Books for Mature Teens and Adults

Theme: Faces and Features

A Prayer for Owen Meanie - (ISBN: 978-0679642596)

by John Irving

Owen’s small stature and unusually high voice make him a special boy, and his adult persona is no less different. In one of the best books prolific author John Irving has written, Owen’s life-long friendship with the narrator Johnny provides the structure for many events of the book. Although Owen accidentally kills Johnny’s mother with a stray baseball, Owen emerges as a religious figure who influences those he has contact with to have more thoughtful and mystical lives. Although the book talks in terms of Christianity, do you think the Owen figure is applicable in other world religions?

Autobiography of a Face - (ISBN: 978-0060569662)

by Lucy Grealy

This memoir shares its author’s experience with disfiguring cancer. She would love to be perfect again, but she is able to discern which things in life are the most important, after all. Throughout her journey, she experiences bullying and ostracism because of her extremely unusual appearance, but she persists in searching for the kind of medical treatment that will give her the best chance at a cure and a look she can live with. What imperfections in your physical presentation have actually helped you become stronger mentally?

I Feel Bad about My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman - (ISBN: 978-0307276827)

by Nora Ephron

The physical changes and multiple challenges of aging frame the discussions and observations this famous writer makes about getting older. Although mainly focus on the transition from a woman’s perspective, Ephron lives in the world of men and draws experience and knowledge from many points of view. Her advice and sense of humor contribute to a read that would be enjoyable for adults.

The Girl with Glass Feet - (ISBN: 978-0805091144)

by Ali Shaw

This haunting tale portrays a woman who returns to a land where she lived earlier in her life. She wants to recover there from a mysterious ailment; she is slowly turning to glass! With magic, romance, and deep human understanding, the author creates enchanting experiences where the heroine finds love, personal support, and a new kind of reality.

The True History of the Elephant Man - (ISBN: 978-0749005160)

by Michael Howell Peter Ford

Read about the man who was the inspiration for the popular movie,<i>The Elephant Man</i>. His life with neurofibromatosis, which severely disfigured his face, put him on display, not only for doctors, but also for the general public in the 1800’s. If he lived today do you think he would be treated in a more humane manner?

Face to Face: My Quest to Perform the First Full Face Transplant - (ISBN: 978-1607140511)

by Maria Siemionow

The Bluest Eye - (ISBN: 978-0307278449)

by Toni Morrison

The View from Pompey’s Head - (ISBN: 978-1412813136)

by Hamilton Basso

Activities for this Theme

Enjoy the DVD of the movie The Elephant Man.


Look at some old family pictures with your family and try to pick out characteristic facial features of your “tribe.” Try a game of naming their feelings, as well!