This is the story of a real life friendship, as told from different perspectives, & at different times, through several books. While both of the authors are brilliant writers, what stands out the most is what amazing friends they were. Their friendship is legendary. These books are so intertwined both in their stories, & in my thoughts, that I decided to post them all together. It was chance that all three of them came to me at one time, but I think at least the last two books should be read together. I guess I should probably at some point mention their names, Lucy Grealy & Ann Patchett.
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett: This is a work of fiction by Ann Patchett. It’s about terrorists taking an opera hostage in an unnamed South American country. It made me realize that I haven’t read a lot of thrillers written by women. I don’t know if they have just escaped me, or if there aren’t just a lot written, but Ann definitely holds her own in this genre. Plus she has the added perspective of really being able to develop the emotional side of her characters which is often missing in such books. The only downfall of this book was that I now have to deviate from Rory’s book list & read the rest of Ann’s books.
Autobiography of a Face By Lucy Grealy: This is the autobiography of a poet named Lucy Grealy, who had cancer at the age of nine & had a third of her jaw removed. It documents her life, her struggle to find beauty, & many failed surgeries. It really made me feel differently about beauty. At times the book was so honest, that I actually blushed. Not because of the subject material, but because it’s rare that anyone is so open about their life & their family. At the time I wondered how her family felt about this? I decided it was ok because everyone has the right to tell their life’s story.
Truth & Beauty by Ann Patchett: Ann & Lucy were very close friends for a number of years. They saw each other through boyfriends & husbands, going from careers as penniless writers, to becoming published & famous. This book was written after Lucy accidentally overdosed on heroin & passed away. Again, I blushed at the candor, but this time I couldn’t say it was the author’s right to tell the story. It was interesting to see such a detailed account of the same events that Lucy chronicled, but through her friends eyes. It was like reading a very well written tabloid. I WANTED to know more about this friendship, but I felt guilty when I realized, I had no right to this information. Especially after reading an article Lucy’s sister wrote about how Ann highjacked her grief.
It’s an extremely complicated friendship, that for whatever reason has been made public, maybe too public. The books put together were definitely the most thought provoking of anything I’ve read on Rory’s book list, if solely for the fact that I didn’t feel like I had the right to read them, to think that I understood two people so well that I had never met. However, it really got me thinking about what beauty & friendship is & so I think it was worth it.