Charlie No Face is my latest novel. It was released by Savant Books and Publications in January 2011.
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>FINALIST---NATIONAL INDIE EXCELLENCE BOOK AWARDS FOR 2011--General Fiction (announced May 15, 2011)
>Listen to the interview I did about Charlie No Face on the Peter Boyles Show (KHOW 630AM radio---Denver):
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Savant is an independent publishing that brings together new and experienced writers with diverse voices.
What follows is a synopsis.....
When eleven year old Jackie goes to live with a distant relative and meets disfigured hermit and local legend, Charlie No Face, Jackie’s life changes forever.
Charlie No Face is a coming of age story about an eleven year old boy, Jackie, who lives with his father in a small western
The summer of ’59 is a summer of promise for Jackie. His father is home on a long vacation; he is the starting centerfielder for the mighty Kiwanis baseball team; and with his friends, Brian and Tommy, Jackie is exploring his world, including his budding interest in the female anatomy, and even more importantly his fascination with Charlie No Face, the ghastly local hermit whose deformed body and face are the stuff of nightmares, tall tales and late night expeditions, hoping for a Charlie sighting. His late night ride with friends and their encounter with Charlie are exhilarating, terrifying and transformative:
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’s 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.
Before Jackie knows it, his idyllic summer implodes when his father’s car gets vandalized, a tornado ravages the neighborhood, rumors of Charlie’s death abound, and Jackie learns that his father is not on vacation; he’s unemployed and must leave home to look for work.
Jackie must stay with his only living relative, great Aunt Dee, out in the country near the
I watched as they stepped into the moonlight. I could not believe my eyes. “Oh, my God,” I said out loud, “Oh my God.” There was Abigail trotting beside Henry, who was using his stick to find his way. But it wasn’t Henry at all. It couldn’t be. I watched his every move as they walked several more steps and then disappeared into the shadows again. I was sure. I knew it had to be, but how could it? I had only seen a head like that once before. I looked up and down the road again. Was this the same place? Was this the road? I thought of Kelso and the guys and that ride and what we saw and how we didn’t say a word the whole way back to Ellwood, how we sat in silence, how we didn’t speak of it much after that night, and how stunned I was when I heard that he was dead. But now I knew the gossip was wrong. Now I knew the truth. I stepped out into the middle of the road, not a car in sight and squinted to see if I could catch the shadow again, but I couldn’t. Nevertheless, I knew.
They fall into an unlikely friendship and Jackie learns to look at Charlie with his heart, not just his eyes. He also learns that, much to his surprise, the catastrophic accident that befell Charlie as a child also holds the key to understanding who Jackie’s mother was and, perhaps more importantly, who Jackie is.
Who was Charlie No Face?
As a young boy growing up in western Pennsylvania, I learned about a man who roamed the country roads at night; who was disfigured and had green skin; who was too horrible to look at; and who, many thought, was a danger to anyone who came near him.
The truth is that Charlie was Ray Robinson who, as a young boy, was severely burned when he touched an electric cable while reaching for a bird's nest near a local train tressel. Ray's face melted, leaving him with no eyes, a crater for a nose and a slit for a mouth. Tall tales grew about Ray and teenagers often cruised the area roads at night looking for him, offering him beer and sometimes taunting him. Those who knew Ray say he was a quiet man who wouldn't hurt a soul, a man with a tragic past just trying to make his way in life.
Although I never saw Ray, when I considered writing a first person coming of age story about an 11 year old boy, I thought a fictionalized version of Ray (Henry Hopewell) would be an excellent companion or guide for young Jackie. And so their relationship was born.
Ray Robinson died in his seventies in the early 1980s.
Doug writes----As a frequent business traveler for more than 10 years I have grown very fond of reading; it is a great way to help pass time when waiting in airports, flying on planes or sitting in a boring hotel room. While I truly enjoy a good book, after the first few years it didn't take too long to burn through everything written by my favorite Authors which has left me searching the rows in book stores, on line options and Kindle suggestions.
Kecia writes----Charlie No Face is a heartwarming story that is wonderfully told by author David B. Seaburn. The character development and the relationships vital to the story, blossom and grow beautifully as the story unfolds. The writer's voice is quiet and gentle, leaves you laughing in places and crying in others. The variety of relationships between 11 year old Jackie and his father, his best friend, his Aunt Dee and Charlie are woven together beautifully in this coming of age story. Witnessing Jackie take a giant step toward becoming a man of character is truly touching. The result of this weaving is a tapestry of valuable life lessons adorned with the healing power of love and acceptance. To quote Jackie's Aunt Dee (page 143), "...the important things aren't sitting around on the surface. They're way down deep, way down deep where you can't see unless you really look. And I don't mean looking with your eyes. I mean looking with your heart. Sometimes your best eyes are in your heart. Sometimes you can only see something, really see it, if you feel it in your heart what that person's life must look like. Then nothing else matters about them-how they look, what others say about them-nothing except what your heart sees." Truly words we should all live by.
Charles Ashbacher in his review for Amazon.com writes---One of the greatest adventures that nature allows us to experience is to be an eleven-year-old boy. You can play until exhausted, collapse into bed and then get up the next morning with no physical residuals. It is also the time when females start becoming interesting; to be more specific female breasts become an object of adoration. If you are lucky, you have a best friend that you do everything with and any day without the friend is a day of incompletion. Finally, it is the point where you can see adulthood in your future for the first time and if you are lucky, you learn some lessons about the world and how other people will fit into yours.
The setting is the late 1950's and the main character Jackie is an eleven-year-old boy. With his best friend Brian they have experienced many adventures since they first met in kindergarten. Jackie's mother died when he was an infant, so he lives with his father, a very involved father that works in sales. With some of the other boys, they talk incessantly about female breasts and the occasional glimpse they get of the tender flesh and the bras that hold them. As seems almost a necessity for children this age, there is the local legend of "Charlie No Face" a horribly disfigured man that wanders about in the country and supposedly kills people with impunity. Naturally, the legend has built him up to be powerful and vicious, which is the reason why he has never been stopped.
One night Jackie and Brian are in a car with an older teenager named Kelso and they are driving around looking for Charlie. To their surprise and terror, they see him on the side of the road and stop. Charlie's face is as hideous as the legend but he is smaller than envisioned and seems almost helpless. When Kelso starts poking Charlie with a stick, he does little in response and when Kelso starts being harsher, Jackie yells at him to stop. It is a simple act of kindness that will mean a great deal later.
Unfortunately, Jackie's father loses his job and he is forced to travel out of town to search for other work. In order to be safe, Jackie travels to his Aunt Dee's house in the country. As Jackie discovers, she is really not his aunt and he finally learns a great deal about his mother and her mother as well. Even though his mother has been dead for ten years, his father is still unable to talk about her.
While living with his aunt, Jackie learns how to tend the garden and a great deal about what he is. He also meets Henry, a man that lives with his aunt and that knows a great deal about life, and has many stories to tell Jackie. Henry is a loner, yet with Jackie he learns to be a person and revisit the horrors and joys of his past.
This is really a great story; every parent will hope that their child reacts like Jackie when they meet someone less fortunate than they are. In many ways the greatest exhibition of character is when you stand up for someone that is ostracized and ridiculed. While he is just a boy, Jackie proves that he is more of a man than most that meet the legal definition.
Cookie writes---This is a beautiful story of coming of age in a small mill town. I loved the way the author captured the trials and tribulations and emotions of growing up in the late 50's and all that entailed. I found it to be a wonderful look into human nature, both the cruelty and compassion we humans can impart, overcoming adversity, accepting the cards we are dealt and making the most of our life no matter what. While the book started out as a book about the lives and friendship of 2 young boys, it became evident that it was about much more of a story of a young boy finding himself and and realizing what is really important in life.