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Autobiography of a Face Paperback – March 18, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
I greatly appreciated the way in which Lucy described what it felt like during chemo treatments and surgeries, because her interpretation is not glossed over. There is no real way to describe the experience except to go through it for yourself to really understand it, but Lucy's words came very close! One day, I wish to write my own novel describing my struggle with cancer as an adolescent.
I'd also love to talk with Lucy, one survivor to another, if possible.
Then she died, and although her death was ruled accidental, it's clear she had been on a steady downward spiral through the last couple of years of her life. Ann Patchett's stunning and conflicted story of her 20-year friendship with Grealy (Truth and Beauty) uncovers the raw underbelly of Lucy Grealy's personality, her unending quest to be special, first, best, and most of all, lovable.
To get a fuller picture, one that I feel still isn't quite complete, of this quixotic individual, it's imperative that readers of Grealy's book also read Patchett's.
"Are you crazy?" critics of Grealy's work may ask. "The book is full of self-pity, lies and self-absorption." Descriptions I read of encounters with Grealy after she became a literary notable would certainly seem to validate these judgments.
But if the reader evaluates her memoir with the sensitivity and intellectual rigor it demands, the reader discovers that Grealy is not whiny at all. If she vacillates in her judgment of herself, if she shows us the tortuous feelings of self-pity and ugliness she felt, she is at the same time showing us an honest portrait of a human being in all its contradictory glory. Does the reader expect Grealy to act unaffected by the taunts of her peers, the pain of chemo treatments, the pain of knowing she will never be given what she wants? Who wouldn't have indulged the fantasies she did, considering her age and the severity of her condition? Has any one of us, her readers, undergone such unremitting physical and emotional pain?
As for Grealy's supposed detachment, we might say such distance is both necessary and understandable, considering when she wrote the memoir. Wordsworth noted that poetry, which I think applies to Grealy's work (I'm paraphrasing), is "an emotion recollected in tranquillity"--not while the passions are churning, but after the fact, when the writer can calmly assess the feelings and their significance.Read more ›
I agree with some of the other reviewers who said they felt Grealy was revealing only what she wanted the reader to know -- that there's more to this story than what she included here. While I found this intriguing and slightly frustrating, I did not feel cheated. Had Grealy lived, there might have been other books that focused on other aspects of her illness and surgeries -- how it affected her family's daily life, her relationships with her siblings (especially her twin sister), and so on. Issues that were only touched upon in this book, but which could have formed the thematic basis for several subsequent memoirs.
Though I was a little disappointed not to have been given more information about those things in this book, I realize that the title of the book is "Autobiography of a Face," and the focus of the book is exactly that -- this the story of Lucy Grealy's face, and "how it got that way." While her careful honing and focusing of the book's contents did leave me slightly dissatisfied because of all the other things I wanted to know, I can't deny what looks like a marvelous job of Grealy remaining true to her intended subject.
I must confess, I'm looking forward to reading Ann Patchett's "Truth and Beauty," which allegedly offers a look at Lucy Grealy that differs from what Grealy allows us in her own book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This story was difficult to read. The story of Lucy Grealy was a hard one to finish. She suffered so much with bone cancer and the children of her day seemed so cruel. Read morePublished 4 days ago by Myrna G.
a book about a courageous girl/woman who had part of her jaw removed from cancer. Makes you think about prejudice in many formsPublished 23 days ago by Kindle Customer
I read this autobiography many years ago and it has stayed with me all of these years. Lucy's writing voice is haunting and lyrical and painfully beautiful. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Rusty B. Shackleford
I had to read this book when i was in college and I loved it. It was sad but a great story also and i recommend it to anyone. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Jfont
amazing story! I need to find if it is an AR book so my teen daughter can read it. Very good read!Published 3 months ago by KristinRN
This will always be one of my favorite books. It came in good condition & made a great Christmas present!Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
I can't imagine how horrific Lucy Grealy's adolescence and young adulthood must have been! I have tremendous sympathy for her. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Amazon Customer