Autobiography of a Face

Autobiography of a Face

eBook - 1994
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In 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.

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

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt


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WVMLStaffPicks Nov 13, 2014

A girl's incredible endurance, understanding, and insight in the face of a disfiguring cancer make this an unforgettable self-portrait.

May 12, 2014

Although Lucy has been dead for a few years one can lean so much about empathy from her story.
One should also read Anne Patchett's book about Lucy Grealy called Truth and Beauty.It is about their 18yr friendship. I loved Anne's book about Lucy, and the strength Lucy had until the very end.

Grealy tells her life story beginning from about age 9 when she was diagnosed with bone cancer. In stark and touching detail Grealy shares her remarkable strength, humor, and resilience as the cancer progresses. The cancer eventually takes 1/3 of her jawbone. Her struggles to remain 'normal' and continue to give and receive love are beautifully written in this moving story.

Feb 06, 2013

This book is astounding, both in this talented writer's storytelling skills and also in her amazingly honest, raw, heart-wrenching, insightful, funny and deep life story. I can't recommend this book enough. An important and yet at times, painful read, with humanity and grace surfacing often throughout these pages. Though I'm an avid library user/reader, I loved this book so much I had to own a copy myself. It's been lent to many a person I know.

erysimum Jun 12, 2012

I found this book to be incredibly thought provoking. Don't read before bed, you will be thinking too much to sleep!


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Gloriane Feb 21, 2014

Part of the job of being human is to consistently underestimate our effect on other people.


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