Autobiography of a face

Lucy Grealy

Book - 2003

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. In this strikingly candid memoir, Grealy tells her story of great suffering and remarkable strength without sentimentality and with considerable wit. Vividly portraying the pain of peer rejection and the guilty pleasures of wanting to be special, Grealy captures with unique insight what it is like as a child and young ad...ult 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. "I spent five years of my life being treated for cancer, but since then I've spent fifteen years being treated for nothing other than looking different from everyone else. It was the pain from that, from feeling ugly, that I always viewed as the great tragedy of my life. The fact that I had cancer seemed minor in comparison."

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BIOGRAPHY/Grealy, Lucy
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Subjects
Published
New York : Perennial 2003, c1994.
Edition
1st Perennial ed
Language
English
Item Description
"With an afterword by Ann Patchett"--Cover.
Physical Description
236 p. ; 21 cm
ISBN
9780544837393
0060569662
9780060569662
Main Author
Lucy Grealy (-)
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  • Fear itself
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  • Door number two
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  • Truth and beauty
  • World of unknowing
  • The habits of self-consciousness
  • Cool
  • Mirrors.
Review by Library Journal Reviews

The late poet was a preteen when surgeons removed a Ewing's sarcoma from her jaw, leaving her face disfigured. Passing through stages of disbelief, fantasy, anger, and depression, she suffered 30 surgeries before accepting that she would never be seen as normal by others. Her memoir questions how society's demand for physical beauty harms young women. (LJ 7/94) (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

With eloquent candor, a woman who in childhood endured a severly disfiguring cancer offers a meditation on the pain, and healing she has endured, searching through a culture obsessed with physical beauty for love, acceptance, and inner peace. Tour.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

A New York Times Notable Book"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“It is impossible to read Autobiography of a Face without having your consciousness raised forever.” – MirabellaIn this celebrated memoir and exploration of identity, cancer transforms the author’s face, childhood, and the rest of her life.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 years of 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 what it is like as a child and a 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.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

A New York Times Notable Book 'this is a young woman's first book, the story of her own life, and both book and life are unforgettable.' 'New York Times '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 This powerful memoir is about the premium we put on beauty and on a woman's face in particular. It took Lucy Grealy twenty years of living with a distorted self-image and more than thirty reconstructive procedures before she could come to terms with her appearance after childhood cancer and surgery that left her jaw disfigured. As a young girl, she absorbed the searing pain of peer rejection and the paralyzing fear of never being loved.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

A New York Times Notable Book “This is a young woman’s first book, the story of her own life, and both book and life are unforgettable.” —New York Times “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 This powerful memoir is about the premium we put on beauty and on a woman's face in particular. It took Lucy Grealy twenty years of living with a distorted self-image and more than thirty reconstructive procedures before she could come to terms with her appearance after childhood cancer and surgery that left her jaw disfigured. As a young girl, she absorbed the searing pain of peer rejection and the paralyzing fear of never being loved.

Review by Publisher Summary 5

This powerful memoir is about the premium we put on beauty and on a woman's face in particular. It took Lucy Grealy twenty years of living with a distorted self-image and more than thirty reconstructive procedures before she could come to terms with her appearance after childhood cancer and surgery that left her jaw disfigured. As a young girl, she absorbed the searing pain of peer rejection and the paralyzing fear of never being loved.