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Truth & Beauty

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Ann Patchett

8 Hours 7 Minutes

HarperCollins Publishers

July 2004

Audio Book Summary

'A loving testament to the work and reward of the best friendships, the kind where your arms can’t distinguish burden from embrace.” — People

New York Times Bestselling author Ann Patchett’s first work of nonfiction chronicling her decades-long friendship with the critically acclaimed and recently deceased author, Lucy Grealy.

Ann Patchett and the late Lucy Grealy met in college in 1981, and, after enrolling in the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, began a friendship that would be as defining to both of their lives as their work. In Gealy's critically acclaimed and hugely successful memoir, Autobiography of a Face, she wrote about losing part of her jaw to childhood cancer, years of chemotherapy and radiation, and endless reconstructive surgeries. In Truth & Beauty, the story isn't Lucy's life or Ann's life, but the parts of their lives they shared together. This is a portrait of unwavering commitment that spans twenty years, from the long cold winters of the Midwest, to surgical wards, to book parties in New York. Through love, fame, drugs, and despair, this is what it means to be part of two lives that are intertwined...and what happens when one is left behind.

This is a tender, brutal book about loving the person we cannot save. It is about loyalty and being uplifted by the sheer effervescence of someone who knew how to live life to the fullest.

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  • Tamara F.

    Very disappointed. I never felt any sympathy for the main character Lucy and thought the relationship between the author and Lucy unhealthy. I waste of my time and I love to read

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  • Anonymous

    Loved this beautiful story of friendship

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  • Angie Teal

    Unlike the other reviewers I found the book disturbing and sad. It was an unhealthy friendship between a needy, narcissistic and emotionally stunted taker (Lucy) and co-dependent and over-indulging giver (Ann). Lucy got in trouble, Ann cleaned up after her. While I realize that Lucy indeed had enough difficulties in her life, I felt that her ugliness was more on the inside than on the outside. Ann was unable to set boundaries, and only encouraged the outrageous irresponsible behaviour of Lucy G. I was sad for both of them.

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  • Lutisha Vickerie

    Beautiful rendition of their friendship. Lucy's life both broke my heart and inspired me, all in the same breath. I wish Ann wrote more openly on her own feelings and journey as well.

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  • pilar padilla

    Although I am a fan of Ann Patchett, being a regular attendee of Alanon, this book was a romance of self indulgence. Poor me, not easy to stomach

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  • Donna Griffin

    Wow, what a fantastic read. A gifted friendship, both happy and tragic. I went on to read Anatomy of a Face, also a great read.

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  • Peggy Stortz

    Ann Patchett held my heart in her hand as she mesmorized me in this riveting, raw and loving account of a friendship. Lucy was a brilliant, but emotionally needy person and Ann has managed to capture all the facets of her complex personality. This loving account of their relationship has changed the way that I look at the world. I recommend it highly.

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  • Angela Jones

    Beautifully written. The life of Lucy was so tortured. I can't imagine what it would be like to know there would never be an end to the pain and suffering. I asmire Ann for loving Lucy unconditionally and always letting her know that she was LOVED. Great listen teaches many lessons about what is truely inportant in this life.

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  • jd of new orleans

    I thought this book was a great portrayal of friendship and addiction.

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