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Truth & Beauty: A Friendship by Ann Patchett
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Truth & Beauty: A Friendship (2004)

by Ann Patchett

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,124793,084 (3.93)97
  1. 20
    Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy (joaldo)
    joaldo: I recommend reading Autobiography of a Face first, then Truth and Beauty. Autobiography of a Face should be enjoyed for what it is, without being in some way 'tainted' by the harsher view of Lucy's friend, Ann Patchett. Reading Ann's book next will then give the reader a completely different perspective on the poet herself, her work, and on their friendship.… (more)
  2. 02
    The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made by Greg Sestero (akblanchard)
    akblanchard: An interesting memoir about an unconventional, unequal friendship.
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This memoir is a great testament to true friendship. Being a true friend is not always easy, but we do it because of the deep love we have for that person. Ann and Lucy's relationship was filled with love through some truly tumultuous times and events. We all want to be able to save the ones we love, but sometimes they can not be saved or may not want to be saved. I will suggest this book to many. A perfect book for book clubs. ( )
  bnbookgirl | Jan 21, 2017 |
Ann and Lucy attended Sarah Lawrence at the same time. Ann had noticed Lucy because of her vibrant personality and her many friends, but was sure Lucy didn’t know who Ann was. However, after a summer absence Lucy sees Ann and flies into her arms in greeting. From that point on they were devoted friends throughout their lives. They lived in poverty while Ann pursues her dream of becoming a novelist and Lucy a poet. Ann understands early on how needy Lucy is and determines not to let that rule her life, but Lucy also lives with great abandon and loves to dance, party, and spend her time surrounded by others, and shares those joys with Ann. They often spend evenings dancing in their kitchen until they're exhausted. As Ann spends years working in a restaurant while pursuing her writing, Lucy is in and out of hospitals having surgeries to correct her jaw, all of which ultimately fail. Each eventually become recognized as writers, but the real story is the enduring and passionate friendship. They communicate daily most of their lives, sharing everything and making each other a priority. While the road is sometimes rocky, their love for one another endures throughout. This is an honest portrayal of a flawed but wonderful friendship. ( )
  LeslieHurd | Jan 11, 2017 |
Well done. A portrait of the poet Lucy Grealy. The family was up in arms on this one, I can see why, but I feel like this comes acfos fondly and accurately. ( )
  cookierooks | Nov 16, 2016 |
Truth and Beauty - Patchett
4 stars

I’ve read and enjoyed two of Ann Patchett’s novels. I like her work and I’d been meaning to read this memoir for a very long time. It’s the story of her friendship with the poet/author Lucy Grealy. It’s her tribute to a vibrant personality and a testament to friendship.
Lucy Grealy was the author of her own memoir, Autobiography of a Face, which detailed her life long quest to repair the early damage of childhood cancer. Patchett’s memoir details the highs and lows of an intimate friendship with a person who is both physically and mentally disabled. It was very sad and somehow too intimate for me.
Not that Lucy Grealy made the slightest attempt to be a private person. Everyone knows Lucy, even if she doesn’t know them. Her facial distortion is just too recognizable. She’s charming, talented, energetic, manic, desperately seeking attention, professional success, love. She’s a train wreck about to happen. It was painful to read.
( )
  msjudy | May 30, 2016 |
Truth & Beauty by Ann Patchett is a memoir of her friendship with author and poet Lucy Grealy. Grealy attained prominence in 1994 with her Autobiography of a Face, which chronicled her years of brutal radiation and chemotherapy for Ewing's sarcoma in her lower jaw, and the subsequent reconstructive surgeries that were largely unsuccessful. Their friendship begins in 1985 when they are in graduate school until 2002, when Grealy died of a heroin overdose at the age of thirty-nine.

This account of their friendship, beginning when they were roommates in graduate school, is told in chronological order through memories, dialogue, and parts of Grealy's letters to Patchett. Patchett compares their friendship to the fable of the grasshopper and the ant. Grealy is the fun-loving, care-free grasshopper while Patchett is the hardworking ant. (But the grasshopper relies on the hardworking ant to save her.)

I have not read Grealy's Autobiography of a Face, but understand that this account shows a different side of her life and her personality. She was a deeply needy, self-absorbed woman who demanded to be the center of attention, either Patchett's or others in her circle. But Grealy also continued to undergo painful reconstructive surgeries. She had a difficult time eating. She lacked self esteem. She was constantly in search of love, or sex. After the great success of Autobiography of a Face she was unable to settle down and write another book. She was disorganized and irresponsible. She was in debt and ignored her bills (or allowed others to pay them).

Admittedly I would not have the patience or tolerance that Patchett had for Grealy, an insecure friend who threw herself into Patchett's arms or sat in her lap, constantly demanding to be the absolute center of attention like a spoiled child. While Patchett does allude to the strain this one-sided neediness could cause, especially when Grealy became a heroin addict, she was also more accepting of all of Grealy's demanding behavior than should be expected.

I actually think this is a deeply moving and totally honest portrayal of Patchett's friendship with Grealy and their relationship. Apparently Lucy Grealy's family was quite upset about Ann Patchett's account of her friendship with Grealy in Truth & Beauty, going as far as to attack Patchett's writing ability, which is absurd. Patchett is a very talented writer who is most certainly not riding on Grealy's fame. (Personally, I knew of Patchett's writing before I even heard the name Lucy Grealy.)

While I understand that the honesty in this account may be hard to read, seldom do people know all sides of a loved one. I'm sure that Grealy showed one side of her personality to her family, while her friends knew a decidedly different aspect of her personality. It may simply be difficult for her family members to accept this side of her life. If anything, Patchett down plays her own successes and accomplishments in comparison to Grealy's.
Very Highly Recommended; http://shetreadssoftly.blogspot.com/

( )
  SheTreadsSoftly | Mar 21, 2016 |
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The thing you can count on in life is that Tennessee will always be scorching hot in August.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060572159, Paperback)

Ann Patchett and the late Lucy Grealy met in college in 1981, and, after enrolling in the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, began a friendship that would be as defining to both of their lives as their work. In Grealy’s critically acclaimed memoir, Autobiography of a Face, she wrote about losing part of her jaw to childhood cancer, years of chemotherapy and radiation, and endless reconstructive surgeries. In Truth & Beauty, the story isn’t Lucy’s life or Ann’s life, but the parts of their lives they shared. This is a portrait of unwavering commitment that spans twenty years, from the long winters of the Midwest, to surgical wards, to book parties in New York. Through love, fame, drugs, and despair, this is what it means to be part of two lives that are intertwined . . . and what happens when one is left behind.

This is a tender, brutal book about loving the person we cannot save. It is about loyalty, and being lifted up by the sheer effervescence of someone who knew how to live life to the fullest.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:41 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

"What happens when the person who is your family is someone you aren't bound to by blood? What happens when the person you promise to love and to honor for the rest of your life is not your lover, but your best friend? In Truth & Beauty, her first work of nonfiction, Ann Patchett shines a light on the world of women's friendships and shows us what it means to stand together." "Ann Patchett and Lucy Grealy met in college in 1981, and, after enrolling in the Iowa Writers' Workshop, began a friendship that would be as defining to both of their lives as their work was. In her memoir, Autobiography of a Face, Lucy Grealy wrote about losing part of her jaw to childhood cancer, the years of chemotherapy and radiation, and then the endless reconstructive surgeries. In Truth & Beauty, the story isn't Lucy's life or Ann's life, but the parts of their lives they shared. This is a portrait of unwavering commitment that spans twenty years, from the long, cold winters of the Midwest, to surgical wards, to book parties in New York. Through love, fame, drugs, and despair, this book shows us what it means to be part of two lives that are intertwined." "This is a book about loving a person we cannot save. It is about loyalty, and about being lifted up by the sheer effervescence of someone who knew how to live life to the fullest."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

» see all 5 descriptions

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