There is a lot of non-fiction work based on real relationships/poeple out there which has got the element of friendship in some form. Some of it is banal while some pieces are actually compelling. But ‘Truth and Beauty’ by Ann Patchett is a very honest, heart-touching and achingly beautiful work I have read till date!
The author herself is the narrator and talks about her friendship with poet/writer Lucy Grealy from 1981 till about 2001. From being irresponsible teenagers & struggling writers to being famous writers and still struggling (with stuff!!) , these two women share a great camaraderie throughout.
Lucy has written her soul searing story in autobiography ‘Autobiography of a Face’ describing her fight against cancer with numerous chemo sessions and surgeries. With her disfigured face, when she cannot eat, smile or kiss properly, Lucy lives a life of a celebrity; wherever she goes, people identify her as different and she happens to make friends (or shall I say acquaintances!) everywhere. She shines in New York literary scene. But deep inside, she is lonely, often depressed and ends up being heroin addict. Ann is the bestest that one could ask for in a friend.
Ann’s and Lucy’s friendship is the essence of the entire book. Ann has included fragments of some of their letters in the book. It’s just so endearing to read their journey together through good, bad and ugly of life. Anyone who has had a close female friend for a long time would surely appreciate the beauty of this book.The writing is quite simple but the characters are believable and it’s more about basking in warmth of their friendship.
After reading this one, I have added Lucy’s ‘Autobiography of a Face’ to my TBR and this memoir of friendship is a recommendation too!
Some ‘True and Beautiful’ quotes:
“shame should be reserved for the things we choose to do, not the circumstances that life puts on us”
“That is one thing I’ve learned, that it is possible to really understand things at certain points, and not be able to retain them, to be in utter confusion just a short while later. I used to think that once you really knew a thing, its truth would shine on forever. Now it’s pretty obvious to me that more often than not the batteries fade, and sometimes what you knew even goes out with a bang when you try to call on it, just like a lightbulb cracking off when you throw the switch.”
“The process of putting the thing you value most in the world out for the assessment of strangers is a confidence-shaking business even in the best of times.”
“Writing is a job, a talent, but it’s also the place to go in your head. It is the imaginary friend you drink your tea with in the afternoon.”