Truth and Beauty – Ann Patchett

I’m not entirely sure what to write about this book, I can understand how people just love it and I really, really wanted to love it…but didn’t. I love the idea of the book but I can’t help but admit I was disappointed.
Truth and Beauty is about the friendship between Lucy Grealy (Author of Autobiography of a face) and Ann Patchett (Author of this book among others). It details the intricacies of their friendship from aspiring writers to successful authors and everything in between.
Lucy had cancer when she was young leaving her with a disfigured face as well as breathing and eating issues and throughout her life she underwent over 30 corrective surgeries. Despite this, and likely because of it, Lucy was a celebrity everywhere she went, people were drawn to her and Ann was one of those people. They go through graduate school together, endlessly apply for writing residencies which they each in turn win but never at the same time and find their way through relationships and breakups, drug addiction and writers block.
I wouldn’t want to steer anyone away from reading this book, I think for many people its honesty as well as it’s insights into both the world of aspiring authors and the realities of friendships would be appreciated. However much of the content of the book to me was troubling. It’s such an honest account, but the honestly is almost brutal. Lucy is painted as an extremely needy, dependent wreck for most of the book, and although Ann herself seems to find this enduring you can’t help but read the subtext as slander. We all have our faults but to have them immortalised in a book, for no specific reason to me seems unnecessary and cruel. However it goes without saying that as an idealist, who loves the drama, but craves the happy ending, I am not the most impartial critic. If you like a well written book, biographies and true stories, not doubt you will find this a good read.
Rating: 3 Stars

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