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The Most Beautiful Thing

3.62  ·  Rating Details  ·  451 Ratings  ·  69 Reviews
Meet Joe. 14 years old, obsessed with birds & the weather, and perplexed by humans. Spend the Summer in Amsterdam with his chaotic artist aunt Nel. Come back fifteen years later, witness a tragedy, and discover a secret which will change everything...
Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Published March 16th 2012 by Woodsmoke Press
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Snellopy It's the same person mate. She wrote it as Fiona Robyn, then became ordained as a Buddhist monk and changed her name, and went back and rebranded her…moreIt's the same person mate. She wrote it as Fiona Robyn, then became ordained as a Buddhist monk and changed her name, and went back and rebranded her writings(less)
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May 21, 2012 Anna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I received this giveaway in the mail, I couldn't stop touching the cover - whatever type of paper-finishing the publishers used felt like butter. I also was drawn into the cover design - simply the title, drawn with colored pencils, on a stark white background. Well, to me, the cover design and the paper choice, proved to be the foreshadowing of the story and the writer. The author writes like creamy, whipped butter and all the colors fading into and out each other made me think of Joe - fa ...more
Cheryl, The Book Contessa
What an unexpected story! I knew this would be a story of character development, but had no idea it would be an in-depth journey of discovery/depression for Joe, the main character! It was a really good book. Slow at times. I was unsure of where it was going at times. However, the last 1/3 of the book really took the reader into Joe's real life; into Joe's real head/and struggles with his lifelong depression. Some reviewers wrote they thought Joe may have Aspberger's syndrome. I think that was l ...more
Tina Smith
I quite liked the characters and the book was very easy to read - I finished it in two nights. Unfortunately something about it just didn't grab me. I can't really put my finger on what. The main protagonist was very likeable, I wondered if he had a level of aspergers - or if the point was supposed to be that he found comfort in facts and scientific analysis and couldn't combat his depression until he had embraced the emotional side of life.
The book has a gentle pace and is bittersweet. It treat
Ross Perchonok
Jun 07, 2012 Ross Perchonok rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This was just wrong... ok ok..I dig that the author belongs or runs a writers collective but there was no reason why this book had to prattle on meaninglessly.It could've been an ok short story but to make it a full blown novel with such an auspicious title was really misleading to me....yes, I chose this book partially based on its title;what a fool am I? The only thing that kept me reading was hope that the protagonist was going to eventually be diagnosed with Aspbergers syndrome which would ...more
May 14, 2012 Jessica rated it it was amazing
Wow. A book that deserves its title. It is a beautifully written story about depression, life, family and love. It proceeded along at its own gentle pace and there were no great surprising turn of events. It reads like one slow gradual crescendo till the end. I was really drawn by the characters as much as I was by the story.
Jan 19, 2013 Jackie rated it it was amazing
A beautiful, moving and uplifting book that covers puberty, dysfunctional relationships (both familial and sexual), friendship, first love, depression and loss.

There are very few characters, so I came to feel like I knew Joe and Nel very well. Joe aged 14 is solemn, moody, socially awkward, obsessive in his interests and utterly compelling.

Nel, the aunt he goes to stay with in Amsterdam that summer, is an artist with a love-life as colourful and chaotic as her small flat. And she's just what h
Jul 27, 2012 Camilla rated it it was ok
Shelves: free-kindle
((Freebie on Amazon/Kindle))

I admit it, I’ve had ‘stuff’ happen in my life – I still don’t want a book written about my life though, because you know what? My life is not that interesting, and I would feel bad for the people who, one day, got the book about my life as a freebie on Amazon/Kindle and then had to read about my life where, yes stuff happened, but it still wasn’t interesting.

If you can even understand that last part then that is how I feel about this book..

For the life of me I don’t
Oct 12, 2012 Arianna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
Wanted to give this 3.5 stars, really.

Perhaps it was intentional because of the nature of Joe's personality disorders, but I found it very, very difficult to identify with or feel much for him, or care much about what happened. I did love Nel! And I found the story to be intriguing, although at the same time, the main story point was kind of obvious to me from the start, and I just read waiting for the reveal (and maybe to learn if there was anything more to it, a bigger secret). I felt like I
Stephanie Karaolis
This is a rather lovely book, which I read in a single day (though I did have the advantage of being on holiday and spending most of that day on the beach!). I keep finding these books – like 600 Hours of Edward and The 10PM Question – which are hard to categorise but joys to read.

At 14, Joe is struggling to make sense of the world. His erratic mother and ineffective father constantly frustrate him, his friend Podge is becoming increasingly irritating, and girls are a mystery. He isn’t intereste
Jun 22, 2012 Frank rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was definitely "The most surprising thing". The book was nothing at all what I expected, even though I didn't delve into it with a lot of expectations to being with. We follow Joe, a fourteen year old boy, troubled by his family and by what I think is supposed to be a light degree of autism or asperger, as he visits his aunt Nel in Amsterdam.

It's a book with a small person gallery, which means that we get to know the main characters, Joe and Nel, rather well. I loved that. Both were really
Jul 16, 2012 Lynne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was drawn into this book when I started to read it - I liked 'The Letters' very much and really enjoy Fiona's postings and ideas. I was reading it on a train journey and just got to the second part. When I went back to it a couple of weeks later I just couldn't get back into it. Nel was really the only character I liked, and once she was gone, rather too conveniently I thought, I was just waiting to get to the end - for our reading group at the end of the week. I liked the Amsterdam setting, a ...more
May 31, 2012 Amanda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was the first book that I read of Fiona Robyn's and what an introduction to a writer. Joe's story had me enthralled from the start and it's been a while since I cared about a character so much. The writing seems effortless and the characters very real in all their confusion, pain and happiness. Sadly I finished it while travelling on the tube so couldn't have the proper cry that this book made me want to have. But I will read it again and now I know about the emotional punch it packs, will ...more
Jun 23, 2013 Adri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of those books that you just can't put down. This is so beautifully written. I find it difficult to conjure the right words for the emotions this story evokes.

At no point does the story ever feel contrived. It feels like it could have been written about you, or your cousin, it feels that realistic.

As I said, I find it difficult to describe why I have found this book so touching, but when I have ad the time to gather my thoughts about I will come back to this review.

In the meantime I recomm
May 13, 2012 Lee rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not at all my usual kind of read, I only embarked upon this because I follow the author's Writing Our Way Home blog and she was kindly offering it as a free download when it was first published. I honestly didn't think I was going to enjoy it, but despite all my reservations by the time I reached the end I realised I had been completely drawn in without realising it. The subject matter is still not my cup of coffee, but the thoughtful and descriptive story-telling won me over. In conclusion, it ...more
Artful Abuela
Mar 16, 2016 Artful Abuela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
joe salt , the protagonist of fiona robyn 19s 1Cthe most beautiful thing 1D, is a down to earth, flesh and bones character that takes the reader on a journey of self discovery through his seemingly marginal relationships with others. the story is engaging from the first page. even the peripheral details are well researched. (joe loves birds and clouds. i loved the scientific details interspersed throughout.) there is an innocence of abandon that permeates the pages and the author 19s characters ...more
Jul 23, 2015 Moshe rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read on JJ's Kindle. Interesting story through the eyes of a 14 year old - then 29 year old - person named Joe, who was deeply disturbed but learned to cope. I liked the insights into his way of thinking and his relationship with his "aunt." Lots of quirkiness throughout the storyline and most characters.

Amazon Review
How can he make sense of the world when he can’t even make sense of himself?

Joe is not like other boys. At 14 he is obsessed with birds and the weather – but to this sensitive and
May 25, 2014 Elaine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone. It is the story of Joe - who is different to everyone else - it is never actually stated in the book, but it seems likely to me, at any rate, that he has some high functioning autistic spectrum disorder and because the story is told completely from his perspective it can sometimes be a very moving read as you really do get into his head and start feeling for him and getting an understanding of just what makes him tick and why he reacts ...more
Jun 02, 2012 Diana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Joe is different. I don't know if it aspergers syndrome. Or maybe some kind of emotional immaturity, because he did seem, at the end, to be capable of emotional insight and growth. A cast of memorable, all-to-human characters and a muddled plot, untangle into a vignette of a life. We each have that spark of the holy--the most beautiful thing--in us. We just need to be reminded of it and honor it.
May 12, 2012 Jacqueline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are many books about depression. The words in this book are beautifully put together and describes that absolute inertia that slows the world and your breath when you're in the middle of depression. How nothing stops it until the head and heart are ready. The descriptions of Amsterdam are so exact I feel like I'm back on the Dam sipping coffee and walking towards the flower market. Beautiful.
Jul 09, 2012 Jamie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved most of this book- mainly because the characters were so original and the main male character's "voice ' was flawlessly executed. That said, this book- with such a strong beginning - fizzled out for me at the end. Everything was so beautifully complex and intricately written,, then suddenly over and wrapped a little too neatly in the end.
Carol Ann
Apr 25, 2012 Carol Ann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! Just finished your wonderful novel "The Most Beautful Thing!" Full of rich and quirky characters, intense family drama, multicultural influences, and the exploration of a deep and very important subject matter. Very well done, Fiona Robyn! I highly recommend this fabulous book! Thank you...
May 15, 2012 Curtis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-ebooks
I really liked the first section. Part II was harder to take. Seriously, I almost gave up on it in the middle. But I k pet at it and I'm glad that I did. It was worth it. I especially liked the image at the very end. I've seen that before, and it makes perfect sense to me.
May 23, 2012 Philippa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2012
Fiona Robyn never fails to create a world that draws you in. This is a gentle yet shrewdly constructed and vivid story, written with wisdom and compassion, tinged with sadness and humour. There is something so real about everything she does, that gets right to the heart.
May 04, 2012 Mustafa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very good written book that makes you think. I got it for free when there was a promotion on it but after finishing it, I think it is worth buying. Also, I see that it is cheap too! It is definitely worth the money.

Brandi Trevisan
Lovely, vivid, capturing. I didn't want to stop reading this once I started. What a wonderful job of capturing the beauty and agony of family!
Sep 23, 2012 Genevieve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Easy read. Liked the relationships and coming of age story...deep thoughts here. Worth reading.
Jun 17, 2015 Hannah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed spending time in Amsterdam with Joe, and, unlike other reviewers, didn't mind the fact that the plot took its time developing. I thought Joe's characterisation was honest and for that reason interesting; his selfishness annoyed me at times but, as a 14 year old boy, I don't blame him. His irrational thinking in adulthood (without making it clear to the reader that these thoughts were indeed irrational) was a good way of showing what it is like to have depression and his illness was tre ...more
May 13, 2012 A~lotus rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Ages 13 or older
Recommended to A~lotus by: No one
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 13, 2012 Christine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An amazing read. Intense and emotional.
Jul 09, 2013 Snellopy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's difficult for me to review the book The Most Beautiful Thing, as for the majority of the time I was reading it, I was actually reading a completely different book. I've done this before once or twice, for example when one of my favourite Scifi authors branched out into a different genre and I missed that announcement - I kept waiting for the robots and aliens to show up. I stumbled across Satya Robyn as the curator of small stones: little bursts of happiness and observations of wonder. Rumm ...more
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Satya Robyn is a novelist living in Malvern, the UK. She wrote the best-selling 'The Most Beautiful Thing'. Her new novel is 'Afterwards' is out now. Her author site is here.

She founded Writing Our Way Home with her husband Kaspa and their mission is to help people connect with the world through writing.

She posts a short piece of observational writing called a small stone daily at a small stone.
More about Satya Robyn...

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“Do you know what people really want? Everyone, I mean. Everybody in the world is thinking: I wish there was just one other person I could really talk to, who could really understand me, who'd be kind to me. That's what people really want, if they're telling the truth.” 2 likes
“The world was full of extraneous rubbish.” 0 likes
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