This is a story that is full of humor, tenderness, pain, hope and redemption.
Barnes & Noble.com
Charlie No Face is a coming-of-age story about an 11 year old boy, Jackie, and the unlikely friendship he forges with local disfigured hermit, Charlie No Face, a friendship that transform them both.
Jackie, age 11, lost his mother when he was three months old; his father is going through a period of turmoil that Jackie doesn't understand. In the summer of 1959 while he plays baseball with friends, develops an interest in the female anatomy and goes on the hunt for local bogeyman, Charlie No Face, Jackie life is turned upside down.
His father must leave town for several weeks. Jackie goes to live with a distant relative, Great Aunt Dee, where he learns more about life than he could ever have expected. His unlikely friendship with Charlie No Face will change them both as Jackie and Charlie come face-to-face with the past and Jackie learns how to look at others with his heart.
“Everything in my life changed, just like that. I mean everything. This summer was supposed to be the best time of my short little life. And up until the middle of July, the summer of '59 was. But then everything changed. My dad started acting, well, different. He wasn't completely "there" some of the time, and I didn't know what to think of it. And on top of that, there was the whole thing with Charlie No Face.”
Were all the stories and rumors true? Did Charlie No Face kill children and eat wild animals? Jackie and his friends had to find out. One fateful night local teen tough, Kelso, took them on a ride they would never forget. They found Charlie along a deserted country road. Kelso prodded him with a stick, hoping he would turn so they could finally see his infamous face.
This time Charlie heard Kelso. He stopped rocking and didn't make a sound. "Oh my God," said Brian, "he's gonna kill us. I just know it. He's gonna kill us, and then eat us, and then scatter our bones where no one can find them, and my mother's gonna wonder why I didn't just stay at Tommy's, and why I was so stupid, and she's—ouch!"
I smacked Brian on the head.
"Call again," I said to Kelso.
"Hey, Charlie! We got some beer for you!"
Charlie sat back on his haunches and raised his head. I had never seen anything like it before. It was as big as the globe that sat on Miss Loss' desk in social studies, but not exactly round, more ballooned out in spots, like something went terribly wrong at the factory when they made it, like the whole continent of Asia stuck out as if it were as high as Everest, while South America was just one big indent, like it was a reject globe, one that no teacher would ever put on her desk, one that no one would ever want.
Tommy jumped into the backseat with Brian and me.
"My God, look at that," he said.
"I know, I know," I said. Kelso was silent. Brian was crying now.
As Jackie gets to know Charlie, all his preconceived notions about this bogey-man are called into question. Here he watches as one-armed Charlie carves a new walking stick.
“Once he'd trimmed the branch down, he put the big knife away and got out his pocketknife, ran the long blade back and forth on the stone, and shaved fine curlicues off the stick over and over again. His hand looked rough and odd-shaped, like someone had beaten it with a hammer, but he touched the stick so gentle that he could have been caressing a baby.
I sat and watched him, mesmerized. I mean, it just didn't come together clear in my head what Charlie was all about. I'd learned one fantastical story about him, a story that everyone knew and everyone believed, a story with lots of examples to support it, a story that had been around for a long time, but here I was face-to-face with a different story altogether. This Charlie No Face wasn't anything like the one I thought I knew. The whole thing just didn't add up. I started wondering if Aunt Dee might be right. Maybe there wasn't really a Charlie No Face after all. But if that was the case, who was this guy sitting in Aunt Dee's garage, 'cause, for all the world, he looked like the Charlie No Face I'd seen on the road just a month ago.”