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Book Review: Truth and Beauty by Ann Patchett

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A friend of mine who I often trade books with handed me this a couple months ago and said, "I think you'll really like it". I had never read an Ann Patchett book and since Bel Canto was on my list, which I've heard such amazing things about, I decided to add this title, too. If I can remember correctly the first 40ish pages took awhile to get into; after that I finished quickly.

Truth and Beauty is a memoir of friendship between the two writers, Ann, and her best friend, the late Lucy Grealy of Autobiography of a Face fame. The story isn't a typical book broken into chapters of episodes, but more like chapters of emotions...and surgery. A lot of the chapters either start or end with a letter from Lucy, setting the tone, or rather closing the state of emotion out, with her poetic words and battle with loneliness.

The story is set over a couple decades, starting with college and ending sadly without Lucy about twenty years later. It's a recap of both authors' fame, awards, trials, moves, and teaching positions, and it's written so well. Ms. Patchett, more of a type A 'square' is always trying to save Lucy from her demons and Lucy is trying to smother her loneliness by anything and everything including men, art, shopping, and writing. The story has a sad ending but so many wonderful lines about friendship and the human heart, the human condition.

I give this book 3.5 stars out of 5, and not because it wasn't written well. It was written beautifully. I simply grew frustrated with Lucy's character and her mind-numbing behavior that was destroying her life. I think you may give it a better mark, reader, but there's only so much sadness a character can ooze out onto the audience, and after awhile I chose to turn a deaf ear and fall behind a wall of less concern for the tragedy. It is a true story, and it is a very sad thing, but there is only so much help a person -a human friend- can do for another. In the end, one has to take responsibility for their own actions, including those that turn a deaf ear to the One who has given His life over for our mess, the only thing making us whole.

Comments

Renee said…
I've read both this book and Autobiography of a Face. Reading both books has a way of shedding light on parts of Lucy's frustrating life, so I highly recommend both.
Hirsita Dixit said…
Oh So nice.....great post... nice tips
& Great achivement in this blog
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