BKMT READING GUIDES



 
Inspiring,
Life Changing,
Beautiful

1 review

Truth & Beauty: A Friendship
by Ann Patchett

Published: 2005-04-05
Paperback : 257 pages
7 members reading this now
14 clubs reading this now
2 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 1 of 1 members

Ann Patchett and the late Lucy Grealy met in college in 1981, and, after enrolling in the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, began a friendship that would be as defining to both of their lives as their work. In Grealy’s critically acclaimed memoir, Autobiography of a Face, she wrote about losing ...

No other editions available.
Add to Club Selections
Add to Possible Club Selections
Add to My Personal Queue
Jump to

Introduction

Ann Patchett and the late Lucy Grealy met in college in 1981, and, after enrolling in the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, began a friendship that would be as defining to both of their lives as their work. In Grealy’s critically acclaimed 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. This is a portrait of unwavering commitment that spans twenty years, from the long 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 lifted up by the sheer effervescence of someone who knew how to live life to the fullest.

Editorial Review

No editorial review at this time.

Excerpt

Excerpt
Chapter One
The thing you can count on in life is that Tennessee will always be scorching hot in August. In 1985 you could also pretty much count on the fact that the U-Haul truck you rented to drive from Tennessee to Iowa, cutting up through Missouri, would have no air-conditioning or that the air-conditioning would be broken. These are the things I knew for sure when I left home to start graduate school. The windows were down in the truck and my stepsister, Tina, was driving. We sat on towels to keep our bare legs from adhering to the black vinyl seats and licked melted M&Ms off our fingers. My feet were on the dashboard and we were singing because the radio had gone the way of the air conditioner. "Going to the chapel and we're — gonna get mar-ar-aried." We knew all the words to that one. Tina had the better voice, one more reason I was grateful she had agreed to come along for the ride. I was twenty-one and on my way to be a fiction writer. The whole prospect seemed as simple as that: rent a truck, take a few leftover pots and pans and a single bed mattress from the basement of my mother's house, pack up my typewriter. The hills of the Tennessee Valley flattened out before we got to Memphis and as we headed north the landscape covered over with corn. The blue sky blanched white in the heat. I leaned out the window and thought, Good, no distractions. ... view entire excerpt...

Discussion Questions

1. Ann and Lucy shared a deep and intimate bond. Is it only possible to form a relationship like that in early adulthood -- before careers are fully formed and long-term romantic relationships and children enter the picture? In what ways are our relationships with friends different than ones with our family members? Are they always different?

2. How does Lucy's struggle with illness and her own body shape her way of dealing with life and with the people around her? Lucy was an enormously talented writer. Did she use that gift as a way to make sense of life? Do you think writers and artists see the world differently, or more clearly, than other people?

3. Ann chose to write about their friendship in a very frank and intimate way -- to pay tribute to Lucy's life and their whole relationship by recording the moments of triumph and joy, as well as the times of anguish and despair. Would you have the courage to be so honest?

4. The writer's life seems to require a magical gift or creative spirit and incredible drive and focus. Are these qualities contradictory or complementary? What do you think enables writers to persevere through the years of "night jobs" in restaurants and bakeries while they work to realize their dream?

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

No notes at this time.

Book Club Recommendations

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
 
 
by cjsharek (see profile) 12/28/17

 
  "Very tragic story beautifully told."by Kimby (see profile) 05/01/08

I met Lucy Grealy in rehab. She apparently committed suicide two months later. When I found out about this book, I had to read it. It's just such a tragic story. I would not recommend this for a book club... (read more)

 
  "Excellent story of friendship."by jendicus (see profile) 09/05/07

Rate this book
MEMBER LOGIN
Remember me
BECOME A MEMBER it's free

Join the leading website for book clubs with over 35,000 clubs and 20,000 reading guides.

SEARCH OUR READING GUIDES Search
Search


FEATURED EVENTS
PAST AUTHOR CHATS
JOIN OUR MAILING LIST

Get free weekly updates on top club picks, book giveaways, author events and more
Please wait...