow-covered road, she actually causes an accident and must try to save the severely injured driver. It is during the hours of waiting for help to arrive that Sayre begins to lend her voice, bit by bit, to all of the horrors she has endured growing up with an addict for a mother and break away from a past that has had a stranglehold on her for her entire life.

The book took me on a crazy roller coaster of emotions that left me wanting more but left me speechless at the same time. Wiess peeled the skin and left the story raw. There was nothing left to hide. The emotions were vivid in this book. Wiess really spun this incredible tale about a girl who came to love herself after years of hearing from her mother how truly worthless she was.  She covered delicate topics about child and alcohol abuse. Nothing in Ordinary Beauty felt farfetched. Her writing style was blunt and simple. She goes where other authors fear to go with their writing, and that is blatantly obvious in Ordinary Beauty.

The title does not do the book justice. There is nothing ordinary about Sayre or her heartbreaking story of hardship and strength. Ordinary Beauty was not an easy book to read. I cried, and then I got angry, and then I cried again, and sometimes I had to just put the book down because it was too much. But in the end it was so, so beautiful. It’s a beautiful story full hope and forgiveness, of one that is worth the pain and tears. Give it a chance: you’ll fall in love with Sayre and Laura Wiess’s beautiful prose.

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