Thursday, July 16, 2015

Review: Big Mouth & Ugly Girl by Joyce Carol Oates

Title: Big Mouth & Ugly Girl
Author: Joyce Carol Oates
Published by: Harper Tempest
Released: 2003
Summary: Matt Donaghy's life is forever altered after being accused of making a threat against his school. A threat he never made in seriousness and witnesses who are kept secret. Suddenly Matt is a social outcast, his old friends won't speak to him, and his community suspects him. Then Ursula Riggs comes to his defense, "Ugly Girl." Matt doesn't even really know Ursula, but because of her, he is put in the clear. What happens next is a friendship between two outcasts who don't care what the world thinks of them. They are together against the world, Big Mouth and Ugly Girl.
My Thoughts: I had to read this book for a class and wasn't really that excited about it. I'd never heard of the book before and the cover was a little unappetizing. Whenever I have to read a book for school, or am forced to read a book, it is extremely rare for me to enjoy said book. Something about being forced to read something just really hinders my enjoyment. This might be because the books I'm forced to read are usually not books I would ever pick out for myself to read in leisure.
Big Mouth & Ugly Girl was just an okay read for me. It was nothing spectacular or jaw dropping. I really felt that there just wasn't much of a story to it and it just meandered along. I wasn't on the edge of my seat, just having to know what was going to happen next. I think that was my main issue with the book, that it just didn't feel like it had the plot or idea for a full novel. The initial premise of the book was interesting, but I just felt that there had to be more there to really grab my interest and keep the story moving.
I thought it was strange that the scene that started the whole story, Matt joking about blowing up the school, wasn't included in the novel, it was just mentioned. I thought that part would have been important to include.
This novel focused more on characters. Two characters really, Ursula Riggs and Matt Donaghy. Matt Donaghy was okay. I felt bad for him, but Ursula Riggs was the really interesting character in the whole thing. "Ugly Girl" is complex and she was probably the most fun to learn about.
All in all, this story was just an okay read. It kind of meandered along and didn't really go anywhere special. Ursula Riggs was interesting and I guess the commentary on rumors and how schools respond to violence was interesting too. It's probably a book I never would have read and never missed if it hadn't been forced upon me.

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