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REVIEW: A Face For Picasso


Wowowowowow, do I have a nonfiction book hangover? Is that a thing? This book was phenomenal and would make for a perfect read for nonfiction November. At the recommendation from a friend, A FACE FOR PICASSO made its way to the list of books I wanted to intentionally read this year as a way to experience someone else’s perspective on life. I learned so much and have a deeper appreciation for the differences among people. Author Ariel Henley (and her sister) overcame so much in their journey with Crouzon Syndrome. The road was not easy, and I am so thankful Ariel had the courage to share her story so I could have the opportunity to hear it. Special thanks to my local library for adding this title to their digital audiobook selection based on my request!

Ariel has Crouzon Syndrome. This is her story.

There are several life lessons I felt like Ariel expressed so clearly in her story. I am going to focus on a few here in this post.


1) People often focus on physical differences, but as humans we are so much more.

Ariel tells over multiple instances when people tried to limit her because of her physical difference. Yet she had so much more to give than what first meets the eye. She blossomed when she was given space to fly, just like any other person. It was also very interesting how she tied in Picasso's history, and I learned a lot about him (and not a lot of it was very favorable).


2) Pursue what you want and do not let others dictate your life.

In Ariel's story, this was particularly evident when she wanted to be a cheerleader and when she went off to college. There were numerous challenges with each one, but knowing her desires helped blaze her own path forward.


3) Have a good support network.

For Ariel, this was mostly her family and a few stand out friends. We were not meant to do life alone. We need each other. I've seen how true this is in my own life when going through a difficult time as well.


I really loved seeing how Ariel chose to live her life, and I wish her nothing but the best moving forward. I'd love to hear if you decide to pick up this book. Ariel does narrate her own book, so I personally think the audio is the way to go as there is something special about hearing someone tell their own story. This is a memoir I will be talking about and recommending years to come!


One aspect I did want to point out is the amount of detail Ariel went into regarding her numerous surgeries and recoveries. By the age of two, she had more surgeries than most of us will have in a lifetime and they impacted her greatly.


Content Warning: medical descriptions, bullying, suicidal thoughts, ableism

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