This is a book review for Making Faces by Amy Harmon. Links here:
I give this book 5 big fat emotional stars.
It’s been a long time since I’ve written a review on the blog here, which should give you some idea of quite how special this book is. I wanted to only give it 4 stars, because some of it was a little overly saccharine, but the truth is that it would have been doing the book a massive disservice. Anything that made me cry for as long as this book did doesn’t deserve anything less than 5 stars.
It took me by surprise. The book was so much more than I was expecting. I thought it would be a Dear John kind of book – beautiful man goes away to war, comes back scarred and learns how to love and be loved again. It was all that, but it was so very much more.
I loved the characters. Fern was so easy to identify with – quirky and funny, giving and selfless, at the same time as managing to get herself all caught up in the kind of ridiculous situations that only teenagers can get themselves into. Ambrose was good too – the author captured the torn emotions of the situations she threw him into perfectly. I really liked that he wasn’t the stereotypical 2-dimensional American Jock that so many authors make the mistake of creating. Ambrose has empathy and he’s a nice guy underneath the popularity and shallow behaviour of some of his friends.
But the character that totally stole the show for me was Bailey. His humour and world-view were so special, poignant and warm that there were several moments where I had to put the book down and walk away so I didn’t make an idiot of myself blubbing at the office. My genetics lecturer at uni was a leading world expert in DMD. I’ve never been able to forget an afternoon lecture where she brought in one of her patients to speak to us. He was sixteen years old and already in a wheel chair. He’d watched his two older brothers die of the condition. Neither had made it past twenty-one. His attitude was so matter-of-fact and fearless in the face of the fact that he was dying, that all of us left that lecture hall profoundly altered. I think about him often, whenever I have to remind myself that life is too short to spend it unhappy or not to chase my dreams. Whenever I realise that he must surely by dead by now, it breaks my heart a little. So yeah…Bailey was an amazing character to read.
All in all, this is a book about love and loss. It’s a book about the value of life and learning how to live it. It’s a book about how beauty is from within, not from without. It’s a book about loyalty and the kind of friendships that can transcend anything.
As mentioned above, it’s not perfect. But read it, all of you. You won’t be disappointed.