READING FACES by

READING FACES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

I believe strongly that the outstanding characteristic of man is his individuality,"" professes psychiatrist Bellak (Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York University); but by splitting the human face into four roughly equal quadrants and coming up with virtually the same results no matter whose face is getting the going over--well, Bellak's sacrificed something in believability. Celebrities' faces form the true nucleus of this effort: almost all, from Elvis Presley to the Kennedy brothers, have a soft side and a more calculating side. In fact, Bellak likes duality so well that he virtually enshrines it, by asserting that the right brain (therefore left face) reflects ""gut feelings that are a person's basic attitude,"" while the opposite side denotes the ""civilized social mask."" Amazingly, he also associates the ""gut feeling"" side with negative and sinister emotions--which leads one to the inescapable conclusion that we must be innately negative and sinister creatures. Just in case we turn out to be dullards, as well, Bellak implements his ""Zone System"" with a list of ""101 Traits"" to be found in the human countenance--like ""open"" and ""tense."" We can use this to understand ourselves and the other poor schnook so much better. Or, forget it.

Pub Date: April 17th, 1981
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart & Winston