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Thing of Beauty

3.99  ·  Rating Details ·  1,408 Ratings  ·  82 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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Oct 23, 2010 Kimberly rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biographies
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
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.
Amber Hartley
Sep 18, 2012 Amber Hartley rated it liked it
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.
Jean Marie Angelo
Apr 05, 2011 Jean Marie Angelo rated it it was amazing
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
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
Aug 19, 2010 Liz Filippone rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 24, 2007 audrey rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 17, 2012 Kathrin rated it really liked it
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.
Oct 14, 2016 Christa rated it it was amazing
I don't have words to express how much Gia's story means to me. This book contains exclusive, not often discussed information about Gia, from her time at the top of the modeling industry to her fall as a heroin addict and final collapse from AIDS. But her spirit never died, and never will die, thanks to the wonderful people who saw not just Gia's outer beauty, what everyone used her for and praised her for, but the person inside; the lesbian, the strong spirit, so sad but so brave. RIP Gia. You ...more
Medeia Sharif
Dec 30, 2015 Medeia Sharif rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2015
I already watched the HBO biopic Gia, but I wanted to know more about Gia Carangi. Because of the brevity of films, there’s always numerous things in a book that don’t make it onto the small or big screen. In this biography, readers get all the gritty, heartbreaking points of view from her childhood to her death from AIDS at the age of 26—Gia’s friends, family, and people she worked with open up in interviews. The author paints a complete portrait of someone eager to be loved and taken care of, ...more
Shelby Lamb
Aug 14, 2016 Shelby Lamb rated it it was amazing
This book brought me to laughter, tears, excitement, then to tears again. I wasn't expecting to feel such a connection with Gia. Yes some of the errors/typos in there got a little distracting, but overall it was a good book with lots of insight into the modelling industry and the family, romance, and friendships behind this beautiful, heartbreaking enigma that is Gia. At times I couldn't wait until this demanding novel ended, but was sad when I did get to the final page. Ultimately this is a sad ...more
Sep 15, 2016 C rated it really liked it
I picked this book up at a used book store. I had previously never heard of Gia, but a fan of biographies I thought what the hell, it sounded interesting after all. Not sure what to expect when I first picked it up I am in shock after having finished it. The book reads like a gossip article filled with stories of famous models from the 70s, behind the scenes gossip of photo shoots, the decadence of the 70s night clubs and so much more. Throughout the book I found myself equally fascinated and ho ...more
Feb 06, 2008 Susannah rated it really liked it
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.
Alia Barker parsons
Aug 04, 2012 Alia Barker parsons rated it it was ok

If the author would focus solely on Gia, then it would have been better. Instead you got case histories of anyone mildly associated with Gia.
Sep 01, 2012 Victovictovicto rated it it was amazing
Very touching story about this lost, beautiful woman. A modern tragedy. I feel very emotionally affected by this book!
Feb 06, 2016 Kim rated it it was ok
The biography that wouldn't end. Terrible editing, misspelled words and too many people to keep track.
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
Sep 20, 2008 J. rated it liked it
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
Nov 07, 2013 Luxia rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Mature adults
Now most of us know
Supermodel Gia Marie Carangi's life was a Rollercoaster ride full
of sensuality and beauty. But that was only half of it and
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,
Feb 23, 2013 K rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 24, 2015 Shahrill Ramli rated it really liked it
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.
Sep 10, 2014 Ashley rated it it was ok
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
Jan 18, 2016 Fishface rated it really liked it
A fascinating, if often grim, read. Took me right back to the Seventies, the early Eighties and the first wave of the AIDS epidemic. All seen through the eyes of the people who loved Gia Carangi and watched her succumb -- a literal fashion victim. It's hard to say I truly enjoyed this book, knowing how it was all going to come out in the end, but it was very hard to put down.
Feb 02, 2014 Sara rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Dec 13, 2011 Carolyn James rated it liked it
Shelves: true-story-bro
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
Jul 08, 2015 Shannon Flynn rated it really liked it
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.
I read this book years ago and it is one of the best autobiographies that I've read. It is a very sad story and I was so upset when I finished but it was also a story that should be read. I also watched the movie and it was also really good.
A great biography considering many of Fried's sources passed away before and during the writing of this book. Even though I knew the outcome and had seen the tv movie on her life, I still found this to be a great read.
kristi pottichen
Thing of Beauty

Gia Carangi was the first real Supermodel. She lived a life full of Beauty and tragedy. A cautionary tale for anyone who dreams of beginning a career in the spotlight.
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Stephen Fried is an award-winning investigative journalist, a bestselling author and an adjunct professor at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. His latest book, A Common Struggle: A Personal Journey Through the Past and Future of Mental Illness and Addiction (October 2015) which he co-authored with former congressman Patrick Kennedy, was an instant New York Times Bestseller. His la ...more
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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.”
“here we are, without our families, totally out of our heads, and we don’t know where on earth we are. That was the feeling of the early seventies—nobody knew where they were.” 0 likes
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