After much procrastinating, I’m finally going to get my reviews done.
The Story of My Face is the story of the past and present of Natalie Baron. When she was thirteen, she became involved with a religious sect that followed the teachings of Thomas Envall. Neglected by her mother, Natalie grows close to Barbara and her family, who invite her to an Envallist retreat. Natalie is clearly an outsider there and her presence leads to conflict and division amongst the church members. It also stirs up painful memories for Barbara, which eventually lead to the tragedy that disfigured Natalie’s face.
As an adult Natalie becomes a lecturer in religious history. She goes to the birthplace of Envallism in Finland, to research Thomas Envall. There is still tension between Natalie and the Envallists, who remember the trouble that was caused in the past.
I was interested in this book as I studied religion and am interested in stories about extreme sects. And it partially takes place in Finland, which you don’t get in many books. I was curious to find out what had happened to Natalie’s face, and why she had such an uncomfortable relationship with the Envallists. The tension is slowly built throughout the book until everything finally unravels at the end.
I wish the author had gone into some more detail about a few things. When Natalie is thirteen, she just walks up to Barbara off the street, and is suddenly like part of their family. I thought it happened too quick, and I re-read that part to make sure I hadn’t missed anything that explained why she went to them or why they were so accepting of her. There weren’t many details about what the Envallists believe, other than that they ban pictures. There is also a seduction that comes out of nowhere. Despite these minor complaints, I did enjoy the book.