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Book Review: "Saving Face"

by Effy Redman

Effy Redman’s powerful, beautifully-written memoir took me into a world I hadn’t known and couldn’t have imagined until reading SAVING FACE, by which I mean the world of Moebius Syndrome. The rare congenital condition results from underdeveloped facial nerves that can cause immobility or paralysis of the face and make it hard to talk, chew and swallow.

Diagnosed as a child, Effy fortunately had supportive parents and grandparents. Yet the encouragement and love around her were not enough to fend off the realization her slack facial features and difficulty blinking, eating and speaking made her not just different, but unable to communicate the wealth of her emotions. Most painfully, she couldn’t smile to show her joy, the most basic instinctive act that leads to deep human connection with others.

I found myself fascinated by such an unusual disability, yet dismayed and heartbroken at reading about Effy’s struggle to fit into a world that emphasizes superstar beauty and withholds compassion from those who most need it.

How wonderful, then, to read about Effy’s transformation from a person who grieved what she’d never possessed into a confident woman who finally embraces the joy and beauty of self-love.

You can also find this review on Goodreads.


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