The Ugly [Book Review]

The Ugly [Book Review]
Hello there!
Title: The Ugly
Author: Alexander Boldizar
Publisher: Brooklyn Arts Press
Published Date: 7th September 2016
Rating: 3 stars
*Thank you to the author for the review copy*

Synopsis: Muzhduk the Ugli the Fourth is a 300-pound boulder-throwing mountain man
from Siberia whose tribal homeland is stolen by an American lawyer out to build
a butterfly conservatory for wealthy tourists. In order to restore his people’s
land and honor, Muzhduk must travel to Harvard Law School to learn how to throw
words instead of boulders. His anarchic adventures span continents, from
Siberia to Cambridge to Africa, as he fights fellow students, Tuareg rebels,
professors of law, dark magic, bureaucrats, heatstroke, postmodernists, and
eventually time and space. A wild existential comedic romp, The Ugly tells the
tale of a flawed and unlikely hero struggling against the machine that shapes
the people who govern our world.
Review: The Ugly by Alexander Boldizar is novel
which I discovered through Shelf Awareness. The cover had me interested, but it
had to be the synopsis which had me convinced that I wanted to read it. I feel
like our capital and Westerner ways make up thinking we have the right to
impose on other tribal and indigenous areas because we have our reasons. It
does not matter that it doesn’t match up with theirs. As someone who strongly
believes this, I wanted to read this novel and find out more about how it would
be portrayed here.
And while this is the underlying predicament in the
novel, we get a lot more than I bargained for! For starters, when following the
issue of their tribe basically being kicked out, I really liked how the novel
started off. I liked how we got to see a little bit of what the tribe was like,
and what their values were. We get to see what the businessmen do when they
first arrive. But I was a little disappointed by the ending. I didn’t quite
understand the way in which they resolved the issue? Or if they actually had,
in the long term? I felt like it was a very short term resolution, or maybe I
was just not understanding something…
As Muzhduk travels to America and spends his time there,
we are told about all of that as if it were in the past. The perspective also
switches to the present day, where Muzhduk is in Africa for some reason. That
reason is revealed to us as we read. The two different perspectives are both
told from his point of view, but in America we have third person voice and in
Africa first person voice. I believe the author did this so we wouldn’t become
confused between the two times, and I was glad for it. I also liked the switch,
and seeing how the past tied in with what Muzhduk had learned and how he acted
in the present day. It also really helped in steadily understanding his reason
for why he is in Africa and how he feels so determined to find who he went
there to find.
Muzhduk was an interesting main character. He was very
straightforward, but then also very intelligent, which intrigued me. I believe
I quite grew to like him as we read more and more. When there is something in
life he wants or is after, he goes and gets it. When he feels something, he
will tell you. He struggles to grasp the Western ways of the world when he
first gets to America, and it’s kinda adorable in a way. I also like how
quickly he managed to adapt, and how shocked people were when a tribal member
was intelligent. Yeah, he showed them! I believe that’s another misconception
we have and his character showed that very well. Just because we don’t know
about their ways, or about someone, doesn’t mean we have to assume we know more
and therefore be condescending. This applies in more situations than just the
one in this novel.
I should also mention that this novel is quite explicit.
Not in terms of it being very descriptive, but there are sexual scenes and the
author simply describes what is happening. And because Muzhduk is someone who
likes sex and it is also part of some traditions in his tribe, it’s kind of
mentioned quite a bit.
However, when reading this novel I felt like I couldn’t
enjoy it as much as someone who was a law student might’ve, because I simply
didn’t understand it. I felt like I needed to be smarter to fully grasp
everything I was reading, but I wasn’t. Which doesn’t have to do so much with
the book, but maybe for those who want to read it. There is quite a lot of law
discussion in this book, as Muzhduk is going to America to study law. There are
also quite a lot of bridges between law, society, religion, human nature and so
on. It was all over my head. I felt like I was reading philosophy at times, and
I could tell some of the conclusions being reached were incredibly clever, but
my mind just couldn’t keep up and be able to understand how and in what way. So
while I did read this one and like it, some of it just went right over my head.
There is a love interest in the novel, but the love is
less expressed in the usual pursuit of her, but showing how dedicated he is to
her? I wouldn’t classify this book as a romance at all. But there is some love
in it, but more so a gentle, steadfast love than the characters realising they
love each other and going on dates or that kind of thing.
This was a nice read. A little confusing at times, but
still enjoyable.
Gif Summary:
Links: Goodreads and Amazon!


New Video! My book fair book haul!
Olivia’s Question: Have you ever felt like you weren’t
smart enough for a book? Which was it?
Olivia-Savannah x

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