Mini-series of young adult novels by Ann Brashares
Author: Sebastian Michael
There are some people who create a special feeling when they enter a room, walk down the street or are viewed from a glance. Their presence captivates others to the point of the exclusion of others. Sometimes the feeling is so strong that others block out the images around them and focus on this one person. Imagine being in this person’s presence. Imagine being this person. Damian was more than just beautiful he had an aura around him that caused people to stop and stare, visualize themselves in his presence and just hope for a hidden nod, glance or smile to let them know he saw or recognized them. Would you want to be someone that everyone falls in love with at first sight? Would this be a blessing to you or a great burden? Born into a family we first meet Damion when he is older and we see the effects of what happens when he walks down the street passes many people and one even falls to his untimely death. The author then brilliantly flashes back to where it all began, his birth, his parent’s reactions to him and the hospital staffs admiration and love bestowed upon him. A mother who treated him as an adult even at the age of two with no baby talk, coddling or acting like he could not understand. His father on the other hand wanted to allow him to grow up at his own pace but was soon distance from him by his mother. This is a story about being perfect, beautiful and accepted in a world that dislikes flaws and loves perfection. As we meet Damion we next meet Barbara the opposite as the author describes her as more than just ugly but grotesque too. Getting to know her we realize that she is bright and quite unique in her own right. Befriending her was easy for Damion and they became fast friends. Added to their small group was a young boy named Matthew who would round out the threesome. Burp or Barbara would now fall under Damion’s protection and would no longer be a victim of the bullies in her school or anywhere else. This friendship would last for two years until things would change. Damion was sensitive in many ways and his feelings for Matthew were starting to become strong. Doing things together the three would bond but one Saturday night would change it all. Damion’s parents were divorced and he often enjoyed a night at his father’s house but this night would prove tragic. His father, Brett decided to take a detour to have a drink on the way home and when he arrived with his friend she saw Burp crying. Burp could not sleep and in her own mind she could not accept herself for who she was even though so many loved and cared about her. What happens next is more than just tragic as she takes her own life. Throughout this first part of the book the author introduces many characters whose voices are heard by the reader and shared with the other characters too. Damion is the only one who really heard Burp’s as she shares in her own words a poem on page 40 that tells you why she could not face another day. Each character that is introduced throughout the novel intertwines with the others and their presence in relation to Damion different. Both Matthew and Damion witness a boy getting injured and the next character is Severin, the Norman followed by a loud yelling scene that includes all of the parents and the kids along with Brett his father. But, Damion cannot stand what has happened and learning that his mother died he disappears causing not only the people where they are staying to panic, the staff of the hospital but the entire police force to search for him. But, there is much more as Brett learns the truth behind his relationship with Matthew in a long conversation with him when he is finally found.
Damion finally realizes he needs to take his life back and do something with it. But, his feelings for Matthew although genuine were not as strong as his friend’s for him. So, what happens to Matthew will come as a surprise as no one really can answer what causes his blindness or what happened to his or her friendship. Damion remained alone for the next two years socializing at a minimum. How can he deal with the adulation of the world and everyone he meets? How can he ever find a way to be just himself and have people accept him as a person on the inside and not just the outside? Then he meets Benjamin at school and things would change. Their friendship would grow and Damion would even flourish in school and later realize that he needed to earn his own way. With Ben’s help he might even learn to become a waiter. But, there is so much more as Damion searches to find himself and in the interim lives are destroyed, changed and his life takes on many new and different turns that most people would never experience in any lifetime. It is almost like how can he live up to himself and what would happen if at any moment he had a flaw? So, why did he befriend Paula and what happens between him will definitely surprise the reader and Damion as he shares his feelings in a poem on page 127.
One young man whose life touched so many in many different lights. Some in awe of him and others seemed to use him for their own delight or just to be near him. Meeting several he would do things in a wanton way and release his inhibitions and try his hand at new things in order to try to fit in and find a place for himself. But, will Damion ever find peace in his own skin and what will the final outcome be? Where will he wind up and will he ever find any kind of meaning in his life?
Deciding to become a monk and staying at an Abbey was one choice that he thought would be right for him. But, when he returned home the next thing that happened would cost him more than just his beauty as a fire caused by a cigarette causes him to be disfigured and burned and with so many surrounding him and hoping for his recovery would this young man who so many loved, adored and revered survived? Benjamin, his only friend always by his side and faithful. So many others along the way and his father not able to deal with his affliction. The ending will shock the reader and the torment within Damion’s mind as he relives his time and memories with Matthew and as with Dorian Grey he has not seen the final image. Even when his conscious actions create a dangerous situation, his subconscious creates a diversion. Going into the fire and blaze unprotected he did it to protect someone else. But, when Damion finally faces the reality of his image he decides to create another one for himself with the help of a new friend and his computer. Naphtali: Chronicler of his own destruction. What finally happens and where this leads you will have to read for yourself to take the finally journey the rest of the way with Damion. Read the book he wrote, understand his sacrifices and why he destroyed who he was and the reason. Beauty is the cruelty that the gods bestow upon us. What this means and Damion’s final act will definitely explain many things. Why did he walk into a burning fire? Why and how did so many die? What part did he play? Can anyone save the Angel? Read this interesting, unique and thought provoking novel and decide for yourself what price did he pay for being beautiful and an Angel. Society often shuns those that do not fit into their mores. Some find it hard to be different and others trying to fit in will pay the ultimate price. What impact did he have on those he met and those that loved him. Read Angel: This is one novel that will change your perspective on so many levels.
Fran Lewis: reviewer
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