Second Bookses

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Truth and Beauty: A Friendship

Truth and Beauty - Ann Patchett I was absolutely stuck coming up with a title for this review. Sure, there are reviews that I don't have the easiest time titling, and some are better than others, but for this one I am absolutely stumped, because I know that in no way, either in the title, or this review, can I do this incredible book justice.::: The Basics :::The author, Ann Patchett, is the author of the New York Times best seller Bel Canto. In Truth and Beauty: A Friendship, she tells the story of her life as it involves her friendship with the poet (and author of An Autobiography of a Face) Lucy Grealy, who she met at the Iowa Writer's Workshop.The memoir begins with the story of how their friendship actually started, as roommates of necessity in Iowa, and details how their friendship unfolds over the next 17 years as both vie for fellowships, move around the country, and finally both become published (and successful) authors.::: An Incredible Friendship :::The friendship of Ann and Lucy is extraordinary not only because of their history together, and their success, but because of Lucy and Ann themselves. The two writers were the quintessential Yin and Yang, with Lucy always the center of attention, always popular, while Ann seemed always in the shadows, always the practical one.Lucy is a mesmerizing person, and as the centerpoint of this book, she is riveting. I can't ever remember reading a memoir as fast as I read Truth and Beauty: A Friendship, because I was unable to control the need to know what Lucy was going to do next. The survivor of childhood cancer, Lucy was forever having surgeries in attempts to reconstruct her face. Patchett's recounting of surgeries as well as the parties and places Lucy went seemed a story that must have a happy ending, even though I knew from the start that they would not: Lucy Grealy died in December 2002.::: Why You Need to Read Truth and Beauty :::I don't know of anyone who hasn't had (or at least seen) that friendship with that person that everyone wants to be friends with, and yet needs so much. Lucy Grealy is that friend who just can't be saved, no matter how hard you try, and yet is so dynamic and shines so brightly you can't drag yourself away.Grealy's life could have been portrayed as a train wreck waiting to happen; with psychological damage left as a result of the damage done to her face from her childhood cancer treatment, her need is overwhelming. And yet, Patchett never makes her seem unsympathetic. Never once do you want her to cut Grealy out of her life, instead, up until the very last page, you hope that she will turn her life around, that Patchett will be able to help her, that she will fulfill the potential that Patchett (and you) know that she has.::: Overall :::Truth and Beauty: A Friendship is a riveting read, and one that should not be missed. Even in retrospect, Patchett is able to show the truth of Grealy's life while still demonstrating how much she treasured her friendship. I don't think it is possible to have dry eyes as you reach the ending you already knew.

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