Novel Review: A Place Called Ugly
“A Place Called Ugly” is a novel in English written by the award winning author of the “The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle” Avi Wortis. The book was published with 134 pages by the McIntosh and Otis Inc. in 1981. The catchy cover and title and the hilarious but dramatic plot are the at-first reasons why I read the book.
Owen Coughlin: The lead character
The lead character is Owen Coughlin, a fourteen-year old boy who disagrees with the demolition of their summer house in East Neck to give way for a summer hotel planned to be built by Miss Devlin. He is an important character as he represents the youngsters who are subject to a critical mind and emotional conditions but are firm in their ideas and unassailable in their decision. Although what he believes in is just a kid stuff, selfish and immature acts, still he can be an example. That made him a significant character in the flow of the story.
The following persons are also significant characters that helped the story gained a concise but rich plot: Coughlin Family (Owen’s parents and brother Pete and sister Alice), which was Owens Family which visits the cabin in East Neck every summer; Terri Janicks, who was the girl in Janicks General Store and was his closest friend in the island; Ed Bermoldi, who was the only cops in town and was told and being called by Mr. Coughlin (Owen’s father) to take care of Owen while he chose to stay in East Neck; Miss Devlin, who was a young woman and the proprietor of the summer hotel planned to rise in the same location where the Coughlin’s cottage is; Bill, Terri’s sister who with his friends are mad at Owen; Janicks Family, the owner of the Janicks General Store, the one-stop shop in town.
“A Place Called Ugly” is a story of adventure, family and coming-of-age theme. The story was set in Glenlow Island in Fairport (United States) particularly in East Neck. It was set at present time. Some notable locations include Norton Bay (along east Neck), The Point (residence of Miss Devlin) and the summer house itself where most of the story are set. The book has attributes of being funny in texts, direct-to-the-point story, meaningful dialogues and teenage direction. It was written in the first person point of view, except for the flashbacks. The main character is trying to persuade Miss Devlin not to pursue with her plan and convince everyone that their house and everything in the location is beautiful. The story concluded with Owen’s failure and continuation of the demolition although for some reasons, he became mature enough to admit the reality. He loved the place because of the memories of the past summers and the ones that are yet to come.
To wrap up, I can say that the book makes a good read because of its relevance to the usual behavior and mind set of an adolescent. I like the book because of the impact of its plot in addition to the appealing title, nice cover art and unique style. The style that made its best points are chapters titled after the days of the week and the flashing back of the summer memories randomly with the last and the latest one leading to the present time. The only things amiss are the boring conversations in the first few pages as there was a weak emphasis on the dialogues of Terri and Owen.
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