Cover Image: The Ugly Cry

The Ugly Cry

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Member Reviews

Interesting and at times funny memoir. I really enjoyed the portrayal of the grandmother, who, as the author forewarns, is anything but a sweet old lady. Instead, she is tough, salty, and pretty unsympathetic to her grandkids.
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Danielle Henderson is a mid-40s African-American woman who has had a career as an author and editor, and she has led a fascinating life. In The Ugly Cry, she reveals all the pain and hurt she endured as a child and tells the reader in EXCRUCIATING detail stories about what happened, who was there, and how it affected her.

Danielle and her one-year-older brother Cory had a mother who cared more about the men in her life than she did about her own children. Victims of various categories of abuse (including violence, sexual abuse, and emotional trauma), their mother dropped them off at their grandparents’ house one day, and they never lived with her again. Although Dani’s abuse and suffering was severe, it is the abandonment by her mother that seems to have left the deepest scars.

The book isn’t all sadness and trauma — it’s actually filled with humor despite the rough daily life  the author and her brother endured. Their grandparents took them in and provided a relatively safe and stable environment. Dani’s grandmother in particular is a memorable character. As Dani tells it, “I’ve never seen my  grandmother bake a cookie, wear a shawl, give good advice, or hug a child unprompted. I have, however, heard her curse so intensely I swear she was making some of them up on the spot, watched her obsess over horror movies with an academic intensity, and listened to her frequent lectures about the reasons every woman should not only carry a knife at all times but fully be prepared to use it: ‘A man wants to put his hands on you? Carry a little secret knife. Cut his throat. Ask questions later.’ ” It’s a triumph that Dani has made a successful life for herself. Her beloved grandmother, now living with dementia, is still alive and Dani thanks her profusely for helping them grow into adulthood. 

Overall, there is much in this book to tear at the reader’s heartstrings, along with celebrating the success of Dani’s accomplishment. For me, this evoked the same kind of admiration and wonder as other memoirs including Educated and The Glass Castle (both of which I loved). and thanks to Penguin Group/Viking and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for this honest review. Five stars,
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Absolutely amazing story, both heartbreaking and and a tale of survival. The author writes thoughtfully, staying true to her voice, saying a ton and also knowing she held back.
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The Ugly Cry shares the story of Danielle Henderson’s survival of her tumultuous childhood and the trauma she endured. It is a story that allows other survivors of child abuse to remember that they are not alone. This story is very relatable for anyone who grew up in the same time period in terms of the anecdotes of what it was like to be a child in the 80’s and I enjoyed the view of the world through her eyes. I think I would have enjoyed a bit more at the end of the story because it did feel like it ended pretty abruptly and I wanted to know more. It took me a few chapters to get into the rhythm of the story Danielle Henderson was telling us, but once I did I just needed to keep turning the page. 

Thank you NetGalley for this free ARC in exchange for my review.
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Growing up is hard. There are no ifs, ands or buts about. Now add factors such as growing up black, female and without a mother. a hard life but one that author Danielle Henderson demonstrates with strength in "The Ugly Cry," a memoir of resilience and inner strength. Danielle's mother left her for an abusive boyfriend when the girl was only 10. Her raising was left to her grandparents, especially her foul-mouthed, horror movie-loving grandmother. With a well-written mix of humility, humor and survival, the author recounts the identity crisis of being a teenager in a mostly white neighborhood. Without her family's often misguided, but always loving example, Henderson could have followed many paths, including one like her mother's self-destruction. Instead, she learned to embrace her uniqueness, her inner strength, turning ugly cries into life-changing opportunities.
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Danielle Henderson's "Ugly Cry" is a touching portrayal of a girl growing up in challenging circumstances. Clear-eyed and brutally honest, Henderson's engaging voice captures and enraptures the reader. This is a deeply affecting book with unforgettable people.
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I received a copy from Netgalley.

Danielle Henderson did not have the easiest of childhoods. The Ugly Cry is her story growing up as an outcast in New York. She was abandoned by her mother, abused, poor, and stuck out in every possible way as one of the few black families in her white neighborhood. Even her brother tried to murder her when she was a baby. In spite of all the trauma she had the love of her grandmother which helped her become a successful adult. Her stories of growing up as a child of the 80's will resonate with many.
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**Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for an early digital copy of this book in exchange for my review.

I always feel completely honored to read memoirs where the author shares their trauma and triumphs and this book was no different. I was an honor to read/hear Danielle Henderson's personal story. She shared it matter-of-factly and often with great humor. 

That being said, I struggled with this book technically. I felt like it lacked cohesion between chapters and even within anecdotes. It also ended abruptly. I think this book really could've benefited from reorganization... but it was still an okay read.
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What a fun, heartwarming, heartbreaking, and utterly compelling memoir. Henderson's voice is familiar and engaging - she draws the people in her life with realism and compassion, and admirable empathy. Though her youth was marked with tragedy and trauma, she was still able to find the fun and humor in life and share it with us. Read this if you were the weird kid who just wanted to read. Read this if your parents chose someone else over you. Read this if your grandmother defies stereotypes. Read this if you were a first-generation college kid. Read this if you are looking for a book about a cool person who thrived despite a difficult upbringing. Read this if you are looking for something good to read!

I could not put this down, and I even ordered a signed copy for myself despite having gotten a free ARC. The only thing I didn't like about this memoir was that it ended to soon. I hope Henderson continues writing her story, because I definitely want to read it.
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The characters in the book grabbed me from the first page.  It is a story of a young girl who was left by her mother.  Her mother was very young when she was born and had her brother shortly thereafter and followed her father even though they weren't really wanted.  When they returned to their home town they stayed with grandparents until they got on their feet, and they did.  They had a nice little apartment and a nice little life, until Luke moved in.  Luke was an addict and abusive in many ways.  Eventually the children went to grandma's for a sleepover and mom never came back.  It is a story of survival when you don't feel like you fit in anywhere, no one wants you and no one knows your true story.  It was heartbreaking and loving.  The smart mouthed grandma was my favorite character. Some readers were probably appalled by her but she reminded me of my nana.  The only reason I didn't give this book 5 stars is it ended abruptly.  You were told how life worked out for the girl but not how.
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This book - emotional rollercoaster. Amazing writing. One of the best memoirs I have read. Ever. 
As a survivor of child abuse including sexual abuse, oh this book hit all the feels. Reading saved me as well - books, thirst for knowledge and good grades in school as a means to freedom. 
This book is a love letter - not only to her younger self but to her grandmother.  Breathtakingly gorgeous and emotional.  
Danielle recounts her first 18 years as a forty something adult. Her mother's return to her mother's house with Danielle's older brother, pregnant belly.
Danielle's life consisted of her grandmother's house for the first few years,  until her mother moved them into an apartment. Later she begins dating Luke - the man of violence and abuse. 
Until finally at the age of 10, Danielle is dumped at her grandmother's; a temporary solution that became long term, granting Danielle the love, stability and safety she desperately needed. 
The love, laughter, sadness,  abuse. 
The harsh honesty of this book.
One of the best books I've read.
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The Ugly Cry is a terrific read. Henderson is only a few years younger than me so I enjoyed reading all,the cultural references she made in her memoir. She had a tumultuous childhood with the one central force that grounded her, her grandmother. I loved reading about her grandmother. She was the rock star of the book. I loved her attitude, salty language, and how she reared two grandkids. I admired the author’s determination and drive to get out of her home town. Although dumped by her own mother, Henderson did have a mother, her grandmother, who loved her, even if she didn’t express it often.
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The Ugly Cry is a visceral telling of how someone survives a heap of trauma and keeps going in spite of it. Danielle Henderson has managed to turn her unconventional upbringing into a memoir that is both funny and heartbreaking and exploding in personality. 

You're gonna root so hard for this girl. I'm so proud for her that this book exists.
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When Danielle Henderson was ten, her mother left her and her brother in the care of her grandparents in order to start a new family with a drug-addicted, abusive boyfriend. This book, which is at turns hilarious, harrowing and heartbreaking, follows Danielle’s childhood both before and after her abandonment.  

Henderson’s writing is funny and engaging, but also raw and honest as she probes some of the most painful moments of her childhood. At the heart of the story is Danielle’s relationship with her grandmother, who, although she can be rough, sharp-tongued and profane, clearly loves her grandchildren fiercely, a love which ultimately saves Danielle’s life and sanity. The memoir also touches on themes such as growing up a latchkey kid in the 80s, growing up black in a mostly-white suburb, and the sometimes-tough-love lessons of self-reliance that Danielle also learns from her grandmother. 

A compellingly-written memoir, and a voice I’m very interested in hearing more from. 

TW: Child abuse, violence, molestation
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An astounding account of trauma and triumph. Danielle Henderson is masterful at recounting a childhood scarred by abuse and abandonment. And while the subject matter might get dark, she imbues each page with warmth and humor. It's hard not to root for her while reading, as she's deserving of all the success she's earned.
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I read this book in two sittings. It was so beautifully written. I was heartbroken when it ended, I had become so engrossed in the story that getting to the last line surprised me!
I thoroughly enjoyed the author's voice and wish it had been double the length. I admire her and wish I could have been her friend growing up. She is a special person.
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