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The Man Without a Face

3.78  ·  Rating Details ·  552 Ratings  ·  50 Reviews
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....
Paperback, 160 pages
Published June 30th 1987 by HarperTeen (first published 1972)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,118)
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Joshua D.
Oct 20, 2011 Joshua D. rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The Man Without a Face is about a 14 year old boy named Charles who, while spending the summer at his family's beach house, asks the local recluse (Justin McLeod) to tutor him. McLeod is nicknamed by the local kids, the "man without a face" because he was terribly burned in a car accident a number of years before. The story is told from Charles' viewpoint, and explores the complicated relationships within his family, and eventually, with McLeod. Charles is struggling to deal with his a absence o ...more
Apr 05, 2010 Katie rated it it was amazing
The movie based on this book is one of my favorite movies, but it makes some changes to avoid controversy. Having loved the movie for years and just recently reading the book, I can safely say the book is better. The voice of the narrator is realistic, funny, and witty. The family dynamics are well drawn and the book avoids what the movie didn't: tying everything up too neatly.
Jan 27, 2008 Melissa rated it really liked it
I can't decide if I like this better than the movie. The "twist" in the book is definitely more risque, but I don't think a kid would pick up on it. Then again, I'm kind of a perv, so...
Oct 22, 2011 Stephen rated it really liked it
Having seen the movie and hearing about the controversy surrounding Mel Gibson playing the title role, I had still never read the book. I saw this copy on a clearance table at Haslam's Bookstore and the 75 cent price appealed to me. It was also somehow fitting that this copy had a scarred front cover.

The story deals with a teen-aged guy in an otherwise all female household who's looking to escape to a boarding school but he's tanked the entrance exams and when the family goes to a coastal town i
Aug 24, 2010 Andrew rated it really liked it
This book concerns the experiences of a 14 year-old spending his summer with his family in a perfect upper-class "summering" location. He has isolated himself emotionally from his family both through conceived (and demonstrated) persecution of him as being "stupid", and his lack of understanding of who he is related to the fact that he has no father figure (his siblings too, as they are all half-brothers/sisters through different marital experiments on their mother's part). The theme through thi ...more
Jun 04, 2010 James rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
This award-winning novel tells the story of a teenage misogynist and compulsive underachiever, Charles Norstadt (Chuck), who strains to pass his boarding school entrance exams the second time around and thereby escape the constraints of his much-married mother (castrating even in her desire to alter the cat which Chuck sees as ""just part of (her) wholesale plan for the taming and domesticating of the male species"") and nymphet sister. He finds a mentor in the horribly scarred and romantic recl ...more
Oct 22, 2008 Becky rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People who need people, or something like that. Aspiring pilots. Disfigured people. *chuckles*
Recommended to Becky by: Mel Gibson
I adored this movie when I saw it as a kid, and at some point in my childhood found the book and read it. I was kind of startled by the differences.. the way any hint of queer sexuality is excised from the movie-plotline. I think when I read it the first time I was so surprised that I didn't fully take in the book.

It's an excellent book. The characters are real, deftly rendered, and very compelling. It is also one of the few young adult books that deals directly and compellingly with adolescent
Micha Meinderts
Dec 02, 2011 Micha Meinderts rated it it was amazing
I've read this book a couple times before, the first time when I was rather young. I think it took me four times before I realised what went on between Chuck and Justin and then I marveled at how I could've missed it, being gay myself (even if I didn't really realise it at that age). Now, reading as a writer, I can see how I missed it because it is so wonderfully subtle. I'd love to be able to write so subdued as this. She has a wonderful grasp of character, only explaining the motives of Chuck ...more
Jan 02, 2012 Rmichael rated it really liked it
In 1972, when the novel was published, I was 9 years old but read the novel a few years later. At the time, and still, I greatly appreciated the novel and I liked both the main characters. I was pleased with the boys reaction to his teacher's orientation but with todays standards I'm irritated that the gay guy had to loose his face/job etc (all gay people seemed to be portrayed that way for far too long). In 1993 I was furious that the film took out any hint of gayness thus betraying what was a ...more
Jun 03, 2015 Thomas rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kyle Lewis
May 30, 2016 Kyle Lewis rated it really liked it
The Novel I read was The Man Without a Face written by Isabelle Holland and in this book the story revolves around a 14 year old boy named Charles who is living in a his summer home temporarily instead of their regular home in New York with his mother who has been divorced 4 different times and his older sister Gloria ,and younger sister Meg during their summer break from school. One day at the local supermarket him his mother and they run into a a local that is well known and nicknamed as "The ...more
Daniel Warmbold
Oct 18, 2007 Daniel Warmbold rated it liked it
Recommends it for: someone who likes fiction and is intersted in this book
It is obviously about a Man Without A Face. When he was a young adult there is many myths that he was in a car accident and his car explodded and his face was diformed. The other main myth is that he was a scientist and he was working with chemicals and it blew up in his face and deformed it. But i just started to read it recently so im trying to find out what happened to him so i waill keep you updated......
Feb 18, 2011 Devina rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone!
I just loved it!Charles a loner had finally found a father unexpectedly in 'The Man without a Face'.
In the end was sad, though I didn't think it ought to.What hapenned in the end,in my opinion, wasn't entirely necessary, but I guess Charles was left the wiser.
Jul 29, 2011 Marcos rated it it was amazing
Quite frankly one of the best young adult novels I've ever read. It is definitely an adult and complex young adult novel about self discovery, first and forbidden love, and how love transcends and defies stereotypes.
Serafina Sands
Sep 30, 2012 Serafina Sands rated it really liked it
this book was influential on me as a teen. The idea that you could love and connect with someone, who might have flaws or mismatches with you, who might in fact not be perfect, was huge.
Ashley Flynn
Feb 09, 2014 Ashley Flynn rated it liked it
Shelves: teen-book-club
This is really more of a 3.5 for me. The writing is simple, but it really provides the narrator a strong voice and conveys his personality well. In that regard, it reminds me a lot of The Catcher in the Rye. It was a compelling read and I had no trouble finishing it quickly. There is a lot of uncertainty around some of the main plot points, which should make for a good discussion with my book club, but as a reader I would maybe have liked a little more certainty. The ending came on a bit quickly ...more
Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder*
3.5 stars - I really liked this book up until the end. The very end almost made me give it two stars. Before the last chapter or so, I was tempted to give it 4.5 or even 5. Love the author's writing style and can't wait to seek out more of her stuff. The movie was actually better, which I figured because this book was so short and the movie so brilliant and indepth. There are some differences, but the main things remain the same. A beautiful and psychologically rich story, wonderful characteriza ...more
Mar 02, 2011 Lauren rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2011
Teniendo en cuenta que había visto la película de 1993 donde Mel Gibson daba vida al profesor Justin McCleod, no pude evitar adquirir este libro cuanto antes. Se lee rápidamente, ayer leí unas 80 páginas y hoy mismo me le he terminado. Vamos, que en una tarde os le leeis enseguida.

Lo que debo decir, para los que ya hayan visto la película, es que el final del libro y el de la película, además de algunas otras escenas han sido modificadas y no se parecen en nada. Aunque el final de la película es
Sep 14, 2013 Kirsten rated it liked it
At first, I didn't really like the protagonist of this novel at all. He's pretty misogynistic (somehow his older sister and mother are to blame for all of his problems, and he treats his younger sister as though she's absolutely useless), and he's also perfected the art of avoiding conflict by being passive and acting dumb, which is something that drives me insane in real people. As Chuck discovers his own humanity through his friendship with McLeod (his tutor, and the "man without a face" in th ...more
Tara Calaby
When I first started reading this, I called it a "poor man's Catcher in the Rye". As I got further into the novel, though, I began to like and respect it more. The protagonist's voice takes a while to adjust to and his misogyny is far from endearing, but there is a subtlety here that I enjoyed. The Man Without a Face was introduced to me as a novel for young adults that deals with GLBTQ themes but, while there definitely is an element of that within the novel, it's not a focus and (view spoiler) ...more
Jun 26, 2009 Duane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having seen the movie and always hearing the book was very different, I always wanted to read the book to see for myself. I took that opportunity yesterday and although most of the book goes along with the movie, there are huge differences in the relationship between the main characters. I love how the author gets us to slowly learn to love each of the characters. Even the unpleasent characters are very vivid in their reality due to the excellent writing of the author. Charles is fourteen and st ...more
Jun 01, 2008 Rebecca rated it it was ok
Shelves: young-adult
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 18, 2010 Mark rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction

I bought this as a sort of literary supplement to a project I'm working on about face research, but as it turns out, the plot has very little to do with the facial disfigurement the titular character has suffered, except to explain his isolation from others, and eventually to explain his tragic past.

This turned out actually to be a nearly 40-year-old coming of age story that is pretty entertaining, even if it has some flaws. Holland is writing at a time when "advanced" parents hardly ever discip
English Education
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 10, 2016 Denesia rated it it was amazing
I remembered reading this book during high school (worst years of my life XD) And shockingly I had so much in common with this character! We both have half siblings that are sisters, we both had to adjust to our mother's new marital status...the only difference is gender. I loved this book so much. I have to get my personal copy just because it helped me through a tough time.
Anne Hamilton
Aug 01, 2014 Anne Hamilton rated it liked it
Mr. McLeod is the 'man without a face', burnt in a car accident in which a boy was killed. But he is also the sci fi writer, Terence Blake. Chuck, desperate to escape home, hears that McLeod was once a teacher. So he gets him to tutor him for the entrance exam at St. Matthew’s.
Alan Cortijo
Nov 25, 2015 Alan Cortijo rated it really liked it
I think that overall the book was good but the only problem that I had was that it was a bit confusing and it just ended. It just ended on them driving through the gate and that was it,I would've liked it if it ended differently.
Jan 29, 2014 Jim rated it it was ok
I read this years ago as a teenager & recall it was pretty good, but there was some pretty creepy subtext, especially at the end, that ruined it for me. I've never had the urge to re-read it & skipped the movie starring Mel Gibson even though I heard it was pretty good.
Jun 27, 2010 Vonnie rated it it was ok
This is a coming of age story about a boy in a trouble home, having issues with sisters, his mother, & his mothers many husbands. After deliberately flunking an entrance exam for a private school, he decides he wants to get out of the house in the fall, so makes arrangements to be coached by the man without a face. There is a movie based on the book. I watched it years ago. I may see if I can find it & rewatch just to see how close the book & movie are. It does have a redeeming state ...more
May 04, 2014 Jubel rated it did not like it
I like the film but I think this book is not just my genre. There are parts of this book that I think McLeod molested Charles. And it's not okay in my part.
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Isabelle Christian Holland (born June 16, 1920 in Basel, Switzerland — died February 9, 2002) was an author of children and adult fiction. Her father was the American Consul in Liverpool, England during WWII. She moved to America in 1940 due to the war. She wrote Gothic novels, adult mysteries, romantic thrillers, and many books for children and young adults. She wrote over 50 books in her lifetim ...more
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