Oh, Laura Wiess, why do you have to keep making me either cry or at least tear up from your books?
Although perhaps I wouldn't say that Ordinary Beauty was so much on the masterpiece level as How It Ends, still this book was powerful past words on pages. And I think I can also say that its heroine, Sayre, was my favorite out of all four Laura Wiess books. Hanna from How It Ends occasionally annoyed me, in fact: because of the dynamics of that story, it wasn't necessary to believe in her and care for her as much as it was for Sayre. From early on, Sayre wins you over with what almost appears as bleak optimism as she trudges through snow and pain to not continue the cycle of hurt that made up her childhood.
As the book develops, there are quick and vague explanations of Sayre's past that eventually ease into full narration of her history and the people she has known. It's a perfect connection between past and present, between what Sayre admits about her life in the beginning and what she reveals in the end.
Naturally, it's another heartbreaking book. But the emergence that occurs in it is also very encouraging and very applicable: "ordinary beauty" is about seeing the wonderfulness of a simple, full day. It's about love and appreciation and about first seeing and then basking in the ordinary beauty: that is what ends the cycles of violence, hopelessness, flatness, and pain.