- Hardcover: 272 pages
- Publisher: Harmony; 1 edition (June 17, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1400047412
- ISBN-13: 978-1400047413
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 12 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,881,237 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Marked for Life: A Memoir Hardcover – June 17, 2003
From Publishers Weekly
By most standards, Davidow has lived a normal life: the eldest of three, she grew up after WWII in a small town near Philadelphia, attended college, studied voice and eventually became a journalist. She survived life's ups and downs, dealing with demanding parents who were never pleased unless she was dating a "nice Jewish boy," lamenting the death of her beloved Yiddish-speaking grandmother and launching L.A. Weekly magazine. Throughout, she carried an albatross: a large, purple birthmark that covered her left cheek. Doctors called the mark a "port wine stain"; kids in the schoolyard called Davidow "Miss Grape Juice Face" and "Bride of Frankenstein." Davidow was utterly embarrassed every time a passerby or new acquaintance asked, "What happened to your face?" She learned to turn her "good cheek" toward people when she was speaking with them. "In the mornings," she writes, "I rub and rub my left cheek with my washcloth, trying to scrub the stain off. There must be something that will make it go away." Alas, for years, there was nothing that would make her birthmark disappear. As a college student, Davidow learned to apply an intricate make-up mask, so convincing boyfriends never discovered her secret. "I don't want anyone's sympathy," Davidow insists. She's convincing; although readers will undoubtedly feel empathy for the author, this is a frank account devoid of any "woe is me" moaning. Although Davidow eventually underwent laser surgery to diminish the birthmark, the bulk of the book details how she managed to spend 40 years with her taint. Although sometimes slow, this is a thoughtful meditation on self-perception.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From the Inside Flap
nd successful, Joie Davidow presents a confident face to the world. But her carefully applied makeup conceals a secret she has kept for decades. She was born with a port-wine stain, a purple mark that covers most of the left side of her face, including her eye. Tormented as a child, shunned as a teenager, she thought of herself as deformed and ugly until, in her second year of college, she discovered cosmetics that would allow her to hide the mark on her face. She learned to paint on a mask that made her appear normal, if not downright beautiful. Suddenly she was no longer “the girl with the big purple mark.” Behind the mask she was safe, protected from the astonished eyes and unkind remarks of strangers. Her deception was her freedom, but it was also her imprisonment, a threat that never left her. For most of her life she feared that a hot, humid day, a strong wind, an errant tear, or even a fervent embrace would destroy the face she had so painstakingly created, revealing her shameful se
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I am making my husband read Marked for Life as well because he is convinced that our daughter's birthmark is "No Big Deal" too. Thanks for a great read!
Her brave words have set us all soaring!
I read this book in one sitting! As soon as I could get it away from my wife! I couldn't put it down! I kept cheering Joie on, applauding her success and crying over her hardships.
People of unique appearance will cheer after reading this and folks who must get through life looking normal will find so much to enjoy as well! ;) Just a fine book! Well done Joie!
Joie's "mark" is a metaphor for any handicap, ailment, visible or not that one needs to overcome to live a full life. An inspiring story that would also be an important addition to any school reading list.
I highly recommend it to any adult needing a boost. The surprisingly upbeat story is about a determined, brave, talented and dynamic young woman who can inspire anyone to find a way to pursue their dreams.
The "mark" has even broader implications as the author searches for ways to conceal as well as integrate the "problem" as she grows, reflected in the myriad ways the mark is gazed by different people in her life, parents, doctors, lovers and society itself over time and personal growth. The greatest irony of the story is that Ms Davidow is actually quite beautiful, as well as brilliant, but it is the refrain of the book:"If I had been born in another time, another place..." which reminds us of the fragility that physicality burdens us with, and how lucky we are to be here now.