Sonderbooks Book Reviews by Sondra Eklund

Sonderbooks Stand-out 2004
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*****= An all-time favorite
****  = Outstanding
***    = Above average
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*        = Good, with reservations


***Truth and Beauty

[a friendship]

by Ann Patchett

Reviewed July 21, 2004.
HarperCollins, New York, 2004.  257 pages.
Sonderbooks Stand-out 2004, #9, Personal Stories and Reflections
Available at Sembach Library (B GRE)

Truth & Beauty is the story of the friendship of two writers, Ann Patchett and Lucy Grealey.  Ann Patchett is the author of Bel Canto, and Lucy Grealy is the author of Autobiography of a Face.  I’ve heard good things about both books, even though I haven’t read either one yet.

Ann Patchett tells how Lucy flung herself into her life when they attended graduate school and roomed together.  It tells about their struggles, trying to support themselves as writers, trying to win fellowships and grants and get something written, with the inevitable series of disappointments before the excitement of success.

Mostly, the book is about the delightful personality of Lucy Grealey.  Lucy had a face disfigured from a childhood bout with cancer, but she was affectionate, creative, fun-loving, and always surrounded by friends.  Lucy also had lots of self-doubt and depression, which she tried to heal with sex and later with drugs.

This is a sad story.  We come to love Lucy, too, so we grieve with Ann when her life gets out of control.  Still, reading this book gives the reader the gift of knowing a delightful, beautiful person, even if it’s only secondhand.

Reviews of other books by Ann Patchett:
Bel Canto
State of Wonder
The Dutch House
Tom Lake

Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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