By Denise Turney
A good book allows readers to suspend or remove thoughts that limit their imagination, that free them from thinking the same repetitive thoughts that we erect over the years as we interpret, define and understand experiences that happen to us directly and indirectly, what we hear about on the news or read about in a magazine. Many Faces To Many Places does just this. The book’s animated style takes readers on a spiritual journey without causing the reader to feel that the story is specifically about them or someone they know. And this is where the greatest room for the book to teach springs from.
Many Faces To Many Places’ main character, aptly named “Many Faces”, goes on an adventurous journey in search of freedom and happiness. Virtues such as courage, patience and love, are the rewards “Many Faces” receives as she continues her journey. I was reminded of the time when I read the classic, Alice in Wonderland, while I read Many Faces To Many Places. The characters are so lively and so animated that they seemed unable to realistically be part of our everyday lives. The author, Judy LeBlanc, does a brilliant job of showing her readers that is not the case. The story begins, “Many Faces stared at the full moon through the window. She wondered if it knew how her heart ached to taste freedom. . . . Many Faces planned to make a fast run for it. That is where her faith and hope rested.”
The story is written to speak to a myriad of human conditions its readers may wish to escape (i.e. poverty, domestic violence, illiteracy). LeBlanc makes plain that early experiences of freedom do not encompass an entire life journey. And this is where Many Faces, a name that represents the various stages and experiences of a human soul, shares a story that is universal. Many Faces early successes are not permanent. In fact, they seem to be created just to keep Many Faces moving forward. Regardless of how bright parts of Many Faces life are, she experiences storms that challenge her belief in love and safety, that make her want to run and hide, to choose the easiest yet empty ways of living.
One choice Many Faces makes almost costs her the very thing she sought the most – freedom. In exchange for freedom Many Faces is offered a husband, a great deal of wealth and idol worship. It is an exchange that would take far too much from Many Faces’ soul. Readers will be perplexed by the choice that Many Faces makes, a real life choice many of us, with our various life experiences, make time and again.
Although Many Faces To Many Places is lively and animated, it is written for adult audiences because of the experiences the main characters has. The writing flows. The plot is easy to follow. The story and what motivates “Many Faces” is simple to understand. The message is poignant. The shift from triumph to trial is well balanced and sufficiently paced. Before the close of the book, readers will see portraits of themselves in the various masks Many Faces wears. They may also come away with the courage to remove those masks and courageously start the journey that takes them to who they truly are.
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