Title: Ugly to Start With
Publisher: Egmont USA
Publication: December 27, 2011
Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 4 out of 5
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.
" Someday I'll fly like the bird I can not see. Someday I'll love like the heart I can not feel. Someday I'll smile like the face I have not seen."
Review: This is a series of short stories in which the author went into great detail about the characters and the setting, but there was no plot. The story is well written and is more of a window into Jason's emotions, his thoughts and life.I really feel like the reader will experience the levels of who Jason is and who he can become. I wanted to know more about what happened to Jason and felt like the ending left me hanging with more questions. That said, this book touches on many subjects of sexuality, race, abuse, fidelity, love and family, which anyone can find something they can relate to in this book. I found myself feeling sad and angry for Jason, when he said that his father wanted his mother to get rid of him.....what child should have to ever hear that? Disturbingly realistic and emotionally raw this collection of short stories was an insightful read.