Published by Amy Harmon on October 2
Ambrose Young was beautiful. He was tall and muscular, with hair that touched his shoulders and eyes that burned right through you. The kind of beautiful that graced the covers of romance novels, and Fern Taylor would know. She'd been reading them since she was thirteen. But maybe because he was so beautiful he was never someone Fern thought she could have...until he wasn't beautiful anymore. Making Faces is the story of a small town where five young men go off to war, and only one comes back. It is the story of loss. Collective loss, individual loss, loss of beauty, loss of life, loss of identity. It is the tale of one girl's love for a broken boy, and a wounded warrior's love for an unremarkable girl. This is a story of friendship that overcomes heartache, heroism that defies the common definitions, and a modern tale of Beauty and the Beast, where we discover that there is a little beauty and a little beast in all of us.
Making Faces was one of my Favorites of 2013!
I have been listening to the Audio Version of this and so far, I am loving it! It is $2.99 for a limited time!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
They say time heals all wounds. But I disagree. Unconditional love, acceptance, and laughter, combined heal wounds. Amy Harmon shows us in this remarkable book, that we are not lone entities wandering this earth. We are put here for a reason. We influence the lives of people daily. It is up to us to accept the challenge. Will we be strong like Hercules? We will stand and battle, for ourselves and for others? Or will we walk through life weak, broken, and blame-filled?
This is a story of two heroes and a heroine.
“I am only one. But still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.” Edward Everett Hale
Bailey, wheelchair bound because of a life-threatening disease, pushes through life with his head held high, full of laughter, and encouraging words. Even with the threat of death looming over him, he doesn’t dwell, doesn’t become angry, doesn’t become bitter. He handles the life he was given with grace and dignity. While he has his weak moments, he pulls himself back up and continues.
“Because terrible things happen to everyone, Brosey. We’re all just so caught up in our own crap that we don’t see the shit everyone else is wading through.”
Fern is our heroine. Amazingly strong in her own way, despite her fragile looking body and a face that others look past. Incredibly sensitive, caring and full of love, she is Bailey’s best friend, caretaker, and cousin. These two people have a bond of friendship that most people search their lives for. Their unconditional love for each other is beautiful. Fern is also filled with love for our other hero, Ambrose. She has loved him since she was a child. Although he doesn’t notice her because she is not beautiful. She was plain:
“Small and pale, with bright red hair and forgettable features. Fern knew she was the kind of girl who was easily overlooked, easily ignored, and never dreamed about.”
But Ambrose was the kind of boy who inspired dreams. Dreams from Fern, as she replaced him with the heroes in the romance novels she reads, as well as the dreams from the community in which he lived, that their golden boy, their Hercules would make them proud. Ambrose didn’t like this pressure, it was too much, too consuming. He wanted to be free, to be his own man, to not have to worry about State Championships, and which college would offer him the best deal. He was afraid to fail.
“Everybody who is somebody becomes nobody the moment they fail.”
It is this fear of failing, and the desire to not have to prove himself to anyone anymore, that moved Ambrose to enlist. He, along with his 4 other friends, were eventually shipped out to fight the war caused by the 9/11 tragedy. While there, a horrible tragedy caused Ambrose to return seriously injured, and disfigured, and caused the death of his friends. We see Ambrose struggle with his new reality. He struggles with guilt of being the only to return, and guilt of having encouraged his friends to enlist with him.
Through unconditional love, support, and laughter, Ambrose, with the help of Bailey, and Fern, not only adjusts, and accepts his new reality, but becomes a better man. He realizes that beauty is skin deep. He finally sees Fern for who she is and through that he realizes she is beautiful. I found it touching when he realized he had hurt Fern all those years ago in high school. He finds her poem about herself and identifies with it now that his once very handsome face, is horrifically disfigured.
“If God makes all our faces, did he laugh when he made me?”
The slow build of self-discovery and of the relationship between Ambrose and Fern is truly beautiful. The friendship that develops between the three his heart warming. I cried, and I laughed, and I was filled with joy. I was on an emotional roller coaster as I read this book. Once in a while I come across a book that I love so much that it follows me in my dreams and my thoughts. I will not forget this one.
*My review was originally written in November of 2013 and posted on Goodreads. When I started my blog a year ago, there were a few reviews I missed in the transfer, this was one of them.*
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