Lucinda Margaret Grealy (June 3, – December 18, ) was an Irish- American poet and memoirist who wrote Autobiography of a Face in Before reading Autobiography of a Face, I’d only read one thing by Lucy Grealy. It was “The Country of Childhood” from her As Seen on TV. HEALTH – Grealy’s cancer could be considered a main character since you see it grow throughout the memoir. It follows her, speaks to her and.

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It conveys the kid perspective, and illustrates something not super flattering about herself, this constant need for attention and specialness.

One thing that Grealy does really well is capture how this shifts slowly as she gets older. Sign up here to receive your FREE alerts. I admired and had defended her need to write as an artist, but I hoped she would finish it off, for herself, and put it under the bed.

The story is either too close or too far, and in both cases the effect gace loss of clarity. If she could not succeed at being beautiful, facially, she would become as smart as she could. It was the first time I had experienced reading about my family and parts of my own life, and I realised how easy it was for Lucy simply to select her vantage point. My husband said he could gauge my mood by whether he found the photograph hanging on the wall hrealy hidden behind the chest of drawers in the spare room.

I imagined how my life would be if I had half their fortune.

As Lucy’s life became more and more confused, I called Ann in exasperation. She tended to dwell on things, and that lead to unnecessarily long and detailed sections that could have been left out. Patchett wrote about their friendship in Truth and Beauty: Autobiography of a Face chronicles Lucy Grealy’s battle with the physical and psychological effects of Ewing’s sarcoma, a cancer that robbed her of much of her wutobiography.

Be the first to discover new talent! At its crux is her childhood bout with Ewing’s sarcoma, a deadly cancer that she survived but with a disfigured face that she then had to deal with as she grew up.

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Lotsa stuff, basically scientific — molecular biology, organic chemistry, medicine neurologymath — and music. The same applies to autkbiography, which, per se, is meaningless, but stands in for other things, desirability, power, freedom. One evening before that conversation, when Ann was in London, we had walked arm in arm after dinner towards Notting Hill Gate.

Suellen Grealy on how a book about her late sister has hijacked her grief | Books | The Guardian

I’m sorry I stood by as this happened. A woman going through an ordeal like this and overcoming it seems standard material for a memoir.

The more personal aspects – the parts about what it’s like to walk around the world with a very conspicuous trace of illness and surgeries – were often compelling for autobiograpjy to consider more than for me to read Grealy discuss. I wanted to scream and wail for grraly things not to happen to her.

This book was written several years before she died so her life may have disintegrated toward the end, but I had to admire her courage and very unique perspective on her own life.

Apparently I am not the only person who wondered, because Grealy was asked that very question at a book reading. What if the face you saw in the mirror was one you could not bear to look at?

Is there a certain feeling you want to evoke somehow and what degree of closeness fits what it is you want to evoke?

Diagnosed with cancer at the age of nine, Lucy spends most of her child and adult life in and out of hospitals battling the disease, and then reconstructing her face due to the aftermath of invasive treatments. What saddened me most was that her family would never be able to divorce their memories of her from that awful, indescribably insulting image. She obsessed about being loved, but did not make a very strong case for her being an ideal recipient of love. The mature Lucy beautifully phrased those different powers of her imagination.

But the subject of this book, which I thought apparent, seems to have escaped many readers, so I would like to offer a comment or two on that, viz, what this book is really about.

I told myself again and again how good I had it in comparison. The Science Geek Astronomy, space and space travel for the non scientist.


Lucy perceived her mutilated face as transforming her into something that no one could ever love. But like “Inferno”, like “Howl’ together with “Footnote to Howl” “Autobiography of a Face” gives its readers an opportunity to experience a transcendent joy: Jul 23, Kate rated it really liked it. You are commenting using your Twitter account. And somehow I transformed that blanket into a tent, beneath which I almost happily set up camp.

I was living in frightening and unfamiliar territory. She has no startling insights about life.

Ann appeared to believe that after the success of Bel Canto, critics would judge her less harshly for a work of nonfiction. Particularly in the final rather rushed quarter of the book, I felt she was phoning in the events and the emotional aspects were a bit less convincing. Some of the other visiting parents, the ones who came in every day, felt sorry for my lack of visitors and sneaked me contraband food items.

Lucy wanted to become a believer so that God could give her peace and healing, but how? That was my mistake. View all 13 comments. It is rich in language and raw in experience. Surely her surgeons must have been partly to blame for encouraging so many procedures when it must autobipgraphy been obvious that there was little chance that they would be effective.


It could be said that the living with the deformity caused by the cancer and the surgeries were the hardest part. In the interview she was asked to explain her point in writing Autobiography of a Face.

I would have liked to know about Greely as an adult. I think in some ways it vace things but in other ways it may hurt her. It would define the rest of her life. I did a bit of research and discovered that many years ago, I had read ‘Truth and Beauty’ by Ann Patchett… who was a close friend of Lucy Grealy….

Looking back, I see that in her words.