Introducing David B. Seaburn’s Just-Released Novel CHARLIE NO FACE:

David B. Seaburn draws from over thirty years experience as a psychotherapist to address some of the most basic human issues: loss, uncertainty, hope, fear, love, joy, seeking, wonder, and more. Seaburn has previously written and published two novels, DARKNESS IS AS LIGHT and PUMPKIN HILL. Seaburn continues his focus on the dilemmas of human experience with his latest novel, CHARLIE NO FACE, a coming-of-age story about an eleven-year-old boy and a misunderstood, disfigured hermit whose unlikely relationship redeems them both.

Jackie lives with his father in a small western Pennsylvania town. Jackie’s mother died when he was three months old. Although he knows little about her, his mother’s presence is palpable, and Jackie’s desire to learn about her life is growing as quickly as his eleven-year-old frame.

The summer of ’59 is a summer of promise for Jackie. His father is home on a long vacation; he is the starting center-fielder for the mighty Kiwanis baseball team; and with his friends, Brian and Tommy, Jackie is exploring his world, including his budding interest in the female anatomy, and even more importantly his fascination with Charlie No Face, the ghastly local hermit whose deformed body and face are the stuff of nightmares, tall tales, and late night expeditions, hoping for a Charlie sighting. His late night ride with friends and their encounter with Charlie is exhilarating, terrifying, and transformative:

"Charlie sat back on his haunches and raised his head. I had never seen anything like it before. It was as big as the globe that sat on Miss Loss’s desk in social studies, but not exactly round, more ballooned out in spots, like something went terribly wrong at the factory when they made it, like the whole continent of Asia stuck out as if it were as high as Everest, while South America was just one big indent, like it was a reject globe, one that no teacher would ever put on her desk, one that no one would ever want."

Before Jackie knows it, his idyllic summer implodes when his father’s car gets vandalized, a tornado ravages the neighborhood, rumors of Charlie’s death abound, and Jackie learns that his father is not on vacation: He’s unemployed and must leave home to look for work.

Jackie must stay with his only living relative, Great-Aunt Dee, out in the country near the Ohio line. There he befriends Aunt Dee’s little cocker spaniel, Abigail; learns how to garden; and discovers that Aunt Dee’s reclusive boarder, Henry isn’t who he thought he was at all. He’s really Charlie No Face. Jackie tracks him through the woods one night:

"I watched as they stepped into the moonlight. I could not believe my eyes. “Oh, my God,” I said out loud, “Oh my God.” There was Abigail trotting beside Henry, who was using his stick to find his way. But it wasn’t Henry at all. It couldn’t be. I watched his every move as they walked several more steps and then disappeared into the shadows again. I was sure. I knew it had to be, but how could it? I had only seen a head like that once before. I looked up and down the road again. Was this the same place? Was this the road? I thought of Kelso and the guys and that ride and what we saw and how we didn’t say a word the whole way back to Ellwood, how we sat in silence, how we didn’t speak of it much after that night, and how stunned I was when I heard that he was dead. But now I knew the gossip was wrong. Now I knew the truth. I stepped out into the middle of the road, not a car in sight and squinted to see if I could catch the shadow again, but I couldn’t. Nevertheless, I knew."

They fall into an unlikely friendship and Jackie learns to look at Charlie with his heart, not just his eyes. He also learns that, much to his surprise, the catastrophic accident that befell Charlie as a child also holds the key to understanding who Jackie’s mother was and, perhaps more importantly, who Jackie is.

Sincerely, David B. Seaburn
Author of CHARLIE NO FACE (Savant, 2011)
David B. Seaburn is a psychologist, marriage and family therapist, and an ordained minister. He lives with his wife in Spencerport, NY.