Autobiography of a Face

Front Cover
Harper Collins, Mar 18, 2003 - Biography & Autobiography - 256 pages

"I spent five years of my life being treated for cancer, but since then I've spent fifteen years being treated for nothing other than looking different from everyone else. It was the pain from that, from feeling ugly, that I always viewed as the great tragedy of my life. The fact that I had cancer seemed minor in comparison."

At age nine, Lucy Grealy was diagnosed with a potentially terminal cancer. When she returned to school with a third of her jaw removed, she faced the cruel taunts of classmates. In this strikingly candid memoir, Grealy tells her story of great suffering and remarkable strength without sentimentality and with considerable wit. Vividly portraying the pain of peer rejection and the guilty pleasures of wanting to be special, Grealy captures with unique insight what it is like as a child and young adult to be torn between two warring impulses: to feel that more than anything else we want to be loved for who we are, while wishing desperately and secretly to be perfect.


What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - akblanchard -

Lucy Grealy was a typical nine-year-old girl until a random playground accident revealed a deeper problem: she had a rare, usually fatal form of childhood cancer called Ewing's sarcoma. After surgery ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - BookConcierge - LibraryThing

Lucy Grealy was nine years old when she was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, an aggressive bone cancer, in her right jaw. The surgery and chemo helped save her life but left her with disfiguring scars ... Read full review


prologue Pony Party i
one Luck
two Petting Zoo
four Fear Itself
five Life on Earth
six Door Number Two
eight Truth and Beauty
nine World of Unknowing
twelve Mirrors
Afterword by Ann Patchett

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2003)

Lucy Grealy, an award-winning poet, was born in Ireland in 1963. She lived in the UK and in Germany but spent most of her life in New York, where she grew up, and where she died in 2002. She also published a collection of essays, As Seen on TV: Provocations.

Bibliographic information