Truth and Beauty

Ann Patchett's telling of her decades-long soul-deep bond to Lucy Grealy — Truth & Beauty: A Friendship — is a beautifully drawn portrait of a liar, genius, addict, victim, hero, master manipulator, and poet. Grealy was all of these, though perhaps less rather than more. Given the prism of passionate love that Patchett views her dear flawed comrade through, it's hard to know how much is real and how much is selective reporting. Grealy's psychological state sinks into abyssal depths as the narrative proceeds. Her childhood cancer, interminable experimental-reconstructive surgeries, near-constant pain, substance abuse, and boundless sexual promiscuity eventually pile up like multiple train wrecks.

And yet ... her love and brilliant writing ... and her profound emptiness ...

Grealy's letters, as quoted by Patchett, are sinews that hold the book together:

Those metaphors ... and Patchett's constant, selfless support ...

Truth & Beauty is a funhouse mirror in which, perhaps, reflections of every deep relationship can be seen.

Ms Patchett, you tried. No one can save every broken bird — but for Lucy, you tried. Thank you for sharing the trying.

^z - 2018-08-02