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Autobiography of a Face Paperback – 13 Sep 2016
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Selected as one of the best books of the year by USA Today and the Voice Literary Supplement
A New York Times Notable Book
"Despite its unblinking stare at an excrutiatingly painful subject, this is not a dour book. Autobiography of a Face is a book about image, about the tyranny of the image of a beautiful--or even pleasingly average--face. In the end, this tyranny is not so much overthrown as shrugged off."--New York Times Book Review
"Written in a voice that is both compelling and insightful, Autobiography of a Face seems to mirror back to readers something relevant to their own lives. . . Despite the singular nature of her experience, Lucy Grealy manages to convince an amazing array of people that she is speaking directly to them."--Baltimore Sun
"Wit, intelligence, and an unconquerable spirit. . . shine through this remarkable book."--Madmoiselle
"Though Grealy's experience was extraordinary, it is utterly affecting, for there is no one who has not felt the shame and self-doubt of physical inadequacy." - Elle
"With fairy tale logic, as though to make up for her nearly unbearable fate, the gods also gave this young woman extraordinary gifts of perception and language. It is impossible to read Autobiography of a Face without having your consciousness raised forever." - Mirabella
"Grealy has turned her misfortune into a book that is engaging and engrossing, a story of grace as well as cruelty, and a demonstration of her own wit and style and class."--Washington Post Book World
"Stunning. . . Insightful and exquisitely written, this book reminds us that the things that make us 'beautiful' are not always the things that other people see."--Seventeen
"This poet's ability to harness the pathos while transmuting her personal anguish into universal truths has enabled her to forge a powerful testament to the triumph of the human spirit." - Detroit Free Press
"[A] book that shares what it's like to be really different from other people. . . With exquisite prose and steely strength."--USA Today
A memoir of great beauty. In her intensely elegant prose, Lucy Grealy describes the loneliness of pain, the confusion of childhood, the slow shock of her disfigured face with an exquisite unblinking intelligence that is both gracious and, improbably, filled with joy. I love this book." - Cathleen Schine, author of The Three Weissmanns of Westport
"Autobiography of a Face is about that most wrenching of subjects - a child's suffering - but also moral courage, the hard battle of growing up and the unfolding of a writer's soul. An honest, deeply moving book." - Eva Hoffman, author of Lost in Translation
"This harrowing, lyrical memoir is a striking meditation on the distorting effects of our culture's preoccupation with physical beauty." - Publishers Weekly (starred)
"A memoir of disquieting candor and power. The account of Grealy's arduous coming of age is both haunting and inspirational." - Ploughshares
"An unsentimental, honest, unflinching look at a single visage reflected (or distorted) in an unforgiving cultural mirror." - Kirkus
"Grealy's is a book you want to hand people and say only 'Read it.'" - Booklist
From the Back Cover
A New York Times Notable Book
Engaging and engrossing, a story of grace as well as cruelty, and a demonstration of [Grealy s] own wit and style and class. Washington Post Book World
At age nine, Lucy Grealy was diagnosed with a potentially terminal cancer. When she returned to school with a third of her jaw removed, she faced the cruel taunts of classmates. It took her twenty years of living with a distorted self-image and more than thirty reconstructive procedures before she could come to terms with her appearance. In this lyrical and strikingly candid memoir, Grealy tells her story of great suffering and remarkable strength without sentimentality and with considerable wit. She captures with unique insight what it is like as a child and young adult to be torn between two warring impulses: to feel that more than anything else we want to be loved for who we are, while wishing desperately and secretly to be perfect.
[A] book that shares what it s like to be really different from other people . . . With exquisite prose and steely strength. USA Today
LUCY GREALY (1963 2002) was an award-winning poet and a memoirist. In addition to Autobiography of a Face, she was the author of the essay collection As Seen on TV: Provocations.
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Lucy gives an account of what she went through as a child with cancer. She writes about the stays in hospital and the process of going through Chemotherapy. What I found more interesting and shocking was how society treated her due to her physical apperance as a result of the cancer. As her cancer was of the jaw Lucy ended up with a facial disfigurement, which resulted in stares and tauments from people in society.
From staring to name calling Lucy writes well about how looking different causes prejudice and bullying within society. Lucy writes about how having a facial disfigurement and at one point no hair due to chemotherapy the bullying she faced at school.
This book is great for people interested in how we look and the affects it has on how we are treated within society.
Having read both I can totally empathise with Grealy's' family members' upset at Truth & Beauty
An excellent book and essential reading if one wants to understand life after Cancer and Cancer treatment
Lucy seems continually surprised by her surgical outcomes. I think doctors could go a lot further than they do in explaining things, but who knows what explanations would just be terrifying, for adults as well as children? (I too kept waiting for the perfect repair. Maybe like Lucy, I just wasn’t listening.)
Although it is true, according to so many who knew Lucy Grealy, that she is spoiled and selfish, it is also true that this book is excellent and thoughtfully written.
Most memoirs most likely leave certain elements out or elaborate others. In Grealy's case, though, she left behind so many people who really had bad personal experiences with her, that there are a lot of people to dispute or criticize her, as well.
That said, even if she was a selfish and spoiled woman, this book is STILL good. It is easy to see, with what she went through, why she became so needy. At such a young age, her self-image was distorted. I think anyone who went through that would be the same. I'm reminded, now, of Frances Kuffel's "Passing for Thin". The criticism of that book was similar to this. She grew up terribly obese, taunted and teased also. And, she had to relearn things the rest of us take for granted when she grew up. Grealy learned everything through such negative experiences, also.
Lucy Grealy considered herself a poet first, then a memoirist. Her memoir reads like poetry and the words she chooses to use serve her well.
After reading this, I read Ann Patchett's "Truth and Beauty" to get a fuller picture of Grealy. Ann's book talked about many things that Grealy's left out. Some reviewers seemed to find this troublesome. I don't think that is the point, however. Grealy shared with us her thoughts and feelings, not Ann Patchett's. Sometimes they were contradictory to Patchett's. Sometimes they were contradictory to her own thoughts at different times. This doesn't make them false; it makes her more real.
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