Friday, October 25, 2013

The Cutting Edge by Ace Collins

This is a novel with a powerful message.

Leslie is a New York model at the top of her career. When her agent suggests the next big step in her career is an advertisement that requires nudity, Leslie knows she needs to go home and talk to her parents. Her conservative upbringing makes faint warning bells sound. The flight puts her in her hometown airport late at night. While she waits for a taxi she is abducted. When she refuses their advances, one of the men takes a broken scotch bottle and attacks her face. She nearly bleeds to death before she is found.

For Leslie, the struggles have just begun. Her perfect face was who she was. How can she live with her identity torn and deeply scarred?

This is a powerful study in what makes a human beautiful. Others try to convince Leslie that beauty is within and that who she really is still resides within her. We follow Leslie as she is angry at God, as she wants to die, as she begins to come to understand who she really is on the inside. We endure her mother who groomed Leslie from birth to be the physically beautiful woman she could never be herself. We root for Hunter who loved Leslie in high school and loves her still. We observe with awe as Leslie meets a six year old girl who is so scarred on the inside Leslie can only weep. And we hold our breath as the slasher comes back to finish the job.

This is a character driven novel as Leslie confronts so many issues when her life so dramatically changes. Reading groups would have a great deal to discuss. Is it healthy to place one's self value on something like appearance, or a job, or a husband? What do you do when that one thing is destroyed? How do you keep living and find new meaning to your life? How do you establish your own identity when a parent wants to force one on you?

The writing is not eloquent. There are no memorable sentences. But the character issues carry the story along so well that you want to read to the end. And you are rewarded with hope for Leslie and others scarred so deeply.

Ace Collins is a best-selling and award-winning author of more than 60 titles. He frequently speaks across the country and appears on radio and television shows. When not writing he is a magazine editor and graphic designer. He and his wife live in Arkadelphia, Arkansas.

Abingdon Press, 336 pages. Find out more from the publisher's product page.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.
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