The Man without a Face

The Man without a Face

4.7 8
by Isabelle Holland, Asabelle Holland

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Charles didn't know much about life ... until he met The Man Without a Face

"I'd never had a friend, and he was my friend; I'd never really, except for a shadowy memory, had a father, and he was my father. I'd never known an adult I could communicate with or trust, and I communicated with him all the time, whether I was actually talking to him or not. And I

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Charles didn't know much about life ... until he met The Man Without a Face

"I'd never had a friend, and he was my friend; I'd never really, except for a shadowy memory, had a father, and he was my father. I'd never known an adult I could communicate with or trust, and I communicated with him all the time, whether I was actually talking to him or not. And I trusted him ......

Fourteen-year-old Charles desperately wants two things: a father and a way out. Little love has come his way until the summer he befriends a mysterious scarred man named Justin McLeod, nicknamed ""The Man Without a Face." Charles enlists McLeod's help as tutor for the St. Matthew's school entrance exams, his ticket away from the unpleasant restrictions of his home life. But more important than anything he could get out of a book, that summer Charles learns from McLeod a stirring life lesson about the many faces of love.'Not much affection had come Charles's way until the summer he was fourteen, when he met McLeod [a man whose face was deeply scarred] and learned that love has many facets.' —BL. 'A highly moral book, powerfully and sensitively written; a book that never loses sight of the human." —H.

1972 Best Books for Young Adults (ALA)
Best of the Best Books (YA) 1970-1983 (ALA)
Outstanding Children's Books of 1972 (NYT)

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Trophy Keypoint Book Series
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 7.00(h) x 0.32(d)
740L (what's this?)
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

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Chapter One

It was the summer I was fourteen that I came to know The Man Without a Face. Everybody called him that for the obvious reason. Nobody was quite sure how it had happened, although the prevailing theory was a car accident plus exploding gasoline. He came in his ancient car to the village near our summer cottage to shop once a week and would stalk into the grocery as though he didn't know that everyone in sight was carefully avoiding looking at him.

The first week we were up there for vacation we almost collided with him as we came out of the grocery. Grudgingly he held the door for Mother. He didn't offer to carry any of the heavy bags filled with groceries. The moment we were through, the door slammed behind us.

"You'd think," Mother said, piling bags in the back of the station wagon, "that he'd do something about it. After all. There is plastic surgery. That' s what it's for. Not just Aunt Tandy's face-lift. " Aunt Tandy was one of the staples of the summer community. Unkind people said she'd had her face lifted so often that they used a zipper instead of stitches.

"Gruesome," Gloria said. She had come along to the village for the ride so that she could linger over one diet soda at the malt shop in case her current interest, known as Peerless Percy, happened along. Gloria's my sister and one of the main reasons I wanted to get away from home. And now, thanks to her last-minute change of mind, I was in a real mess.

Until this summer Gloria, who is almost seventeen, was going away to boarding school which was why I didn't strain myself about getting into St. Matthew's where, according to family tradition, I was supposed to go atfourteen. With Gloria gone, life would be bearable at home. But then, right before school closed, she finked out and said she didn't want to go to boarding school in the fall after all, after I had more or less deliberately flunked the St. Matthew's entrance exams.

When Mother told me about Gloria's not leaving, I nearly blew my lid. "She's been going to go to that blasted school all her life," I said. "I've been counting on it."

"Well, she's not going now. She says she'd rather stay at home. Frankly, Chuck, I'm delighted. And it wouldn't be such a bad idea if you tried to get on with her. She's older and-let's face it-brighter than you are and can help you a lot with the subjects you seem to be failing. "

Tact wasn't one of Mother's strong subjects. But knowing that Gloria's IQ tests always came out at about genius level (at least that's what Mother told her friends), and mine just average, didn't bug me as much as some other things.

"I don't want to be helped," I said. "Not by Gloria," and split before I got the usual arguments.

That was in the spring. Now it was summer, with still no solution in sight...

Mother and I drove back to the cottage, winding along

the shore road. Our community isn't grand enough to sport a yacht club, but there's a white frame house built along one edge of the harbor that acts as a sort of club' for the summer people, most of whom have small boats of one kind or another. I was, as usual, thinking about my problem.

"I've got to go to St. Matthew's," I said, after a while.

"Well, you had your chance and you muffed it. You sat for the entrance exam and you flunked it. So how are you going to manage it?"

Yes, how? She had me there, and we both knew it.

As we drove back to the cottage I felt a general depression settle down over me, and took refuge in what I hoped was a dignified silence, glancing in the rear-view mirror every now and then to see if she noticed.

Mother's very pretty-curly brown hair and brown eyes and a triangular face. People say it's like a cameo -- whatever that is. Gloria looks like her and so does Meg, my younger sister. I look like my father, with blond straight hair, kind of greenish eyes and what my last stepfather, The Hairball, used to call a stupid expression. That was after he and Mother decided to divorce. Until then he had tried to be a pal. Mother said once, shortly after they had separated a year ago, and after she had had two martinis and was beginning a third, that I was one of the reasons for the divorce.

"He's marvelous with boys, Chuck. Everyone except you. The kids on the campus liked him. He could always talk to them when they turned off most older people. And I really thought he'd be great for you, since you need a father so badly. But trying to reach you is like trying to break into the First National Bank. Nowhere. You just sit there with that...that..." She was trying not to say "stupid," because one of the analysts at school had told her she shouldn't use value judgments on me like that. But her control wasn't the greatest at that minute. "That stupid took, Charles. And the best man in the world can only take so much of that."

I shrugged. That's one of the things I've learned how to do really well. It saves a lot of trouble and it drives both Mother and Gloria up the wall.

"Don't shrug your shoulders at me," Mother said, her voice rising, as it always does when she has a few drinks.

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Man Without A Face (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
i just finished reading my book. and it was great. its very emotinal in the ending i never see that coming. The story is about a boy who needs love which he doesnt get at home. He wants to go to a school but needs to pass a test thats when justin( the man without a face) comes in a helps him. they both find love and friendship in each other. Justin has a scar half of his face is burn in an accident. Chuck finds love like if justin was a father to him. I like how the author describes the characters. the theme of the book is Friendship comes when least expected. I reacommend to read the book.
songcatchers More than 1 year ago
The Man Without a Face does indeed have a face. Justin McLeod, a hermit and an ex-teacher, had half of his face badly burned in an accident. When 14 year old Charles asks for his help tutoring him for an entrance exam to a boarding school, they both get more than they bargained for. Love and friendship. This short novel is beautiful and very moving. Young Charles looks up to Justin in many different ways. "I'd never had a friend, and he was my friend; I'd never really, except for a shadowy memory, had a father, and he was my father. I'd never known an adult I could communicate with or trust, and I communicated with him all the time, whether I was actually talking to him or not. And I trusted him ......" The Man Without a Face is about many different kinds of love as well as guilt and regret. It's about a confused and troubled young man looking for freedom. One of the most important lessons Charles learns from Justin that summer is this: "You can be free from everything but the consequences of what you do." This is a very touching book and I also highly recommend the movie from 1993 staring Mel Gibson.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Man without a Face by Isabelle Holland is a realistic fiction novel. This book has a very good story to it. I enjoyed the reality of everything, and the strange but warm relationship between Chuck and McLeod. I also really enjoyed McLeod¿s wit and sharpness, plus scenes when Chuck is happy and feels free. This book is very well-written, in my opinion.
The setting of the book is on a beach somewhere in the U.S, and a pretty modern story, but maybe some years back. The major conflict in the book would be shown from the beginning of the book. Chuck, his mother, and his sister, Gloria¿s relationship, and how Chuck feels that he is always being ganged up on. Their relationship is saddening to me in the beginning of the story. Chuck deals with this by desperately wanting to get away, even if it means boarding school. He goes so far as to take a risk of letting McLeod collaborate with him so that he can get freedom from his mother and his sister, which means getting into a boarding school. Plus, in the book, you will see Chuck rebelling against his family at times. The author¿s style is to make the book as real as possible, and not have times in the book where Chuck is in despair the whole time until the end, or have the ending be the happy ending everybody expects. She writes the book from Chuck¿s perspective. The author gave each character a personality that you would find in real life.
I would recommend this book to people that enjoy reading realistic fiction or books that people can relate to. Somebody that tries to get a lot out of book should read The Man without a Face. This book tells about Chuck¿s summer, and includes the little details in his life. Girls and boys could read this book, young or old. This book is very realistic, interesting, well-written and just a fantastic book! You should definitely read it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a great book!, after seeing the movie I said to myself I have to read this book, so I picked it up and read it and it was great, very sad ending. I recoumend it both the movie and the book were touching.
Guest More than 1 year ago
That was a wonderful book! It brought me to tears so many times. I am disappointed, however, that I saw the movie before I read the book. The movie was excellent, too, and Mel Gibson is, in my opinion , the best actor out there. Who knew he could be such a wonderful director, as well? Anywho, I really enjoyed this book, and I encourage anyone to read it. It broke my heart, however, at the unfairness and the injustice that was dealt to the characters in this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In ¿The Man without a Face¿, by Isabelle Holland. Charles, the main character tries to pass a test so that he can go to a private school. He tries so hard to do it because his sister, Gloria gives him hard a time. That is what he thinks anyway. He feels that his mom doesn¿t love him. The only two family members that he likes are his sister, Megan, and his father well the memory of him. His father was gone when he was a little kid. Charles doesn¿t know how to study for the test. By this point in the book the man without a face appears. Megan tells Charles that she may know a man that can coach him. Charles goes to the man without a face and asks him for help that he gets. Charles hates the Justin (the man without a face) because he is hard on him. As the book goes along Charles hates Gloria more and more, and likes Justin more and more. The climax of the book happens when Gloria gives a bunch of pictures of his dad. After this Charles found out that his dad was an alcoholic.

This book was well written. The author did a good job on describing every single detail, for example she describes how strong, tall and ugly Justin was. She did a good job in turning a dark character (Justin) into a friend and a father. Charles look up to Justin like kids look up their dads. The message in the book is that friendship can come when we least expect it.

Guest More than 1 year ago
I just watched the movie again, and now I'm buying the book (which I read awhile ago). It nearly gets to the heart of the same lesson that Ms. Holland expressed with beauty and ease. But then SHE was honest about the relationship, and Mel couldn't quite handle that.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Man Without a Face is great. I hate reading, but I couldn't stop reading this book. The best part was how you can use your imagination to visualize the settings. It touched me because the 14 years old boy became friend with an adult. I found it hard to have an adult friend while you are still a teenager. But it is possible. I've seen the movie version starring Mel Gibson. Both versions are good but I think I like the book's ending better.