Two of her novels have been made into movies: Bump in the Night, 1991, and The Man Without a Face, 1993.
Both these novels deal with issues or allegations of pedophilia.
The Man Without a Face is a 1993 American drama film starring and directed by Mel Gibson. The film is based on Isabelle Holland's 1972 novel of the same name. Gibson's directorial debut received respectful reviews from most critics.
The film's treatment of sexuality between Justin McLeod and Chuck Norstadt differs from the book by Isabelle Holland. In the original novel, McLeod behaves in a way that could be interpreted as child grooming, taking Chuck swimming and being affectionate to him. Chuck, meanwhile, seems to be attracted to McLeod as more than just as a father figure. There is one scene where it is strongly implied that McLeod sexually abuses Chuck in his bedroom. In the film, McLeod demonstrates no sexual interest in the boy at all, even though Chuck appears downstairs in his underwear when the police officer calls. Critics have noted that the book's criticism of homophobia had been obscured in the film version.
The Man Without a Face by Isabelle Holland
Reading level: Ages 13 and up
Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen; Reissue edition (June 30, 1987)
Amazon: The Man Without a Face
Charles didn't know much about life ... until he met The Man Without a Face
"I'd never had a friend, and he was my friend; I'd never really, except for a shadowy memory, had a father, and he was my father. I'd never known an adult I could communicate with or trust, and I communicated with him all the time, whether I was actually talking to him or not. And I trusted him ......
Fourteen-year-old Charles desperately wants two things: a father and a way out. Little love has come his way until the summer he befriends a mysterious scarred man named Justin McLeod, nicknamed ""The Man Without a Face." Charles enlists McLeod's help as tutor for the St. Matthew's school entrance exams, his ticket away from the unpleasant restrictions of his home life. But more important than anything he could get out of a book, that summer Charles learns from McLeod a stirring life lesson about the many faces of love.
-Not much affection had come Charles’s way until the summer he was fourteen, when he met McLeod [a man whose face was deeply scarred] and learned that love has many facets.’ —BL. -A highly moral book, powerfully and sensitively written; a book that never loses sight of the human." —H.
1972 Best Books for Young Adults (ALA)
Best of the Best Books (YA) 1970-1983 (ALA)
Outstanding Children's Books of 1972 (NYT)
More LGBT History at my website: www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Gay Classics
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