The Ugly Truth About Beautiful Broken Things

beautiful broken thingsThis is the story of how everything went wrong. First of all, I went to the library to pick up another book by the author- yet for some unexplained reason this book was there in its stead. Then, I read the book… gah- well you’ll all get to hear more about what I thought about that in a minute. Finally I came to write the review… annnd I lost my notes. So nothing’s really gone right with this book, but that’s okay we’ll improvise!

Starting out with Beautiful Broken Things, I knew right away that this book and I were going to have problems. It quickly became apparent that the style was childish and the author had chosen to integrate irrelevant text conversations into the narrativenot good. All the quirky formatting and the constant intrusion of social media did nothing for me. In fact, it made the story feel even more mundane than I was already suspecting it would be.

Because my goodness, way too much of the subject matter was inane-it was like getting stuck on the train without headphones and being unable to tune out a grating, trivial conversation.  I know we praise books for being “real” but there is a limit to how much I want a book to resemble reality. When it feels this uninteresting, it no longer feels like literature, but rather one of those transcripts taken to observe an accent for a historical record.

And so I cannot say this book was unrealistic. Nor was it an entirely inaccurate portrayal of mental illness, which will no doubt have many people reaching for it (since that’s the hot topic of the day). BUT hold your horses. I will not pretend to favour books which are designed to be educational over those that are artistic when dealing with this topic, yet when books are designed to be educational (as I would classify this book) I would hope that they would tread carefully. Unfortunately, I did not think this book would be a good educational tool since along with the truths it uttered, it wound in so much pseudo-science nonsense.

A little truth can be a dangerous thing and when reading this book, I couldn’t help but feel like this would serve as more of a “how to self-destruct” guide, especially considering the over-sensationalised ending. I am loathe to tell people what they should and shouldn’t read- not least cos people will immediately run away and do the opposite. But, and I rarely if ever say this, I do not see how this can be a healthy read. I would not give this to teenagers- I honestly do not believe it is appropriate. All I can praise with regards to how it deals with mental health is the list of charities at the end.

Add to that a truly detestable main character, who undermines all of the logic in the book, and this was not a worthwhile reading experience for me. Honestly, I found her to be a totally spoilt weirdo, who was so obsessed with courting drama that she somehow takes a traumatised classmate under her wing… by being a total bitch to her (see what I mean about lacking logic!?!) I did think it was clever to present the book from her perspective, because it did highlight the idea that someone can appear to be functioning just fine to an outsider, and that you never know what’s going on behind closed doors. Like I said, there were the occasional messages that hit the right spot- it’s just a shame most of it missed by miles.

Rating: 2/5 bananas

small bananasmall banana

So have you read this? Will you read it? Let me know in the comments!

40 thoughts on “The Ugly Truth About Beautiful Broken Things

  1. My favorite line of this review: “I know we praise books for being “real” but there is a limit to how much I want a book to resemble reality.” This is so incredibly true and I’m just like you. I like real but I don’t want it to be too real because my whole purpose of reading a work of fiction is to escape reality as much as possible.

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  2. I agree with you on the realism. I was reading another blogger recently who was reviewing a TV show commented that if he wanted to watch TV that resembled the lives of his neighbors he would just spy on them, and I couldn’t have agreed more. If it sheds light on a topic and refreshes your point of view on it great, but if it doesn’t then what was point of creating it?

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  3. I’ve noticed working with foster children that there is a mad rush to label the children with this or that mental illness. It is useful to caregivers to have a sense of what they’re dealing with, but so often the child begins to almost glamorize their label and use it as a crutch. I’m around too much of this at the moment to want to read more about it 🙂 The book cover is beautiful though.

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    1. YES! You are one hundred percent right. I completely agree with you. One of the main issues I had with this was that it misunderstood PTSD (and in some ways glamorised it), and as per usual didn’t allow someone with a difficult background (like a foster child) to have post-traumatic growth, which is far more common. Of course, this was just one issue I had with it, but I just think your comment was spot on. Yes I completely agree with you there!

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  4. Yikes! Strangely enough I just finished a book that seems to have some overlap with the issues you’re mentioning here… I don’t know how I’m going to write that review… but back to yours- books with mental health topics are always subject to either high praise or a lot of criticism and it’s the name of the game because it’s either done well or not and it definitely makes me shudder to know that you would not recommend this book for the fear it would act as a self-destruct manual…

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    1. Yeah I find it really hard to balance these sorts of reviews. Yes I definitely agree with you there. I just couldn’t help being troubled by this book being marketed to teens when I was reading it, so felt like I had to be honest about it. (I mean it’s not great to read as an adult either 😉 ) It was very overindulgent of self-destructive behaviour and had a bit of misinformation mixed in… and the trouble is I find a lot of these books end up on school reading lists to “educate” teens- and I just don’t think this one’s such a healthy read.

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  5. GAH! I read this line in your reviews “Add to that a truly detestable main character, who undermines all of the logic in the book,…” And yeah I’m out! AND I LOVE MENTAL HEALTH, but yeah one of my pet peeves is when a character undermines the entire story (I’m looking at you Red Queen!) ♥️ Hahhhhaaaa loved the review Orangutan!

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    1. Yeah with the mental health, I know that it’s always subjective to me- I’ll either love it or hate it. BUT I haven’t read a single review where the person’s liked the mc- she’s just awful. hahahaha totally get that 😉 Thank you so much!!! 😀 ❤

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  6. Wait wait wait. You take notes?! Oh man. I am in love and jealous. I should have known you would take notes while you read— but this somehow makes me super happy. I would love to just read your direct notes at some point. I imagine mine would be “WTF. Why did they write this?” or “Yum, that ice cream sounds soooo good right now.” — but I’m sure your notes are more intelligent and thoughtful.

    I digress.

    Upon reading your review, I’m surprised you gave this book two bananas at all. Is the perspective of the narrator that valuable compared to the flaws you found? Or is there something else at play here?

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    1. hehe well most of the time- I only write reviews for the books I take notes on, otherwise I forget too much. hahahaha trust me, a lot of the time they’re just “what am I reading?” “Not sure I get where this is going” “ohh I see” 😉 (well that’s if I annotate on a kindle 😉 Then I get carried away 😉

      haha yeah- it probably didn’t deserve 2 and I initially gave it 1.5- my only reason for giving it half a banana more is the subject matter and that because of the issues it dealt with realistically (as much as I didn’t like said realism) meant that I could see why others might like it, so I decided to put it more firmly in the “see why others might like it category” 😉

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