A Mask for Every Face
A. G. Moore
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This was intended to be a book about one life, but it grew to be larger than that. It became not only the author's history, but the history of a community. As the work progressed, issues arose from which the author could not turn.
There was her brother, Everett, for example, who at the age of eleven was entrusted to the care of a state facility, Letchworth Village. Twenty years after her brother took up residence there, an expose would reveal that conditions of abuse and neglect were rampant in the institution. The author could not write about her life without addressing this. And so the history of Letchworth, and its affiliation with the eugenics movement, became an important topic in her book.
The particulars of Ms. Moore's personal history by themselves make for an interesting story. She was one of six children. Early in her parents' marriage her father tired of his marital obligations. He left his family without emotional or material support. Her two brothers, Everett and Charles, were the most conspicuous casualties of this neglect--Everett because he was forced to live at Letchworth and Charles because he nearly died of rheumatic fever and was separated from the family for most of his childhood.
As challenging as Ms. Moore's early life was, there were redeeming elements. There was, for example, her mother, who was devoted to her children and who lived, both privately and publicly, a conscientious life. And there was the countryside, a gift which no person could deny the author. And so she writes about this beauty.
Throughout her life, no matter the external circumstances of her environment, one thing remained constant for the author: her social isolation. Years later, when she was a mature woman, Ms. Moore would learn that her personality was typical of someone who had Asperger's Syndrome. And so she writes about this form of autism.
As she wrote this book, there were images in the author's mind that words somehow could not do justice. She felt compelled to reproduce these vivid memories. Though she had never displayed artistic talent, she pressed on, crafting each picture until it met some visceral expectation. The result is a gallery of impressions from her childhood, a gallery which reveals, as no words could, the emotional content of the author's earliest experiences.
A Mask for Every Face is a memoir and it is a commentary on issues of our time. Whether because she has Asperger's Syndrome or because she is simply a thorough writer, Ms. Moore has produced a unique document. This book is the product of a curious intellect, one that demonstrates the ability to synthesize information and one that is manifestly determined to be faithful to the truth.