UGLY by Robert Hoge

UGLY

Age Range: 8 - 12
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

A memoir of the first 14 years in the life of Australian Robert Hoge, born with stunted legs and a tumor in the middle of his face.

In 1972, Robert is born, the youngest of five children, with fishlike eyes on the sides of his face, a massive lump in place of his nose, and malformed legs. As baby Robert is otherwise healthy, the doctors convince his parents to approve the first of many surgeries to reduce his facial difference. One leg is also amputated, and Robert comes home to his everyday white, working-class family. There's no particular theme to the tale of Robert's next decade and a half: he experiences school and teasing, attempts to participate in sports, and is shot down by a girl. Vignette-driven choppiness and the lack of an overarching narrative would make the likeliest audience be those who seek disability stories. However, young Robert's ongoing quest to identify as "normal"—a quest that remains unchanged until a sudden turnaround on the penultimate page—risks alienating readers comfortable with their disabilities. Brief lyrical moments ("as compulsory as soggy tomato sandwiches at snack time") appeal but are overwhelmed by the dry, distant prose dominating this autobiography.

An apt choice for collections that already have stronger alternatives, such as R.J. Palacio's Wonder (2012). (Memoir. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 6th, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-425-28775-0
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 2016




SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

ChildrenNORTH OF BEAUTIFUL by Justina Chen Headley
by Justina Chen Headley
ChildrenWONDER by R.J.  Palacio
by R. J. Palacio
ChildrenONE-HANDED CATCH by MJ Auch
by MJ Auch
ChildrenWORDS IN THE DUST by Trent Reedy
by Trent Reedy