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As Seen on TV: Provocations

3.42  ·  Rating details ·  177 ratings  ·  19 reviews
From the author of the unforgettable Autobiography of A Face comes a collection of wonderfully unexpected essays on life, love, sex, God and politics.

Whether she is contemplating promiscuity or The New Testament, lamenting about what she should have said to Oprah, or learning to tango, Grealy seduces and surprises the reader at every turn. With the sheer brilliance of her
Paperback, 186 pages
Published July 6th 2001 by Bloomsbury USA (first published 2000)
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3.42  · 
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 ·  177 ratings  ·  19 reviews

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I have developed an obsession with Lucy Grealy. Two years ago, I found Autobiography of a Face in a Goodwill, and picked it up simply because of how cool the title was. And then I got hooked. I think of Lucy almost as someone I know and am friends with. I feel like I know her, and her foibles are therefore half exasperating, but half endearing. Like, there she is, Lucy, being a little self-involved again. So Lucy.

So from that context, As Seen on TV is everything I expected. She goes on stream of
Mar 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
It's heartbreaking to read this page at the end of the book (paperback published in 2001):

Lucy Grealy is an award-winning poet and author of the highly acclaimed memoir Autobiography of a Face (New York Times Notable Book of the Year). She lives in New York City and is currently working on a novel.
It would have been interesting to move from her personal story to a longer work of fiction, but Lucy Grealy died in 2002. This good, but uneven collection is the place that you can
Feb 15, 2010 rated it liked it
Grealy was an interesting writer with a wild imagination. This collection of essays covers a wide section of her life from childhood to what happened after the success of "Autobiography of a Face." After reading "Truth & Beauty" by Ann Patchett, I know that Grealy was hounded by her editors to finish this book. That might explain the varied quality of these essays. Some are lovely and well written and others read like rushed assignments for magazines. My favorites were "The Yellow House" "Th ...more
Feb 15, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2008
I'll admit that I felt obligated to read this book after liking Autobiography of a Face so much. My feelings are mixed. It's obvious that Lucy Grealy is a talented writer, but I couldn't help but think that some of these essays were forced, or that she was a little too self aware in writing them. I also can't help but question what she would have become had she never had the cancer she writes about. At one point she even alludes to feeling special and strong because of the cancer, and although I ...more
Jul 31, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Good, solid collection of well-written essays raging from personal to cultural commentary. Much of her work focuses on the penetration of surfaces, such as beatuy, infromed by a scarring bout of jaw cancer the author faced as a young child.
May 17, 2013 rated it liked it
I picked up this book shortly after it came out and never finished it and that was . . . a very long time ago, given it was the only thing that she finished before he death and that was a very long time ago, back in 2002. I put off actually finishing it because I collect books and other pop culture detritus like other people collect tabloid magazines and sports scores and it just feel by the wayside.

Of course, it's more than that, because Grealy's death took me (and many others) as a shock. I di
Mar 17, 2008 rated it liked it
I like Lucy Grealy's writing. She weaves personal memoir with more political, universal thoughts in these essays, and several themes (sexuality, identity, family, animals, being in the public eye) recur. Grealy's voice is strong, sardonic, and clear, although some essays foray too far into loopy musings and lost me.

A lot of the best essays deal with multiple and shifting perspectives. I loved "Twin World" for Grealy's aggressive challenging of people's perceptions of what being a twin is like.
Jul 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Reflective Ponderable People
Highly recommended. Lucy Grealy is one of the best writers I've come across this year and her early demise is a loss on many levels. One of these levels is the small amount of work she left for us to read and ponder upon. Because that's the kind of things she writes about; ponderable things, issues, thoughts and images for us to reflect on. One amazing woman.

Addendum: After reading some other reviews of Lucy Grealy's work, other readers reflections and opinions on Lucy's writing, it appears she
Jan 19, 2008 rated it liked it
This was a tough book to rate. The author is point blank honest about her life and makes interesting connections. But I also found the book cold. Maybe because the author has gone through so much pain and suffering that even in her memoir she has distanced herself from her inner feelings. I didn't like the book as much as I'd hoped but I'm interested enough to read 'Autobiography of a Face'.

At age 9, the author had cancer of the jaw, went through many corrective surgeries which failed, and ultim
Sep 21, 2013 rated it liked it
I had read Autobiography of a Face by Grealy but really don't remember it very clearly. I enjoyed this book of her essays although I felt most of them were a little over my head or else she writes making it sound like everything is over everybody's head. However, she was pretty much on the mark on the things I understood, especially the difference between Democrats and Republicans and their ways of getting or not getting out the correct message and how the Republican/conservative/religious "expl ...more
Shin Yu
Oct 24, 2012 rated it it was ok
This is a collection of personal essays by the author of Autobiography of a Face. The writing in this book is often more complex and textured than Grealy's earlier memoir work (which relied primarily on a narrative as told from a child/adolescent perspective in real-time), with Grealy implicating herself and writing more openly of her emotional insecurity, sexuality, privilege (she becomes an American citizen to qualify for a book prize), and intellectual snobbery (attachment to her own intellig ...more
Jan 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Pages 90-94 Christ, space-time, forgiveness, and chemistry... She had me completely. "The substance was itself the answer; our job was to find the right questions" (94). LOVE THAT.

Another sentence that struck me: "... The secret luminous truth of how wretchedness and joy are inseparable brushed past me..." (104). That sums up so much for me in life.

"... I learned... That observation could become a way to enter world. ... The ability to see was no longer passive" (171).

I gave this book 4 stars
Elisa Hategan
Aug 05, 2011 rated it liked it
There's a lot of depth to Lucy Grealy's writing in terms of self-reflection and analysis, and because I like her writing, and there's so little of it out there beyond her autobiography, I added this book to my collection.
Some of the essays are good and some fall flat, suffering from the same issues that plague all her other writing -- Grealy loves the sound of her voice, her clever positionings, her intellectual wittiness. As a result, she uses excessive verbiage and writes entire run-on paragra
May 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I read this immediately after reading Autobiography of a Face and it was fascinating to see how maturity and experience had changed her interpretations of the experiences described in her first memoir. Her insight into the exploitation of suffering people by television was also spot on. And her observation of the transience of insight.
It was absolutely fascinating to me to read this along with Autobiography of a Face and Ann Patchett's Truth and Beauty... it's so hard to distinguish where truth and fiction collide in these memoirs and essays. Ann Patchett writes as if she were a central feature in Grealy's life, yet Grealy never mentions her, even obliquely, in either of her books that I can tell.
Mar 29, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommended to Mary by: Lauren Basing
I read "Autobiography of a Face" in college and loved/still ove Lucy Grealy's voice and tone. I felt that some of these stories were a little too repetitive of what I already read in that book and not as poignant.
Tracy King
Jun 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Became somewhat obsessed with Lucy Grealy after reading Autobiography of a Face. I read this a long time ago and enjoyed this book, but it did not leave a lasting impression on me. I would give it 3.5 stars if I could give half!
Feb 19, 2015 rated it liked it
For Lucy Grealy fans, i.e., best read after Autobiography of a Face.
I think I like the Lucy Grealy in Ann Patchett's book more than I like the Lucy Grealy who wrote these stories. Most of them seem very forced, very "Look at me writing! Aren't I interesting!"
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Lucinda Margaret Grealy was a poet and memoirist who wrote Autobiography of a Face in 1994. This critically acclaimed book describes her childhood and early adolescence experience with cancer of the jaw, which left her with some facial disfigurement. In a 1994 interview with Charlie Rose conducted right before she rose to the height of her fame, Lucy states that she considers her book to be primar ...more