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Thing of Beauty

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3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  1,189 ratings  ·  66 reviews
At age seventeen, Gia Carangi was working the counter at her father's Philadelphia luncheonette, in Hoagie City. Within a year, Gia was one of the top models of the late 1970's, gracing the covers of Cosmopolitan and Vogue, partying at New York's Studio 54 and the Mudd Club while redefining the industry's standard of beauty. She was the darling of moguls and movie stars, r ...more
Paperback, 422 pages
Published June 1st 1994 by Pocket Books
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Model by Cheryl DiamondModel by Michael    GrossAirhead by Meg CabotThing of Beauty by Stephen FriedFace Value by Taryn Bell
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4th out of 53 books — 7 voters
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453rd out of 496 books — 1,134 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,617)
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Kimberly
This is an astonishing story of an incredible woman's life and death. Stephen Fried lays bare everything I wanted to know (and possibly things I didn't know I wanted to know until I read the book) about Gia Carangi. Her story opens with John Keats famous quote from Endymion, "A thing of beauty is a joy forever..." which I think clearly explains what we are thinking and feeling inside when we see a photograph of someone beautiful - they never look unattractive, their life is perfect and they will ...more
Jean Marie Angelo
Found this paperback in a store last month and bought it only because I had seen some bits and pieces of the HBO movie Gia and wanted to know more. I am so thankful that I read this book. Once I started I was totally engaged. The author had me caring about a young lady who died long ago. He did exhaustive reporting to recreate the world of Gia: her childhood in Philly, her instant success as an exotic beauty in a world of blondes, and her subsequent demise. I was totally moved and wondered why. ...more
Kellie
Here is what I liked about this book: This book was well written and loaded with great information. Information, not only about Gia but anything you wanted to know about the modeling industry in the late 70’s and early 80’s, the culture of that time, New York and the bar scene. The author even had some comments about the politics of the time with some typically left-wing media type comments about Ronald Reagan. Here is what I didn’t like: I thought I was reading a book about Gia Carangi and her ...more
Liz Filippone
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Peachy
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audrey
Apr 24, 2007 audrey rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: nosy parkers
Well jeez let's see... I kinda read this book mostly because i am interested in becoming a junkie/model. Ok that is a pretty lame joke/lie. Naturally i read this book because Gia is HOT HOT HOT (and sadly dead) and i wanted to know about her life and see how wide of the mark that Angelina Jolie film was (verdict: kinda!!). The book is detailed and tells you LOTS about the 80s modelling scene (yaaawn) but also everything you'd wanna know and more about Gia The Hot Dead Supermodel Junkie. Verdict: ...more
Laurie
After reading this book I think Angelina Jolie did a pretty shitty job playing Gia. Good acting, bad casting. Love me some Angelina but she doesn't capture Gia's essence or vulnerability.

But the book does. Sandy Linter, Gia's long time girlfriend, confirmed she learned even more about Gia after reading it. (quoted from her blog). That in itself is good enough reason to read it for me.
Kathrin
My daughter wants to do some modeling. I'm making her read this book. I think it's a good read for anyone one looking to go into the business. It will show you the not so pretty side, and the negative way some people handle the pressures of being a model. I have a few friends in the modeling business as well as an aunt, they agree. Read this before you start modeling.
Amber Hartley
It was interesting to learn about Gia because she was swept under the rug. She was one of the first supermodels and one of the first famous women to die from aids but no one has heard about her. The book really educated you, but I probably wouldn't read it if I was just looking for entertainment.
Susannah
Feb 06, 2008 Susannah rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Molly, Kate
Recommended to Susannah by: Erin Seifert
Sex, drugs and rock-n-roll. AIDS, despair, loneliness. This is the tragic tale of Gia, the supermodel from Philadelphia who had it all, except for love. And that was all she wanted.
Victovictovicto
Very touching story about this lost, beautiful woman. A modern tragedy. I feel very emotionally affected by this book!
Jessica
Tragedy indeed. Very in depth look at the life of supermodel Gia.

I have to admit, I had never heard of her prior to this book. A sad testament to how quickly and easily lives in the fashion industry are forgotten and swept under the rug like dust particles.

I think Gia was a very weak and fragile individual. The fashion industry is not a place for anyone of weak constitutions. She was a self destructive, tornado of denial, anger and bad habits. She used drugs to self medicate herself numb. The t
...more
J.
Sep 20, 2008 J. rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: ... fashionistas ...
Surprisingly not-so-trashy depiction of the life of Gia Carangi, model superstar whose cinderella lifestory crashes horribly in a few quick years.

What helps the book is the clear dogged effort expended in getting the fundamentals right, offering glimpses of the New York Eighties, the world of haute-couture modelling agencies, clubs, cocaine and the rest.

This starts in my hometown of Philadelphia, which is well drawn and scaled by mr Fried :

On Saturdays, Karen and Gia would go downtown, walking
...more
Luxia
Nov 07, 2013 Luxia rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Mature adults
Now most of us know
late
Supermodel Gia Marie Carangi's life was a Rollercoaster ride full
of sensuality and beauty. But that was only half of it and
it's
Shocking how it
ended in such terribly horrific circumstances, Gia being one of the first woman on record to die of the AID's virus at on twenty six years old.

The Author Stephen Fried clearly
did his
homework to put this Autobiography together to give the reader an inside look at the trials and tribulations of this very special and beautiful woman,
...more
K
Thing of Beauty demonstrates the real Gia that people knew..not the HBO version, though there are some aspects that they took from the book and manipulated a bit. I love how Stephen Fried included the backstory of modeling, the Studio 54 Era, Gia's Mom and Dad, and Gia herself. There was relevance in him giving the history of these things. It was so we could see the bigger picture of Gia's story. I think everyone can relate to her. She went through so much. I first learned of Gia when the movie ...more
Shahrill Ramli
A detail insight on the turbulent life of supermodel Gia Carangi. Within a career of merely 4 years, she rose to fame and sucked into the abyss due to her wild party lifestyle and addiction to drugs particularly heroin. A very touching episodes on how AIDS perceived as taboo in the 80s especially if the victim was a female. Gia experience wrath of society when hospitals and even psychiatrists refused to be near her due to AIDS.

Exciting as well as heart-wrenching.
Ashley
I am kinda sad I rated this only 2 stars... Although it was wonderfully written, edited,and researched the main character was just a spoiled brat who had EVERYTHING!!! Was handed the world on a silver platter and basically slapped it out of the givers hands and laughed, but cryer when it was not picked up and handed to her again..

I just could not sympathize with her no matter how hard I tried or how I read the horrible things SHE DID TO HERSELF!! ( notice I said she did to herself, no one did i
...more
Sara
Pretty good read. I liked this book, despite the grim story and tragic history of its subject, Gia Carangi. Her life was, indeed, a tragedy. The writing is pretty clean and concise and Fried pulls no punches in his storytelling of Carangi's meteoric rise and tragic downfall. Documenting her career as a model even during her heyday is in no way glamorized throughout this troubling and thought-provoking look at the late Carangi's life. This biography is filled with numerous interviews and photos a ...more
Carolyn James
The life of Gia has always fascinated me. After watching the movie I sought out a novel so I could get a more true account of her life. That’s what you will find in this book. It doesn’t center on the Gia/Sandy relationship. It gives a more true account of her sexuality and just how deeply drug use destroyed her mind and body. Though I appreciated the novel as being more real and a greater telling of Gia’s life my rating is a bit low because of some aspects of how it was presented. I enjoyed get ...more
Shannon Flynn
A well-researched book about the supermodel who took the '80s fashion world by storm, only to spiral into drug addiction and succumb to AIDS at only 26. The photos flesh out the story of a woman you SHOULD dislike, but can't help rooting for and then mourning.
Keso
A book about my favorite supermodel of all time - Gia Carangi, very beautiful, lonely girl, poor, with an amazing and very depressing story of life.

I really love the way she stayed strong till her last breath! Very recommended.
D Santee

After accepting a position as an assistant to a very prominent supermodel, I started to research every corner and crevice of the industry. I'll admit, I found there to be very little intellectual stimulation in the arena. However, this book gives loads of insight. From legendary pioneers like Eileen Ford to supermodels like Iman, I'm really getting the chance to delve in the context and feel very informed. Gia Carangi's story is one filled with scandal and tragedy but there's definitely been so
...more
Anne
Jan 14, 2008 Anne rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who liked the movie, or is interested in the fashion industry and it's effects on the soul
Recommended to Anne by: Doris Vega
I was initially drawn to this book because I saw the movie "Gia" and was intrigued by the character depth and complexity portrayed there. The book delves more deeply into the psyche of Gia and reads like a documentary. There are a few excerpts from her journal which add to the "based on a true story" effect, which always makes the story more engaging. I quite enjoyed the (forgive me here) journey of this tortured soul and the colorful way her story was written. I was thoroughly upset at the end, ...more
Janice
Wow just wow. NYC, the '70s, drugs, money, sex, fashion, a troubled girl who got too much too fast. A great read and a lot of lessons can be learned from the life of Gia, arguably the most beautiful woman of our time.
Janene AKA Ms. Palumbo
Aug 24, 2008 Janene AKA Ms. Palumbo rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Janene by: Jaime
I'd never heard of Gia Carangi before and as I was browsing my friend Jaime's book collection, I noticed she also had all the Cosmopolitan covers too. I got interested because Gia was a Philly girl too. An fascinating story for sure. Very detailed recollection from people who knew Gia and also an interesting story of how Fried met with the people and got the 411. Not a short read like I originally expected but a life worth reading about. They had the 20/20 interview on Youtube, which was great t ...more
Lisa
Lurid, sensationalized trash. Gia herself, with her over-the-top, pushy mom and nutty family is hard to like. She's a borderline sociopath, an addict, selfish, childish, and irresponsible beyond comprehension. She uses people as if they were Kleenex. Still, she's a hottie! Too bad her obvious mental health issues and no firm hand to guide her ruin everything. And I do mean everything.
Marnie Davis
This is book is a very frank and stunning expose of the modeling industry. Gia was one of the first women to be called a supermodel. Gia was as brash, dramatic and emotionally unstable as she was beautiful. Unfortunately, Gia was one of the first women to die of AIDS at age 26 in the early 1980's. Thing of Beauty: The Tragedy of Supermodel Gia is a great book to read.
Amanda Clay
Eff that Janice Dickinson~ HERE'S America's first supermodel. She's much more beautiful than Angelina Jolie and even though she made a series of spectacularly bad choices, I still have much sympathy for her, especially regarding the men who constantly hit on her, saying 'You're too pretty to REALLY be a lesbian.' Not great literature, but a fun read indeed.
Jcremere
Nov 03, 2009 Jcremere rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in "the fast lane" of the '70s/'80s
I ate this biography up. The dark side of our late '70s and early '80s "glamour" culture in NYC, including the modeling industry, music, clubbing, sexuality, drug use and AIDS. If you've already seen the movie with Angelina Jolie, you probably don't need to read it - I think the film did it justice. Of course, the book's got lots more juicy detail in it.
Brandy
It's heartbreaking to realize that through all the struggles and strife she endured, all she wanted was to be loved. She wanted her mother's love and was finally able to get it on her deathbed. This book painted a life filled with energy and a don't-care attitude that made her seem all the more endearing. Gia truly lived. May she rest in peace.
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Stephen Fried is an award-winning investigative journalist and an adjunct professor at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. His last book, Appetite for America: Fred Harvey and the Business of Civilizing the Wild West--One Meal at a Time was a New York Times Bestseller and was named one of the ten best books of the year by the Wall Street Journal. www.fredharveybook.com/blog. His nex ...more
More about Stephen Fried...
Appetite for America: How Visionary Businessman Fred Harvey Built a Railroad Hospitality Empire That Civilized the Wild West The New Rabbi Husbandry: Sex, Love & Dirty Laundry--Inside the Minds of Married Men Bitter Pills: Inside the Hazardous World of Legal Drugs Appetite for America: Fred Harvey and the Business of Civilizing the Wild West--One Meal at a Time

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“Life & Death
energy & Peace
if I stoped today
it was fun
Even the terrible pains that have burn me & scarred my soul it was worth it for having been allowed to walked where I've walked. Which was to hell on earth Heaven on earth, back again, into, under far in between, through it, in it over it and above it.”
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