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Book Reviews

Ugly by Margaret McHeyzer


Ugly crop

Ugly by Margaret McHeyzer

Ugly was a tough read. Domestic abuse is a difficult subject, difficult to face, difficult to stand up to, difficult to write about. But that wasn’t only why I struggled with the book.

If the purpose of the story was to give victims the courage to get help, then it is everything it needs to be. Including the addition of contact numbers at the end.

But as a story, it didn’t quite deliver. With one-dimensional characters and long drawn out chapters, this was a book I couldn’t wait to finish. It was written devoid of emotion, almost like a documentary and I couldn’t quite reach Lily. I felt detached from the story as though I was hearing it 3rd hand. Sensitive to other people’s emotions I cry over books and movies all the time but with Ugly I just didn’t feel it.

It was only at the end, where skimming through the author’s acknowledgments that I realised it was based on true story. I am not sure if I would have felt differently if I had known that at the beginning, but it does put the events into perspective and make me more aware that maybe it could be a lifeline to someone one day.2 Star

Recommended age: 16+

Title: Ugly
Author: Margaret McHeyzer Ugly
Publication Date:
36 October 2015
Publisher: Margaret McHeyzer
Source: ARC
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If I were dead, I wouldn’t be able to see.
If I were dead, I wouldn’t be able to feel.
If I were dead, he’d never raise his hand to me again.
If I were dead, his words wouldn’t cut as deep as they do.
If I were dead, I’d be beautiful and I wouldn’t be so…ugly.
I’m not dead…but I wish I was.

— abstract from Goodreads.com

The fact that I received a free advanced copy of this book does not influence my policy to write an honest review.


  1. This book does look as though it could be a powerful read. With such a sensitive and important topic, it is disappointing to hear that it doesn’t have that power to help and change. I absolutely agree that there should always be information for assistance in any book dealing with abuse.

  2. Sometimes I can read books like this as I like to have as many viewpoints of the world we live in as possible but they are hard reads. Such a shame that the true story wasn’t delivered in a way that made you empathise more x

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