Barbara Mader's Reviews > Truth & Beauty: A Friendship

Truth & Beauty by Ann Patchett
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's review
Feb 14, 2008

did not like it
Recommended for: no one
Read in February, 2008

I didn't care for it, for several reasons. First of all, I didn't think much of the quality of the writing--certainly nothing like Lucy Grealy's in her own memoir. Second, I found both women's behavior in the friendship really strange. Ann seems completely blank in the relationship, never asserting any real personality, and completely enabling Lucy's neediness and selfishness. Lucy just sounded like a black hole, sucking up every bit of attention, affection, needing more and more extravagant declarations of love. She sounded exhausting.

And finally, I think it exploitative of Ann Pratchett to write a book like this about someone she supposedly felt was her best friend when that person could no longer respond, particularly as Ann wasn't truly writing about the relationship at all. She did not write about her own feelings of the friendship, why and how it developed as it did, what kept them together, what she learned about herself, how (or whether!) Lucy brought out the best in her, etc.; in fact, there seems to be very little reflection on or ownership about her own behavior. Mostly it seems to be an expose' about Lucy.

I just came away feeling that both these women sounded really messed up, needy, difficult, self-absorbed, and not at all self-aware, and that both had a habit of using terrible judgment in their personal lives. Yuck. If this is truth--I do mean "if"--it's not beauty, and I wonder why anyone would want either of them as a friend.
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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

I agree with you only I think maybe they needed to call in Dr. Kevorkian. There was no truth IMO and no beauty.

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