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Heroes Mass Market Paperback – February 8, 2000
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Eighteen-year-old Francis Cassavant has returned from World War II an unwilling hero. Although he can still see and hear, a grenade has blown away his nose, his ears, his teeth, and his cheeks, leaving him faceless. Hiding his ghastly wounds with bandages and a white silk scarf, Francis welcomes the anonymity his mutilation brings him, for he has returned to his hometown with a secret mission--a plot for revenge (against his enemy Larry LaSalle) that he values more than his own life. Francis's eerily matter-of-fact acceptance of his hideous mien, along with his sweetness and selflessness, contrast sharply with his obsessive need for vengeance. No one recognizes him as the quiet kid who once loved Nicole Renard and hung out with fellow teens at the Wreck Center. LaSalle, formerly a charismatic youth leader, has also come back from the war a hero, and only Francis knows the dark side of this older man's concern for young people. But does LaSalle's one evil act wipe out all the good he has done? And is Francis just as guilty because he could have prevented it and didn't?
Robert Cormier--winner of the Margaret A. Edwards Award and many other honors--has once again crafted a riveting yarn of psychological suspense. Francis's story is revealed only gradually in hints that keep the reader guessing. Young teens will find it a quick and absorbing read, and older adolescents (and full-fledged adults, too) will relish pondering the many-sided ethical questions Cormier raises about heroism, guilt, and forgiveness. (Ages 13 to 16) --Patty Campbell --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
According to PW's starred review, this dark story of a WWII veteran who seeks revenge on an old mentor "will hold fans from first page to last, and set them thinking about what really lurks behind the face of a hero." Ages 12-up.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top customer reviews
The story highlights the innocence of youth and how impotent we can be when we're young. Our emotions and feelings can be confusing during those teenage years and this particular story highlights how some adults abuse the trust put in them.
The title of the book plays on the concept of what a hero is. Some people we admire and consider to be our heroes aren't heroes at all, they're weak and disappoint us...yet without them would we be the people we are? Others are more ordinary in our eyes and we don't always consider them to be heroic...but are they the real heroes?
Even as an adult I had conflicting feelings about one of the main characters and one line in particular made me think.
"Does that one sin of mine wipe away all the good things?" Instinctively the answer is yes, yet it's a little more complex than that.
This is a sombre book which deals with the pain of growing up, guilt and disappointment. Although the ending cannot be described as uplifting and didn't end happily ever after as I think we instinctively would like sometimes - I like to think it was hopeful and that Francis went on to learn from his experiences and get over his guilt - the guilt he didn't deserve to carry.
Cormier is economical and powerful in this book, as in the villain Larry's question, "Does that one sin of mine wipe away all the good things?", followed by his own answer, for which you will have to read the book. He creates a picture (of a period in history and of a community and a character) which was very moving. This piece explores what makes a true hero, which the reader discovers together with the protagonist. It is only when Francis finds the answer that he is able to move on and find hope and future, "Maybe I should try...".
A beautiful story which was introduced to me by an esteemed colleague, when talking about favourite reads, with the line "It's amazing that the heart makes no noise when it cracks."
Most recent customer reviews
So he'll find that typewriter and get started.
Really a poignant narrative, this story.Read more