Book Reviews of Autobiography of a Face

Autobiography of a Face
Autobiography of a Face
Author: Lucy Grealy
ISBN-13: 9780060976736
ISBN-10: 006097673X
Publication Date: 9/1995
Pages: 240
Rating:
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 55

3.8 stars, based on 55 ratings
Publisher: Perennial (HarperCollins)
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

53 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Autobiography of a Face on + 373 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 17
Dismal and bleak, this depicts the story of an introspective woman struggling through adolescence with only part of a face. The writing is strong, the observations keen and telling. I felt the last 1/3 could have used the same detail and storytelling as the first 2/3.
reviewed Autobiography of a Face on + 12 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
A remarkable book. A remarkable life. Do yourself a favor and read this and then read Ann Patchett's book, Truth & Beauty, about her friendship with this author.
reviewed Autobiography of a Face on + 107 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
Can you imagine: being a teenage girl, losing much of your face to cancer, and returning to school. This is a story of pain, taunting, resiliency and strength. How she went through school, graduated from college - and all she endured in the process. A beautifully written story of an unconquerable spirit. You will love this book.
reviewed Autobiography of a Face on + 45 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
read this during college...wonderful book to help understand how a child deals with being different. It conitues into adulthood...just excellent reading. If you can remember books some 10 years later..than its good :)
reviewed Autobiography of a Face on + 28 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
Sad story (with a sadder ending, not in the book), but beautifully written. Lucy was truly a gifted writer - don't read this as an autobiography, but rather as a piece of well-crafted literature.
reviewed Autobiography of a Face on + 80 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Grealy's memoir reminded me of Dawn Prince-Hughes's memoir, Songs of the Gorilla Nation. Both women have lived such different lives from mine, and both can let the reader inside their lives while not failing to emphasize their different ways of experiencing the world. As I read Grealy's memoir, at times I felt as if she were writing in a different language from mine. Prince-Hughes writes in the same way. I did wonder if Grealy's experience would have been different today from when she grew up, because today there are some resources for children and teenagers with facial disfigurements such as Treacher-Collins syndrome, the disorder displayed by the older sister of a child at the childcare center where I work.
reviewed Autobiography of a Face on + 239 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
I had never heard of this lady or this book before... so I was a bit skeptical. It LOOKED good, but I just wasn't sure... but this is such a lyrically written novel. Lucy grabs you and yanks you into her world. I'm still a little shaken by parts of it, but if you like memoirs and you and you want a good book to sink your teeth into... this is the book to get.
reviewed Autobiography of a Face on + 9 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Fiercely honest writing by a poet who died young. In this memoir she tells a story of great suffering and remarkable strenght without sentimentality and some humor. She is able to capture the pain of peer rejection and the feeling of wanting to be special
reviewed Autobiography of a Face on + 468 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
"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."
**Named On of the Best Books of the Year by USA Today.
**A New York Times Notable Book
reviewed Autobiography of a Face on + 39 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I read this book after reading Anne Patchett's "Truth & Beauty" which is about her friendship with Lucy Grealy. It was an interesting pairing. I can't say that I like Lucy. She had a hard life dealing with facial deformity (due to having a form of cancer as a child) and numerous surgeries during the rest of her life.
reviewed Autobiography of a Face on
Helpful Score: 2
I loved this book. It is a story about suffering from both physical and emotional pain. It is also a story about how we perceive ourselves and how we believe people see us. Candid, sad and intelligent. It really moved me.
reviewed Autobiography of a Face on
Helpful Score: 2
This was very moving, as all those who reviewed have already stated.

One thing that was really clear, but has not been commented upon, is how parents attitudes affect a child's thinking throughout life. Much of her issues came from parental ignorance (some of which was due to the time), and how children remember what a parent says and internalizes it throughout their life.
reviewed Autobiography of a Face on + 174 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This is a beautifully written memoir of Lucy Grealy's lifelong struggle with the results of a jaw tumor, Ewing's sarcoma, that was diagnosed at age 9. Part of her jawbone was removed, causing her face to sink in on that side, which resulted in 38 reconstructive surgeries over her lifetime, and most were not successful. She was ridiculed, bullied and tormented by other children all the way through her school years until she entered college. It's a dark story of a very lonely child who felt unloveable and who defined herself by her face. The dynamics from within and without her family are interesting to look at and also Grealy's perception of her doctors and the years of treatment she underwent. This book is definitely worth reading and is hard to put down.
reviewed Autobiography of a Face on + 72 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
true story written in very frank style by the author... really worth the read...
reviewed Autobiography of a Face on + 4 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
An unvarnished look at the emotional turmoil this woman went through as a child when a cancer operation removed most of her jaw. It's a difficult read because of the subject, but very well done. Raw and honest.
reviewed Autobiography of a Face on + 68 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
What a wonderful story, this woman's courage to face her obstacles would lift anyone's spirit.
reviewed Autobiography of a Face on + 47 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This book was a very powerful book for me. It was about Lucy Grealy's journey as a child through the discovery and treatment of cancer in her jaw. She also writes about the subsequent aftermath of the experience of having to go through life looking so different from everyone else, and her fervent wish to just fit it. Lucy does talk a lot about her treatments, reconstructive procedures and frequent hospitializations, but she does so with candor and uncommon insight for someone so young to have endured.

Lucy eventually died of a drug overdose, and reading this book helped me understand how seductive drugs would have been for her. I think Lucy's understanding of what it was like to be on the fringe of society, to being different; and her ability to express those feelings will stay with me for a long time.

I also read Ann Patchett's "Truth and Beauty" which is about her friendship with Lucy Grealy. It added more background to what what going on with Lucy from a different perspective. I think it's great to read both these books together.
reviewed Autobiography of a Face on + 45 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Unflinchingly candid, Lucy Grealy holds a mirror up to her life and vividly relates her astonishing memoir. Powerful & lyrical, Grealy bares her loneliness and anguish in such a compelling voice, you cannot help but feel uplifted by her courageous insight. There is a moving Afterword by Grealy's best friend, Ann Patchett.

This is an excellent book to read either before or after "Truth and Beauty" by Ann Patchet ~ the memoir of their extraordinary friendship.
reviewed Autobiography of a Face on + 91 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
inspiring. touching. sad... a very good book. this book also made me realize how fortunate i am. it made me become more conscious of how i view others. i have always been a considerate person but i think now i am even more considerate.
reviewed Autobiography of a Face on + 10 more book reviews
This book is one of survival but will make you angry, bring you to tears, cheer the author on and provide hope for yourself and those you care about suffering the cruel world "less than perfect" in the eyes of those obsessed with "beauty" created for others.
reviewed Autobiography of a Face on + 109 more book reviews
A story of both pain and resilience experienced by the author - dealing with the pain of feeling ugly, peer rejection, wanting to be accepted and perfect - as a result of a disfiguring cancer.
reviewed Autobiography of a Face on + 26 more book reviews
This book is well written as it is both suspenseful, meaningful and heartfelt. For anyone who has ever felt different and had to readjust one's own view of self to overcome the perceptions of others.
reviewed Autobiography of a Face on
I'd give it 3 stars. It was an interesting read to find out how this child handled her sad situation and how it formed her vision of her self and life. However, I found it cold on so many levels - her disfunctional family, the doctors and people around her. True,this happened years ago, but definitely not a happy book.
reviewed Autobiography of a Face on + 44 more book reviews
I had previously read a book about her by Ann Patchett. This book filled in details from Lucy's point of view. The other had more "dirt" on her. I liked being able to read about her from both perspectives.
reviewed Autobiography of a Face on + 6 more book reviews
i read this book on a plane ride to and from Vegas last year. Very heartbreaking but once you discover the strength this woman had to overcome her insecurities you will appreciate her even more.
reviewed Autobiography of a Face on + 6 more book reviews
This writer was a whiner who had the nest medical care available at the time of her diagnosis. Everything was never enough for her
reviewed Autobiography of a Face on + 46 more book reviews
Very good book, sad story. I was touched by all she endured as a child, when one so badly needs to feel accepted by peers. It must have been terrible for her. I kept thinnking, there must be some better surgery/solution for her problem...but this was the 70s/80s so maybe not at that time...It damaged her for life, her spirit, her self esteem. Tragic, worth the read.
reviewed Autobiography of a Face on + 32 more book reviews
Facinating book. Worth a read.
reviewed Autobiography of a Face on + 12 more book reviews
This is a wonderful true story of a young girls struggle to make peace with her new face after cancer. I was sad to hear that she committed suicide as an adult.
reviewed Autobiography of a Face on + 40 more book reviews
a book worth reading of cancer with tributes of abeautiful face that got cancer
reviewed Autobiography of a Face on + 5 more book reviews
This is just superb. Lucy was an enchanting and troubled young woman. After finishing this, you must read Patchett's TRUTH AND BEAUTY about her friendship with Lucy.
reviewed Autobiography of a Face on + 22 more book reviews
A very interesting book on the ravages of human nature.
reviewed Autobiography of a Face on + 524 more book reviews
Beatifully written account of a the author's struggle with cancer as a child. Much of her lower jaw had to be removed and the blow to her self-esteem and psyche is heart-wrenching to read about. An inspiring story!
reviewed Autobiography of a Face on + 2 more book reviews
I'd just read Truth & Beauty - Ann Patchett's memoir of life with Lucy Grealy - and was moved to know more about her. Knowing Lucy first through the eyes of Ann gave me a perspective that, in hindsight, I am glad I had when starting Autobiography of a Face. Lucy writes like a reporter - much fact and base emotion, as if withholding emotional pain. I will never have the perspective of reading Autobiography "spoiler-free," but I don't mind at all. I opened to page one already hurting for her.
reviewed Autobiography of a Face on
I was given this book and Ann Pachet's book "Truth and Beauty." I don't remember which I read first, but they go very well toghether. Different points of views of mostly the same time, but mostly of their friendship.

I recommend both boths very highly.
reviewed Autobiography of a Face on + 75 more book reviews
I was intrigued by this book when I heard about the feud between the author's family and Ann Patchett, who has written a kind of memoir about Grealy. The afterword by Patchett disturbs me a bit because of its suggesting that this is a partially fictional work, done that way presumably because life doesn't fit art quite as well as we'd like. Because Grealy is not a particularly winsome narrator (why so very little relationship with her siblings--is it to protect their privacy or because she just doesn't connect with them, including her twin?), I hate to think that she's presented us with her BEST self. :-)

Nevertheless, this is a moving and painful story, and it helped me understand how someone in Grealy's (or Grealy's character's) circumstances tries to find her place in the world.
reviewed Autobiography of a Face on + 12 more book reviews
Wit, intelligence and an unconquerable spirit...shine throughout this remarkable book." Mademoiselle
reviewed Autobiography of a Face on + 14 more book reviews
Lucy Grealy was diagnosed with cancer at age nine. She had one-third of her jaw removed. This is her story of great suffering and strength. SHe shows what it is like to be caught between wanting to be loved for who you are, while wishing desperately and secretly to be perfect.
reviewed Autobiography of a Face on + 158 more book reviews
A memoir in which the author describes being diagnosed with cancer of the jaw at age nine, having a third of her jaw removed, and dealing with how her changed looks affected her and those around her. Grealy is a poet, which shows in her spare, beautiful writing style:

"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."

A thought-provoking book with no room for sentimentality or self-pity.
reviewed Autobiography of a Face on + 270 more book reviews
I really liked this book-lots of memories from her childhood and all the surgeries she had to go through. Only thing I didn't like about the book was she kept comparing her cancer to other peoples problems and thought hers was the worst, but i'm sure to the other people their problems were pretty bad. All in all though very good.
reviewed Autobiography of a Face on + 17 more book reviews
I had to read it for class but it became one of my favorite books. The author committed suicide a few years later, despite the epiphany she experienced at the end of her book.
reviewed Autobiography of a Face on
well written book that pulls on emotions. readers should follow up this one with Truth and Beauty, by Ann Pachett, Lucy's BFF.
reviewed Autobiography of a Face on + 80 more book reviews
A poetic style adds to this story of perserverence over twenty years of failed surgeries. As a child growing into a teenager and then an adult, Lucy faces everything we do, and battles within hersledf to determine her personality. A truly humbling read.
reviewed Autobiography of a Face on + 249 more book reviews
Found this story so interesting, so tender, and so open. Everything she writes about relating to her cancer surgery on jaw at 10, then years upon years of unsuccessful reconstructive surgery after radiation and chemo, is dreadful. But she manages to create little pools of humor and normality by telling exactly what she thought and understood at various ages. Fate didn't deal her a long life or a very happy outcome, but that is not addressed in the book. I found an entirely different Lucy Grealy than I'd envisioned from Ann Patchett's (her 'best friend') book about their long friendship. Not doubting what Patchett had to say specifically - just finding so much more to Lucy.
reviewed Autobiography of a Face on + 135 more book reviews
This book is a memoir of a young girl that had cancer. This book was selected as one of the Best Books of the Year by Voice Library Supplement and USA Today. A remarkable story.
reviewed Autobiography of a Face on + 34 more book reviews
a good book, although I think I enjoyed Ann Patchett's accounting of her friend, Lucy Grealy's, life better.
reviewed Autobiography of a Face on + 30 more book reviews
Beautifully written memoir.
reviewed Autobiography of a Face on + 30 more book reviews
Great book, her writing is amazing. It has such depth, and deals with a kid Being Kid and Having emotions most kids have. She went through cancer very young, but Grealy writes so well that you don't feel sorry for her, you emathize with her.
reviewed Autobiography of a Face on + 354 more book reviews
GOOD READ
reviewed Autobiography of a Face on + 85 more book reviews
Very good read. Ending lacks something, though.
reviewed Autobiography of a Face on + 21 more book reviews
Touching and sad.
reviewed Autobiography of a Face on + 237 more book reviews
Very good writing. Didn't really find it all that compelling, though.
reviewed Autobiography of a Face on
Beautiful story of courage and persistence.