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Eleanor Driscoll, a seventeen-year-old girl, has been horribly burned in a restaurant fire that took the lives of more than four hundred people, including her father. Many people turn away from her face; others make cruel comments. But there are a few special people who look beyond the scars and see the real Eleanor. She has a hard time accepting their friendship. The only person in the world she feels comfortable with is someone she has never met, someone who knows nothing about the scars on her face: Robert Bettencourt. Writing to Robert began as an assignment from her English teacher. "Write to a soldier," Sister Agnes said. It is World War II. Fate assigns her to Robert, who thinks she is warm and bright and funny. But she is afraid to trust him with the truth. Eleanor eventually discovers that the fire may have destroyed her face and body, but it can not destroy the person she is inside.
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Cathleen Twomey is the author of Charlotte's Choice. She teaches writing at Lasell College and Middlesex Community College in Massachusetts.From School Library Journal:
Grade 7-10-A moving novel set in Massachusetts in 1944. Attractive, popular Eleanor was being treated to a birthday dinner at the glamorous Palm Gardens when a fire broke out, burning her face and chest and taking her father's life. The resulting financial difficulties and the necessary move mean a change in school and friends. All that is left of the 17-year-old's former world is her mother, who is strained with grief and work, and her adoring, sometimes aggravating little sister. Eleanor struggles against her newly acquired social phobia to find employment in a kindly neighbor's pharmacy. She begins to make friends, go to the movies, and learn to drive but there are always heartbreaking setbacks as people react to her horrific scars. There are even problems with the brightest, most secret part of her life, a correspondence begun as a school project with a soldier being trained to go overseas. Robert falls in love with her words, her intelligence-and a picture she sent him taken before the fire. Eleanor is unable to mail the letters she has written telling him the truth. A masterful psychological writer, Twomey chooses not to tell Eleanor's story in strict chronological order, but to reveal it as Eleanor herself can bear to make the connections and discoveries. Although this is a very different story than her intensely written Charlotte's Choice (Boyds Mills, 2001), both have strong heroines and emphasize our ability to choose happiness even in difficult times.
Cindy Darling Codell, Clark Middle School, Winchester, KY
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Book Description Boyds Mills Press, 2003. Hardcover. Condition: New. 1. Seller Inventory # DADAX1590780507
Book Description Boyds Mills Press, 2003. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # MB00YW4L9AA