Customer Reviews for

Truth and Beauty: A Friendship

Average Rating 4
( 67 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

One of a kind and enchanting

I read this book with a mix of emotions: I was frequently thrilled by the construction of a sentence while being saddened by the story it told. But the bottom line is that I loved it. Loved it in the unique kind of way that such a sad story can be loved. I loved Ann'...
I read this book with a mix of emotions: I was frequently thrilled by the construction of a sentence while being saddened by the story it told. But the bottom line is that I loved it. Loved it in the unique kind of way that such a sad story can be loved. I loved Ann's courageousness to share such intimate, probably often painful memories. I loved the fact that anyone even wrote a memoir about friendship - one of the truest, most oft unsung staples of life. I find myself wishing that I could have a long gab with Ann and ask her more about Lucy or about her other friends. I feel like she understands both friendships and writing, which makes her book a remarkable offering. Yes, be prepared for a peek into a unuiqe relationship. Yes, be prepared for some sadness. Yes, have your phone handy to call up your best friend and tell him/her that you love him/her. But don't close your mind because of tears or differences. Let Ann and Lucy's friendship take you by storm, and enjoy it.

posted by Anonymous on May 12, 2005

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Most Helpful Critical Review

4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

Sorry tale of a sick relationship

This book is being publicized as a moving account of an enduring, loving friendship. It actuality, it is a disturbing tale of an unhealthy, co-dependent union between two women who both have severe emotional problems. Ann Patchett wrote an article for New York Magazine ...
This book is being publicized as a moving account of an enduring, loving friendship. It actuality, it is a disturbing tale of an unhealthy, co-dependent union between two women who both have severe emotional problems. Ann Patchett wrote an article for New York Magazine following the death of her friend Lucy Grealy; this book is simply a longer version of that article. Patchett cannot stop reiterating how everybody loved Lucy, how so many people were enamoured of her, 'so many people in love with her'. In reality, Grealy comes across as being very much alone. I get the impression that people viewed her as a sort of interesting novelty because of her history of illness and facial disfigurement, and that's why she got a fair amount of attention from various types of people. Certainly people were not attracted to her because of her sterling character. Even Patchett, who is bizarrely devoted to Grealy no matter how abominably she behaves, admits that Lucy was frequently awful. Lucy was the roommate from hell; she left all the cooking and cleaning duties to Patchett, while she herself left bowls of Cream of Wheat on the floor, left wet towels under pillows and runs up huge phone bills. After Patchett moves into a house with a boyfriend, Grealy, for some unexplained reason, gets a key to the place, which enables her to bring men there and have sex with them in Patchett and the boyfriends's bed. After doing so, she tells Patchett all about it...some friend! Despite Patchett's protestions about how wonderful Lucy is, I find Lucy to be downright unbearable; self-absorbed, reckless, promiscuous, thoughtless, and psychotically needy. Over and over she asks Patchett 'do you love me?'; over and over she is jumping into Patchett's arms, wrapping her legs around her waist, leaning her head on her shoulder, crawling into bed with her, hanging on to her as a limpet to a rock. Grealy is morbidly jealous on any relationship Patchett has with anyone else be they male or female. When Patchett wants to work with a woman named Betsy, she asks for Grealy's permission! Patchett does literally everything for Grealy; she gives, gives gives, while Grealy takes, takes, takes. What sense can be made of this? The only thing I can figure is that Patchett is a person who needs to be used. Grealy was a master at doing this, so no wonder Patchett was hooked on this creepy 'friendship' that seems more like a marriage. One final note: Grealy's sister Suellen, has some choice words about this book. You can read about her views in The Guardian Review. She is understandable upset by what she feels is the exploitation of her sister by Ann Patchett (who she does not regard as a very skilled writer) and by how her family has been portrayed since Grealy's death. Patchett remarked to Suellen that she has been working, writing, and living in 'the Lucy factory' and discussed film rights. Crass.

posted by Anonymous on August 12, 2004

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2004

    Sorry tale of a sick relationship

    This book is being publicized as a moving account of an enduring, loving friendship. It actuality, it is a disturbing tale of an unhealthy, co-dependent union between two women who both have severe emotional problems. Ann Patchett wrote an article for New York Magazine following the death of her friend Lucy Grealy; this book is simply a longer version of that article. Patchett cannot stop reiterating how everybody loved Lucy, how so many people were enamoured of her, 'so many people in love with her'. In reality, Grealy comes across as being very much alone. I get the impression that people viewed her as a sort of interesting novelty because of her history of illness and facial disfigurement, and that's why she got a fair amount of attention from various types of people. Certainly people were not attracted to her because of her sterling character. Even Patchett, who is bizarrely devoted to Grealy no matter how abominably she behaves, admits that Lucy was frequently awful. Lucy was the roommate from hell; she left all the cooking and cleaning duties to Patchett, while she herself left bowls of Cream of Wheat on the floor, left wet towels under pillows and runs up huge phone bills. After Patchett moves into a house with a boyfriend, Grealy, for some unexplained reason, gets a key to the place, which enables her to bring men there and have sex with them in Patchett and the boyfriends's bed. After doing so, she tells Patchett all about it...some friend! Despite Patchett's protestions about how wonderful Lucy is, I find Lucy to be downright unbearable; self-absorbed, reckless, promiscuous, thoughtless, and psychotically needy. Over and over she asks Patchett 'do you love me?'; over and over she is jumping into Patchett's arms, wrapping her legs around her waist, leaning her head on her shoulder, crawling into bed with her, hanging on to her as a limpet to a rock. Grealy is morbidly jealous on any relationship Patchett has with anyone else be they male or female. When Patchett wants to work with a woman named Betsy, she asks for Grealy's permission! Patchett does literally everything for Grealy; she gives, gives gives, while Grealy takes, takes, takes. What sense can be made of this? The only thing I can figure is that Patchett is a person who needs to be used. Grealy was a master at doing this, so no wonder Patchett was hooked on this creepy 'friendship' that seems more like a marriage. One final note: Grealy's sister Suellen, has some choice words about this book. You can read about her views in The Guardian Review. She is understandable upset by what she feels is the exploitation of her sister by Ann Patchett (who she does not regard as a very skilled writer) and by how her family has been portrayed since Grealy's death. Patchett remarked to Suellen that she has been working, writing, and living in 'the Lucy factory' and discussed film rights. Crass.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2005

    One of a kind and enchanting

    I read this book with a mix of emotions: I was frequently thrilled by the construction of a sentence while being saddened by the story it told. But the bottom line is that I loved it. Loved it in the unique kind of way that such a sad story can be loved. I loved Ann's courageousness to share such intimate, probably often painful memories. I loved the fact that anyone even wrote a memoir about friendship - one of the truest, most oft unsung staples of life. I find myself wishing that I could have a long gab with Ann and ask her more about Lucy or about her other friends. I feel like she understands both friendships and writing, which makes her book a remarkable offering. Yes, be prepared for a peek into a unuiqe relationship. Yes, be prepared for some sadness. Yes, have your phone handy to call up your best friend and tell him/her that you love him/her. But don't close your mind because of tears or differences. Let Ann and Lucy's friendship take you by storm, and enjoy it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2004

    riveting, but flawed

    This is a beautifully crafted story of an intense, demanding friendship in which Patchett seems to be doing all the giving. You question the health and craziness of that relationship throughout the book -- something Patchett herself doesn't address. That's disappointing.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2005

    'and that was my mistake'

    a powerful book about unconditional love. What made it even better, and why it touched me so much, was that every word of it was true. sad, but beautiful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2005

    Worth the Read

    This is a lovely but sad story of what and how we perceive ourselves and those around us.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2005

    a little disappointed

    There was a couple chapters that were boring but for the most part the book was ok. It made me feel sad for lucy and it was kind of depressing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2004

    =(

    My Opinion i honestly can say i thought this book was disturbing it had good parts but for the most part it was sad.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2004

    Could not stop reading

    I could not put this down, stopped grading papers in order to finish so I could concentrate. Also, it was so interesting catching the names of all my other favorite authors as I read, especially Adrian LeBlanc! I would love to have spent time with Lucy, Anne, and Adrian!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2004

    READ WITH HONESTY, CONVICTION, AND AFFECTION

    A proverb tells us that love is blind while friendship closes its eyes. PEN/Faulkner Award winning author Ann Patchett must have closed her eyes many times without even being aware that she was doing so during her enduring friendship with fellow writer Lucy Grealy. It is this relationship that is lovingly chronicled in 'Truth & Beauty.' Patchett reads the story of the years the duo shared with honesty, conviction and deep affection. As some know Grealy suffered from a rare form of cancer that cost her part of her jaw and untold hours on the operating table that could not halt the spread of the disease. She died at the too young age of 39 two years ago. Roommates at the University of Iowa Patchett and Grealy immediately bonded, sharing visions of becoming famous writers and taking the world by storm. Of course, as young women will there were also endless discussions about boys, the men they might marry. Their friendship spanned two decades and stands as moving testament to the strength of love and the meaning of loyalty. Listening to this CD is reward in itself, an opportunity to share the lives of two dauntless women joined by the bonds of limitless devotion. - Gail Cooke

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2004

    Good read...

    It is a well written book that makes you think about how you would handle life in either Lucy's or Ann's shoes. They both had issues to deal with. Ann is a great writer.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2004

    You CAN Judge this book by its cover...

    A beautiful cover to accompany a beautifully written memoir!!! Ann Patchett successfully tells the story of her friend, a passionate poet whose battle with childhood cancer defined much of her life. This book offers a glimpse into the life of struggling writers while focusing on the beautiful relationship between two best friends. Lucy Grealy truly was a beautiful person who overcame overwhelming adversity but who sadly never saw herself as loved.... she'll live on forever in the memories of her friends and in the prose of Ann Patchett. Touching and worthwhile... I devoured this one in two evenings.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2004

    Objective Heartbreak

    What makes Ann Patchett's book so wonderful and moving (and it is those things and more), is the fact that she tells the story of her friendship with Lucy Grealy in a way that restores faith in what friendship is really about -- i.e., this is an unfliching gaze not only at love but in confusion and betrayal, as well. It is also a book that reminds us -- in a time when, as a country anyway, we may have forgotten -- how one's commitment to individuality and passion make the world a bearable place to live.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2004

    Taking a Chance

    Truth & Beauty is a non-fiction novel that takes a chance. Patchett steps out of her natural realm of fiction and into a deep relationship that is not often explored by the authors of today. Unlike the love that is so often expressed in romantic terms, Truth & Beauty is about a true love felt among the best of friends. Many tribulations take place during their frienship and the reader is invited into the many writings and conversations between the two people. I enjoyed this book because it dared to take a chance. So often we read the books that all have the same message and so often we are told what books to like and what not to like. Truth & Beauty is the opposite. Patchett tells this story because she has to, because it is true and it is beautiful. She does not write it to make money or gain fame. It reminds me very much of last year's controversial release Lucky Monkeys In The Sky. A story of truth, dreams, and love beyond the oridinary, bigger than the very universe itself. The books are equally daring (particulary with their unique writing styles). They are also equally honest, eloquent and, most of all, necessary. Take the chance.

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    Posted March 31, 2010

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    Posted January 28, 2010

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    Posted November 30, 2010

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