Autobiography of a Face is a gripping memoir that compels the reader to follow the journey of Grealy's diagnosis of Ewing's Sarcoma when she is nine through countless surgeries and re-constructive attempts. The cancer (which has a survival rate of 5%) affected her jaw and left her face permanently changed. As Grealy describes her chemotherapy, frequent doctor visits, and hospital stays through the eyes of a child, the language and beauty that she uses are truly impressive. The book reads much more like a soliloquy on beauty than just a recounting of her life. Her meditations on truth and how it relates to beauty are inspiring. She uses her experiences and helps the reader to understand more about the human condition.
That being said, this is not an easy book to read. There are no pat answers to explain the pain of life or the value of family. I've seen the book for years, know that it appears on many awards lists, but it wasn't until a friend gave it to me for Christmas that I finally was motivated to read it. I'm glad that I did because it's a superb example of great writing.