The most beautiful things are born in pressure and birthed through pain. Pain is the silent author behind thousands of great stories and songs. Edie’s story is born of pain and rejection—it is raw-throated and broken open; it is fragile and strong and bright. It is ten thousand fireflies dancing over a Tennessee field. And Edie is masterful in the telling. Read this book—but more than that, open your soul and let this book read you.
All the Pretty Things is a transparent journey into the heart of a little girl whose broken father is her hero. I haven’t read a memoir like this since The Glass Castle. It takes you to the hard places, and those places bring you home. Highly recommended.
Through Edie’s blog we’ve come to know her as a gracious, joyful soul with a passion for loving and serving others. Now within these pages we meet the innocent little girl who loved with a brave fierceness, and we champion her on as she gracefully walks through fire time and time again. We cheer alongside the perpetual cheerleader as she dusts off the ashes and holds forth with an open, hospitable hand a crown of beauty adorned with all the pretty things.
Edie Wadsworth drops the needle on her life’s record and lets it play. The result is a vernacular collection of moments both beautiful and terrible; in other words, intensely human. Each reader will hear it a bit differently, but I was struck by two constant refrains: The Father will never forsake us, and there’s something hauntingly precious about a daddy. Thanks, Edie.
Edie’s memoir is a rare gem in this world of books, one where I actually felt like I was growing up right alongside her. You will laugh and cry and cheer and be dismayed. Her storytelling is gripping, and it is easy to find ourselves in her shoes, looking for all the pretty things in this harsh world as we live each day, putting one foot in front of the other. The pinnacle of this piece of art are her encounters with the fiery pursuit of God—the same relentless pursuit He uses to come after you and me, no matter how we try to burn it all down.
I looked forward to reading Edie’s memoir from the day I learned she was writing it. In All the Pretty Things, she shares the story of her impoverished childhood in the Appalachian foothills of Tennessee with truth and vulnerability, weaving together feelings common to childhood with experiences unique to her situation. You’ll ache for Edie as a little girl, starved both for food and the time and attention of the daddy she adores. The desire for a father’s love and approval doesn’t decrease with time and age, as Edie learns through the struggle and striving of her teen and adult years.
All the Pretty Things is a reflection on the importance of family and the sacred duty of parent to child; the hunger for an earthly father that sometimes only our heavenly Father can fulfill; and the truth that earthly riches are no guarantee of happiness—and how easily they can all go up in smoke.
All the Pretty Things is one of those books that will stay with me for a long time. I knew going into it that I’d be captivated by Edie’s story, but what I didn’t expect is how much I’d fall in love with her people. Her affection for those people, in the midst of heartache and hardship and hilarity and everything in between, makes the already vivid images in this book just flat-out leap off the page. And then there’s this: All the Pretty Things is unlike anything I’ve ever read—part Southern gothic, part C. S. Lewis, part pure poetry, and every single bit of it 100 percent gut-level-honest Edie Wadsworth. This book is beautiful, heartbreaking, charming, and redemptive, and now that I’ve finished reading it, I’m more awed by the author—and the Author of it all—than ever before. You will be too. Don’t miss it.
Within twenty-four hours of receiving Edie’s book, I had read it from cover to cover. She warmly drew me into her story with her Southern charm and wit, and yet pierced my heart with the painful childhood memories of personal wounds left on her by her father. I was in awe of her strength throughout her struggles that would have left most of us in a crumpled up mess. Her story is one of enduring, hopeful love of a little girl for her earthly father, and the relentless, redemptive love of a heavenly Father for his beloved daughter.
Edie Wadsworth is an observer of people, a lover of words, and a masterful storyteller. All those qualities converge to make All the Pretty Things one of the best memoirs I’ve ever read. I sat down with the intention of reading the first few chapters and looked up hours later to realize I’d finished the entire thing. And her story, her people, and her heart stayed with me for days afterward. You will find yourself alternately cheering, laughing out loud, and crying, but I guarantee you won’t be able to walk away unmoved.