The Man Without the Face – Isabelle Holland
Charles is a fourteen years old boy, who never really cared about school. He spents every summer with his two sisters, Meg and Gloria, and his mother in a village.
In this village lives a man called Mc Leod. One side of his face is covered in burns.That is why he is called The Man without the Face. The people in the village are gossiping about him. The rumour is that he used to be a teacher and had a car accident.
The summer Charles is fourteen, Gloria decides not to go to boarding school in spring. Charles was counting on her to go, because he really hated her and he couldn’t bear to have her around him all the time. So Charles decided to go to school himself. The problem was that he flunked the exam, so he couldn’t get in. The only solution was to take another exam. So he did.
He planned to study all summer long, but after a while he realized he wouldn’t make it on his own. His little sister Meg proposed to ask Mc Leod to coach him. At first Charles thought of this as a ridiculous idea, but later on he realized that he didn’t have much of a choice.
So he asked Mc Leod if he wanted to coach him. At first Mc Leod didn’t want to help and the answer was no. Charles was desperate and begged him to help. Eventually Mc Leod said yes, but on the condition that he would do whatever he said without asking any questions. Charles agreed.
Mc Leod coached him three hours a day and gave him homework. He was very detached and only talked when absolutely necessary.
Charles learned a lot and every day he came to know a little bit more about Mc. Leod.
Mc Leod told him more and more about himself. Charles spent almost the whole day at Mc Leods house and they became real friends. He began to see him like a father. He could talk to Mc Leod about his real father, who had left him when he was young and about his problems with his mother and Gloria. Charles, who never had much friends, felt like he was in a ‘golden cocoon’. He didn’t care about anything but his friendship with Justin, as he names Mc Leod after a while.
But Charles’ golden cocoon broke, when he passed the exams and went to St. Matthews. He wasn’t able to see Justin any more now and he missed him a lot.
A couple of months later he went back to Mc Leods house to meet him again, but when he got there the house was empty. He stayed there for a while, until Barry, his mothers new husband, came to get him. Barry tells Charles that Justin died a few weeks ago.
Then Charles decides to go back to school, because Mc Leod would have wanted it that way.
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