lissi, September 2, 2011 (view all comments by lissi)
Good book, well written about an unusual friendship.
To me, what there was of Lucy Grealy's story was compelling. I'm looking forward to reading "The Autobiography of a Face" since I've read that her writing is beautiful. But what I missed in "Truth & Beauty" was the depth of Lucy. What was it about her that made so many people care so deeply for her. I can't believe that it was just the celebrity of her story that kept her friends giving so much when, it appears from this book, that she gave so little.
Ann Patchett seems to have made herself out to be a saint without ever explaining what their friendship meant to her. I would love to hear another side to this story.
E, December 28, 2009 (view all comments by E)
Lucy Grealy's "Autobiography of a Face" about her trials with a disfiguring cancer made a strong impression on me, so it was really fascinating to see a book written about her by a friend. Anne Patchett is very honest in this beautifully written book about their sometimes very tumultous friendship.
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Roseann, September 7, 2006 (view all comments by Roseann)
As unwavering in its honesty as Ann Patchett was in her friendship to Lucy Grealy, this loving biography of a friendship lingered with me long after I finished reading it. I was glad I'd read several of Grealy's books, including her memoir, first. She's a real human being to me now.
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Patchett's eloquent prose gives a vivid portrait of the friendship that she and Lucy Grealy shared. I applaud Patchett's honesty and her refusal to gloss over the difficulties of their friendship. When I found out that Lucy Grealy had died, I was stunned and saddened. She was so full of genius and passionate beauty. I am grateful Patchett chose to give the world this book.
by Mary Jo
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"This memoir of Patchett's friendship with Autobiography of a Face author Lucy Grealy shares many insights into the nature of devotion. One of the best instances of this concerns a fable of ants and grasshoppers. When winter came, the hard-working ant took the fun-loving grasshopper in, each understanding their roles were immutable. It was a symbiotic relationship. Like the grasshopper, Grealy, who died at age 39 in 2002, was an untethered creature, who liked nothing more than to dance, drink and fling herself into Patchett's arms like a kitten. Patchett (The Patron Saint of Liars; Bel Canto) tells this story chronologically, in bursts of dialogue, memory and snippets of Grealy's letters, moving from the unfolding of their deep connection in graduate school and into the more turbulent waters beyond. Patchett describes her attempts to be a writer, while Grealy endured a continuous round of operations as a result of her cancer. Later, when adulthood brought success, but also heartbreak and drug addiction, the duo continued to be intertwined, even though their link sometimes seemed to fray. This gorgeously written chronicle unfolds as an example of how friendships can contain more passion and affection than any in the romantic realm. And although Patchett unflinchingly describes the difficulties she and Grealy faced in the years after grad school, she never loses the feeling she had the first time Grealy sprang into her arms: "[She] — came through the door and it was there, huge and permanent and first." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
by Kirkus Reviews,
"A tough and loving tribute, hard to put down, impossible to forget."
"Dazzling in its psychological interpretations...candid in its self-portraiture, and gracefully balanced between emotion and reason...an utterly involving and cathartic elegy that speaks to everyone who would do anything for their soul mate."
by Joyce Carol Oates, The New York Times Book Review,
"A harrowing document, composed in a spare, forthright style? Grealy's letters glow with the energy of a quirkily original voice?.The juxtaposing of these very different voices makes the memoir an inspired duet."
by Sarah Gianelli, The Oregonian,
"To say that Truth and Beauty is a memoir about [a] friendship, while true, doesn't begin to do justice to the extraordinary bond the two writers shared or Patchett's refined reflection upon it."
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