June 4th, 2007

reading, activism, writing

Book #25: Truth & Beauty by Ann Patchett

Great friendships are truly rare. Lucy Grealy and Ann Patchett had a great friendship. Beside the personal support and comfort they afforded each other, their relationship gave them each a mutual caregiver, confidant, clothing consultant, and a built-in writers' group.

I read this book together with Autobiography of a Face by Grealy because I wanted to get the full effect of these women's lives as they interpreted them on paper. The impact was deep and astonishing.

Because Grealy's book ends on a note that promises both life and the recognition of life's fragility, reading Patchett's book, chronicling Grealy's last years, felt like a head-long run off a cliff. I knew the end of the story, Lucy Grealy, after surviving childhood cancer and enduring multiple operations to rebuild her jaw, dies of an accidental overdose at the age of 39.

But somehow it was only at the end of Truth & Beauty that I fully absorbed the tragedy of Grealy's untimely death. Through Patchett, I fell in love with Lucy, just as she had.

x-posted: Blog, 50BookChallenge