December 4, 2023 | Rome, Italy

Autobiography of a Face

By |2018-03-21T18:29:10+01:00March 1st, 2007|Recent Reviews|

By Lucy Grealy

Harper Perennial, 1995 (2003). 256 pages.


n this beautifully-written account of her 18-year battle with Ewings sarcoma, a rare and usually fatal cancer, Grealy transcends victimization because her writing is as poetic as its message is empowering. Grealy was in fact primarily known as a poet. The cancer, which appeared when she was nine, ate away at her tissue, leaving her face disfigured; a series of operations failed to ever fix it completely.

She gives us a stunning testimony of what it is to be different in a society that takes for granted how much appearance matters. It is also an insight into our own vulnerability taken to the extreme.

Kristine Crane is Associate Editor of The American and the author of the "L'Americana" column. She lives and writes in North Central Florida. She was formerly a Fulbright scholar and journalist in Rome, where she helped found "The American." She is originally from Iowa City.