{ Review } Making Faces by Amy Harmon

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“I would much rather be lost with you than alone without you, so I choose lost with a caveat.” Ambrose responded, “No caveat,” to which Fern replied, “Then lost, because alone feels permanent, and lost can be found.”

Read in December 2017

My Rating: 2 of 5 stars

Book 6 of My November/December Project

Buddy Read with lovely Jasmine


Perception is a funny thing. This book has an average rating of 4,36 on Goodreads (and it’s also my friends’ average rating) and yet it didn’t work for me. Indeed, I don’t have any friend who has reviewed it poorly and I had to scroll all the way to the very end of the first page to find a review that doesn’t give this book a 5 (and it’s still a 3 that is still a better rating that I’m giving this book). And I am so very disappointed to say that I have, not one, but many problems with this book.

 

Problem n°1 – Fern

At first sight, Fern seemed like a rather good MC, until she didn’t. Actually the lack of character growth through the book is just scary. I didn’t see any difference between her childhood (exposed via flashbacks) and the present day. It’s quite simple; I feel like she was painted as such a nice person that she could do no wrong. Moreover, she is painted as a girl who used to be ugly but now she removed her braces and glasses and now she is what we can call unassumingly beautiful, and it was really annoying.

 

Problem n°2 – Ambrose “before”

On the first few chapters I thought I was going to love him, I got very touched by the 9/11 part, and then he just became a jerk. The part where Fern pretends to be Rita to send letter with him was one of my favourite moments, and yet, when Ambrose discovered the truth, he got mad and never talked to Fern again.

“Everybody who is somebody becomes nobody the moment they fail.”


Problem n°3 – Making decisions

And this might be the biggest problem I had with this book, so it might be the biggest part in my review; how people made decisions in this book. When Ambrose decided to go to war because he didn’t want to go to school, he asked his four best friends to come with him. They think about it for one minute and just say: “What the hell, let’s go with you” like if they were planning their next summer vacation. I felt it was so disrespectful for those who are actually on the army and for their families. And even though they are only eighteen, none of their parents tried to stop them. They just went.

The other point that bugged me the most is how Rita’s pregnancy was explained (outside the lack of mention to contraceptive); not once she was given any other choice than having and keeping the baby. No one, friends or family, told her about her options, no one even mentioned abortion or adoption; it was like it wasn’t even a possibility. After that scene there is a 6-month jump into the future and out of three girls Rita gave birth and got married, Jesse’s girlfriend had a baby as well, and Fern was promoted as a Night Manager. No one went to college or university.

And the worse part is that parents all seemed delighted by the situation. I’m telling, wouldn’t have let me getting married or having a baby or dropping out school or enrolling at the army at that age. I just would be grounded until I came back to my senses.


Problem n°4 – The love interest

Honestly, I can’t even tell you when Fern and Ambrose became love interest. Not because it was gradual, but because it happened in between two words. One second she is too ugly for him to even notice her, the next he is obsessed with her. To be truthful, I felt close to no alchemy every time they were together.

“I’m just telling you right now. The lucky ones are the ones who don’t come back.”


Problem n°5 – The war and its consequences

In the end, it seems like Iraq actually was summer camp or something of the sort. Indeed, no fighting or danger here, in 100% of the scene, all they did was talking girls and teasing one another. Yes, ‘cause war is fun.

When Ambrose came back, there was a sea of possibilities to explore and develop his Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (and the approach of PTSD was the main reason why I wanted to read this book) and instead the author decided to focus on the fact that his face was scared and he wasn’t pretty anymore. So yes, after months in a war zone [loosing his four best friends, that HE convinced to come with him, in a bombing] Ambrose’s tragedy revolves around him being ugly. Like if today his friends were dead but his face was good it would have been find?


Problem n°6 – The concept of beauty itself

It might sound weird, but I don’t believe in the concept of beauty. I am what they call a pansexual person. I’m attracted by a person’s personality more than his/her physical traits. One would love red, the other would love blue. To me, beauty is so subjective that it makes a very weak main subject to be developed in a 300+ pages book.

“You act like beauty is the only thing that makes us worthy of love.”


Problem n°7 – Religion and sexism

The Christian religion is predominant in this book and that really was a pet peeve to me. There were so many references to God and Jesus, so many quotes from the bible. The Church everywhere. And if I think about it, I can connect religion to every problem I had with this book (especially problem n°3, with not using contraception / not considering abortion / getting married awfully young). It also lead to some parts I personally found so close to sexism.

Unfortunately, Rita not having the choice of abortion is just the tip of the iceberg. In this book, even though Rita wants to leave Becker, she doesn’t because “Rita was a mother now, tied to Becker in a way that was permanent and final.” So a woman, once pregnant cannot leave the man who knocked her up, but there is nothing wrong with the other way around (aka Jessie leaving his girl to go to war).

In this book, girls in general have to be both smart and beautiful, if they are only one of those, they will not get their happy ending. Indeed, Rita who is beautiful but not smart (and is many time called “stupid” by many characters of this book) is stuck in an abusive marriage, often beaten up and almost died. Fern who is smart but ugly at the beginning of the book has to undergo major changes to get closer to beauty standards (aka take off her glasses and braces, brush her hairs to remove the curls) to be considered as a love interest. But on the opposite, it’s okay for a guy to be ugly and loved, because it’s what is expected from a woman to love a man because of what he is inside.

Also, can we talk about that part?

[“How you holding up, baby?”
The endearment was new, protective, and it comforted Fern like nothing else could have.

Like. Really?]

Overall,

This book collided with some of my strongest personal beliefs and it was super difficult for me to go over them. My two stars are for Bailey, because I really liked him, he was so precious. I loved that even though he didn’t have the best set of cards, he kept his good mood from cover to cover. Other than that, I liked Fern as a cousin, and I liked their dynamic. Even though I don’t have any interest whatsoever with wrestling I just imagined the story with football and it was close to the same.

 

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Have you read this book? What did you think about it?

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French Book Blogger and avid reader 📚 - YA, Adult, NA, Fantasy, Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Romance -, LGBT & disability rep 🏳️‍🌈, Ravenclaw Potterhead △⃒⃘, English teacher 👩🏼‍🏫 living to travel 🌍, proud mom of Padfoot 🐕 and Juniper 🐈

3 thoughts on “{ Review } Making Faces by Amy Harmon

  1. Well it’s my best of the bests book but I can totally understand that it did not work for you. You explained really well why it was not “the one” for you. I’m just sorry you did not have a better time reading it ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. God I’m so sorry! I’m often feeling so strongly about books in general and when I dislike a book I always feel bad posting my review… I hope you are not offended by it!

      Like

  2. Pingback: A-Z Authors

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