Ugly

Robert Hoge, 1972-

Book - 2016

"Robert Hoge was born with a tumor the size of a tennis ball in the middle of his face and short, twisted legs, but he refused to let what made him different stand in the way of leading a happy, successful life. This is the true story of how he embraced his circumstances and never let his "ugly" stop him from focusing on what truly mattered."--

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Subjects
Published
New York : VIKING, Published by Penguin Group [2016]
Language
English
Physical Description
200 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN
9780425287750
0425287750
Main Author
Robert Hoge, 1972- (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

From the first sentence ("I'm the ugliest person you've never met"), this memoir is guaranteed to grab attention. Native Australian Hoge, now 44, writes of his struggles and triumphs after being born with misshapen legs and a tennis-ball-sized tumor on his face. Though surgery shortly after his birth removed the tumor, he still had abnormally wide-set eyes and no nose at all, only nostrils. Before Hoge was five, he'd had both legs amputated and endured life-threatening surgery to make his face "more acceptable for others to see." His most-hated nickname in middle school was "toe nose"—cartilage from his amputated right foot was used to build a new nose. Despite all this, his family's unconditional support helped him cope with the surgeries, stares, and teasing he endured, and he reflects humorously on his attempts to ride a bike or woo his dream girl in fourth grade. In this honest, painful, and often funny memoir, readers will identify with Hoge's realization that everyone is different, and his are just "different differences." Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Writing with humor, honesty, compassion, and grace, Hoge recounts his life story, having been born with such severe physical deformities that his mother refused to see him. "Don't even consider bringing him home," a doctor said, "just forget him"—advice his four older siblings voted to ignore. Corrective surgeries continued throughout Hoge's childhood as his medical team worked to give him "a new face that was more acceptable to society." Hoge captures the nuances of his atypical experience; for example, he acknowledges "the doctors' wonderful ingenuity in making me a new nose" out of an amputated toe, but "Toe Nose" tops his list of hurtful nicknames ("To this day, it's the one nickname that has any real power over me"). Hoge's parents' determination to provide him with as normal an upbringing as possible, combined with his own outgoing nature and desire to participate in all activities, makes his coming-of-age story unique and universal. His first independent medical decision testifies to the power of a loving family and a courageous soul. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8–12. Author's agent: Daniel Lazar, Writers House. Illustrator's agency: Bright Agency. (Sept.) [Page ]. Copyright 2016 PWxyz LLC

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 3–6—This memoir, set in Australia, is a heartbreaking account of being born and living with severe physical deformities. As a child, Hoge was in general healthy, but his mother initially did not want to keep him because of his appearance—he was born with mangled legs and a large tumor in the middle of his face. Doctors predicted that surgery might kill him. Nevertheless, they proceeded with several operations to "fix" Hoge in the hopes they would help improve his life. As the years passed, Hoge experienced many ups and downs; he was able to make some loyal friends but was also teased by other children. Readers follow as he tries playing sports, attends summer camp, unsuccessfully auditions for a junior choir, and performs in a talent show. In the midst of all these efforts at having a more traditional childhood, Hoge underwent multiple surgeries to "improve" his face, as he understandably wished to belong. And despite wanting to look more "normal," Hoge later made a conscious decision not to have any more operations. The text is enormously accessible; Hoge draws readers in with creative language and analogies to help clarify and set the tone of his complex story. For instance, the book begins with the direction "Imagine you're in art class," with Hoge going on to detail the process of sculpting a face as a way to describe his own appearance. Pencil illustrations sprinkled throughout help set the scene for readers. VERDICT This empowering story will reach even the hardest of hearts. Recommended for its message of tolerance and acceptance.—Jess Gafkowitz, New York Public Library [Page 93]. (c) Copyright 2016 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Born with a large facial tumor and stunted legs, Robert Hoge shares how he refused to let what made him different stand in the way of leading a happy, successful life.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

"Robert Hoge was born with a tumor the size of a tennis ball in the middle of his face and short, twisted legs, but he refused to let what made him different stand in the way of leading a happy, successful life. This is the true story of how he embraced his circumstances and never let his "ugly" stop him from focusing on what truly mattered."--

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Having been born with a large facial tumor and undeveloped legs that could only be partially corrected despite extensive surgeries, the author describes the challenges that caused him to be bullied and compelled him to rise above his disabilities to enjoy shared times with his siblings, gain self-acceptance and pursue a writing career. Simultaneous eBook.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

A funny, moving, and true story of an ordinary boy with an extraordinary face that's perfect for fans of Wonder—now available in the U.S.   When Robert Hoge was born, he had a tumor the size of a tennis ball in the middle of his face and short, twisted legs. Surgeons removed the tumor and made him a new nose from one of his toes.  Amazingly, he survived—with a face that would never be the same.    Strangers stared at him. Kids called him names, and adults could be cruel, too. Everybody seemed to agree that he was “ugly.” But Robert refused to let his face define him. He played pranks, got into trouble, had adventures with his big family, and finally found a sport that was perfect for him to play. And Robert came face to face with the biggest decision of his life, he followed his heart.This poignant memoir about overcoming bullying and thriving with disabilities shows that what makes us “ugly” also makes us who we are. It features a reflective foil cover and black-and-white illustrations throughout.