Truth & Beauty: A Friendship

Version: Unabridged
Author: Ann Patchett
Narrator: Ann Patchett
Genres: Biography & Memoir, Relationships, Marriage & Family
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Published In: May 2004
# of Units: 7 CDs
Length: 8 hours, 30 minutes
Tell Your Friends:


The author of "Bel Canto -- winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award, the Orange Prize and long-running "New York Times bestseller -- turns to nonfiction in a moving chronicle of her decades-long friendship with the critically acclaimed and recently deceased author, Lucy Grealy.

What happens when the person who is your family is someone you aren't bound to by blood? What happens when that person is not your lover, but your best friend? In her frank and startlingly intimate first work of nonfiction, "Truth & Beauty, Ann Patchett shines light on the little-explored world of women's friendships and shows us what it means to stand together.

Ann Patchett and Lucy Grealy met in college in 1981, and after enrolling in the Iowa Writer's Workshop began a friendship that would be as defining to both of their lives as their work. In her critically acclaimed memoir, "Autobiography of a Face, Lucy Grealy wrote about the first half of her life. In "Truth & Beauty, the story isn't Lucy's life or Ann's life but the parts of their lives they shared together. This is a portrait of unwavering commitment that spans 20 years, from the long cold winters of the Midwest to surgical wards to book parties in New York. Through love, fame, drugs and despair, this is what it means to be part of two lives that are intertwined.

This is a tender, brutal book about loving the person we cannot save. It is about loyalty and about being lifted up by the sheer effervescence of someone who knew how to live life to the fullest.

Reviews (8)

Written by Anonymous on March 12th, 2020

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Loved this beautiful story of friendship

unhealthy friendship

Written by Angie Teal on July 20th, 2016

  • Book Rating: 3/5

Unlike the other reviewers I found the book disturbing and sad. It was an unhealthy friendship between a needy, narcissistic and emotionally stunted taker (Lucy) and co-dependent and over-indulging giver (Ann). Lucy got in trouble, Ann cleaned up after her. While I realize that Lucy indeed had enough difficulties in her life, I felt that her ugliness was more on the inside than on the outside. Ann was unable to set boundaries, and only encouraged the outrageous irresponsible behaviour of Lucy G. I was sad for both of them.

Written by Lutisha Vickerie on October 20th, 2015

  • Book Rating: 4/5

Beautiful rendition of their friendship. Lucy's life both broke my heart and inspired me, all in the same breath. I wish Ann wrote more openly on her own feelings and journey as well.

Written by pilar padilla on March 17th, 2015

  • Book Rating: 3/5

Although I am a fan of Ann Patchett, being a regular attendee of Alanon, this book was a romance of self indulgence. Poor me, not easy to stomach

Truth and Beauty

Written by Donna Griffin on December 19th, 2007

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Wow, what a fantastic read. A gifted friendship, both happy and tragic. I went on to read Anatomy of a Face, also a great read.

Raw and Riveting

Written by Peggy Stortz on May 16th, 2007

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Ann Patchett held my heart in her hand as she mesmorized me in this riveting, raw and loving account of a friendship. Lucy was a brilliant, but emotionally needy person and Ann has managed to capture all the facets of her complex personality. This loving account of their relationship has changed the way that I look at the world. I recommend it highly.

Truth & Beauty: A Friendship

Written by Angela Jones on December 20th, 2006

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Beautifully written. The life of Lucy was so tortured. I can't imagine what it would be like to know there would never be an end to the pain and suffering. I asmire Ann for loving Lucy unconditionally and always letting her know that she was LOVED. Great listen teaches many lessons about what is truely inportant in this life.

Truth & Beauty: A Friendship

Written by jd of new orleans on January 28th, 2006

  • Book Rating: 4/5

I thought this book was a great portrayal of friendship and addiction.

Author Details

Author Details

Patchett, Ann

"Ann Patchett was born in Los Angeles in 1963, the youngest daughter of her nurse mother and police officer father.

While attending Sarah Lawrence College, Patchett took fiction writing classes with Alan Gurganus, Russell Banks, and Grace Paley. She sold her first story to the Paris Review, where it was published before her graduation. Patchett then went on to attend the University of Iowa Writer's Workshop.

In 1990, Patchett won a residential fellowship at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts. It is there that she wrote her first novel, The Patron Saint of Liars, which received a James A. Michener/ Copernicus Award for a book in progress. In 1993, she received a Bunting Fellowship from the Mary Ingrahm Bunting Institute at Radcliffe College.

Patchett's second novel, Taft, was awarded the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for the best work of fiction in 1994. Her third novel, The Magician's Assistant, was short-listed for England's Orange Prize and earned her a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1994. In October of the same year, just three days after the official release of The Magician's Assistant, Patchett was awarded the Nashville Banner Tennessee Writer of the Year Award.

She has also written for numerous publications, including The New York Times Magazine and Gourmet.

Ann Patchett's most recent novel, Bel Canto, won the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Patchett currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee. She published her non-fiction work,Truth and Beauty, in 2004. "