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1. Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts
2. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions
3. Imperfect Birds: A Novel
4. Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on
5. Operating Instructions: A Journal
6. Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith
7. Rosie
8. Joe Jones: A Novel
9. Hard Laughter: A Novel
10. Bird by Bird
11. All New People
12. Crooked Little Heart: A Novel
13. Traveling Mercies
14. Finding God When You Don't Believe
15. Architecture of the Novel: A Writer's
16. Word by Word
17. Operating Instructions - A Journal
18. Blue Shoe
19. What Would You Do If You Had No
20. Imperfect Birds -by Anne Lamott

1. Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith
by Anne Lamott
Paperback: 275 Pages (2000-02-15)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$3.74
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385496095
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Anne Lamott claims the two best prayers she knows are: "Help me, help me, help me" and "Thank you, thank you, thank you." She has a friend whose morning prayer each day is "Whatever," and whose evening prayer is "Oh, well." Anne thinks of Jesus as "Casper the friendly savior" and describes God as "one crafty mother."

Despite--or because of--her irreverence, faith is a natural subject for Anne Lamott. Since Operating Instructions and Bird by Bird, her fans have been waiting for her to write the book that explained how she came to the big-hearted, grateful, generous faith that she so often alluded to in her two earlier nonfiction books. The people in Anne Lamott's real life are like beloved characters in a favorite series for her readers--her friend Pammy, her son, Sam, and the many funny and wise folks who attend her church are all familiar. And Traveling Mercies is a welcome return to those lives, as well as an introduction to new companions Lamott treats with the same candor, insight, and tenderness.

Lamott's faith isn't about easy answers, which is part of what endears her to believers as well as nonbelievers. Against all odds, she came to believe in God and then, even more miraculously, in herself. As she puts it, "My coming to faith did not start with a leap but rather a series of staggers." At once tough, personal, affectionate, wise, and very funny, Traveling Mercies tells in exuberant detail how Anne Lamott learned to shine the light of faith on the darkest part of ordinary life, exposing surprising pockets of meaning and hope.

Amazon.com Review
Anne Lamott admits that she's "ever so slightly more anxiousthan the average hypochondriac." When faced with a small, irregularmole and a family history of skin cancer, however, she remembers herfaith in God and enjoys some peace--despite behaving "a little morelike Nathan Lane in The Birdcage than I would have hoped." AuthorLamott reads these wonderfully detailed postcards from her meanderingjourney to faith. With sharp and bittersweet humor, she recounts apast full of bad relationships with men, with food, with drugs, withalcohol, and worst of all, with herself. She battles her demons thanksto the love of her friends and family and her "lurch of faith" toembrace religion, that "puzzling thing inside me that had begun to tugon my sleeve from time to time, trying to get my attention." Inspiringbut not dogmatic, Traveling Mercies is a treasure. (Runningtime: 4 hours, 3 cassettes) --C.B. Delaney ... Read more

Customer Reviews (329)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book.
This book makes you feel as though you are not alone in your struggles. She speaks in such a humble and realistic voice. I bought this to replace the very used copy in my library, and donated it to them.

4-0 out of 5 stars very moving
I was appalled. I thought about my life and my brillant hilarious progressive friends. I thought about what everyone would think of me if I became a Christian, and it seemed an utterly impossible thing that simply could not be allowed to happen. I turned to the wall and said out loud, 'I would rather die.' I felt him sitting there on his haunches in the corner of my sleeping loft, watching me with patience and love. Thanks be to man kind. Since the time of my own conversion experience - at age 38 - I have had a special place in my heart for others with similar experiences and Lamott's is one of the most beautifully described conversions I have ever read. A week after an abortion she finds herself one night, drunk and losing lots of blood. She's terrified and when the bleeding finally stops she turns off the light and tries to go to sleep only to become aware of someone in the room with her - first assuming it was her [dead] father. She turns on the light to find, of course, no one in the room. "But after a while in the dark again, I knew beyond any doubt it was Ralph. ... And

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Book on Faith and Self-Awareness
I love this book.It is a classic.Her self-awareness and self-honesty are refreshing and caused me to examine myself in different ways.Although it's written as a memoir, her discussion of her journey of faith deepened my spiritual experience.

5-0 out of 5 stars I love Anne Lamott!
Anne Lamott is so down to earth and funny and she certainly doesn't mind letting her imperfections show. She makes everyone who marches to the beat of a different drummer feel not so alone as well as entertained!

2-0 out of 5 stars It's really just some thoughts.Take them for what they're worth.
The title is a fair summary of the contents of this book.It really is just a collection of thoughts by Anne Lamott, largely on faith.I was expecting it to deal more with a specifically Christian faith, but Lamott really doesn't do that.In an alternate reality, if she had found Buddha instead of Jesus in her time of need, and if she had a strong community that didn't happen to be a church, there are really only three or four pages in this book that would need to be changed to fit her circumstances.Lamott references a couple of verses from the Bible about forgiveness, and (in my favorite story, probably because it hasn't been so long since I helped scatter my mother's ashes) she connects the idea of Ash Wednesday to the way a person's ashes stick to your hands and you can't ever really let them go.She admits that her son is trying to irritate her by claiming to believe in "all the gods" instead of just Jesus.But in general, this is religion lite: an occasionally moving (deeply moving - when she succeeds, Lamott really succeeds), often funny, usually frustrating collection of thoughts from someone who seems to like God but doesn't seem to know any more about him than that (to the point of referring to God's gender with "his or her" and making statements like, "If there's a heaven, I imagine it will be like snorkeling.").

Lamott herself can be quite irritating - she is open about her quirks, her struggles, her neediness (she describes one boyfriend as being unable to deal with her tears and fears, and I found myself sympathizing with him).Also, her only interactions with God are when she wants something - praying for herself but also for others, always wanting God to change something, never wondering who he is, reading about what he's done, that kind of thing.It's a well-meaning people-centeredness, but that doesn't make Lamott's spiritual outlook one I would want someone else to adopt.I was relatively entertained while reading, but I can't imagine a situation in which I would hand a copy of this book to someone I liked and say, "You should read this, because in some area of your life, I would like you to be more like this author."

This is a pretty popular book among young Christians these days, so I recommend it for the purpose of being in the loop, but that's about it.I think someone on a spiritual journey, if he or she desires a book in this style, would be better served by hitting Donald Miller. ... Read more

2. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
by Anne Lamott
Paperback: 239 Pages (1995-09-01)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$7.84
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385480016
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
A step-by-step guide to writing and managing the writer's life covers each portion of a written project, addresses such concerns as writer's block and getting published, and offers awareness and survival tips. Reprint. Tour. K. NYT. Amazon.com Review
Think you've got a book inside of you? Anne Lamott isn'tafraid to help you let it out. She'll help you find your passion andyour voice, beginning from the first really crummy draft to thepeculiar letdown of publication. Readers will be reminded of theenergizing books of writer Natalie Goldberg and will be seduced byLamott's witty take on the reality of a writer's life, which haslittle to do with literary parties and a lot to do with jealousy,writer's block and going for broke with each paragraph.Marvelouslywise and best of all, great reading. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (372)

5-0 out of 5 stars I wish i had written this book
I started writing the following review when i was only halfway through Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life:

This book doesn't have anything to offer a seasoned writer, such as -- me, for instance.And it always rankles to hear a far more successful writer, someone who had an agent before even writing her first novel because her father was a writer, bitch and moan about the vagaries of writing life.

Then i read her brilliant chaper on jealousy, which begins with:

"Jealousy is such a direct attack on whatever measure of confidence you've been able to muster.But if you continue to write, you are probably going to have to deal with it, beacuse some wonderful, dazzling successes are going to happen for some of the most awful, angry, undeserving writers you know -- people who are, in other words, not you."

Not that i wasn't laughing up to this point, but she had me there, and it only gets funnier.Here's her advice on avoiding the accusation of libel: "Give him a penis that looks like a tiny egg in a bird's nest.He isn't going to come forward."

Lamott's not only funny.She's also profound.In fact, there are so many moments of profundity, things i'm sure will resonate with my fellow writers, that i had trouble chosing just this one: "One can find in writing a perfect focus for life.It offers challenge and delight and agony and commitment.We see our work as a vocation, with the potential to be as rich and enlivening as the priesthood."

I went from really not wanting to like this book to thinking i could have written it.But, of course, i didn't.I can only give it five stars.

4-0 out of 5 stars BORN WRITERS...
I enjoyed this book. It felt more like a collection of essays than a chronological piece. Lamott offers encouragement but also lets one see just how difficult it can be to be a writer. Reading her tales of misfortune and misfire were inspiring; even people who are "born" writers are not necessarily born writers. Her narrative showed that it takes effort and dedication no matter how much one likes to write.

I found this book inspiring. Also, she's quite funny at times.

5-0 out of 5 stars Provides vibrant personal insight into the mystic art of fiction, highly recommended
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life is vibrant and honest sermon on what writing fiction means for the author.As the title suggests, it also provides valuable perspective on the rewards of writing for the perseverant and conscientious student of the art.The book strays away from specific exercises, shortcuts, or writing "secrets" that seem to predominate this genre.And, having read and perused many of selections on this topic, this book shines with authenticity and true insight.The message is both empowering and personal - the reading here feels more like a personal conversation that a how-to style textbook.It's funny, though not always cheerful, and provides a wealth of inspiration and encouragement for the beginning writer.This book will remain on my shelf always.

5-0 out of 5 stars from a painters point of view
I heard Anne Lamotte in an interview on public radio years ago.I started listening in the middle of the interview and I had no idea who she was or the topic.For 15-20 minutes I thought this woman was a painter!As she talked about the creative process and described staring at an expanse of white...I thought she was referring to a canvas.I bought the book and in my humble opinion it is a great guide for creative individuals for many media.I have recommended this book to my students since its publication, I keep the book in my studio and there are many notes written in the margins.I reread it from time to time and still find it a wonderful guide to my own artwork.Not everyone is magically swept away by the muse; many times the creative process is difficult and painful.This book was a validation that my own struggles were not unusual or a sign of a significant problem with my work, this is just the way I work.The creative process she describes may not be for everyone, but it is certainly worth a look.

5-0 out of 5 stars I loved this book.
A fantastic book that, unlike other writing books, doesn't read as condescending advice, more like wisdom handed down from an entertaining, self-depricating friend. Amusing, entertaining and inspiring ... what more could you ask for in a book? ... Read more

3. Imperfect Birds: A Novel
by Anne Lamott
Hardcover: 288 Pages (2010-04-06)
list price: US$25.95 -- used & new: US$8.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1594487510
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
A powerful and redemptive novel of love and family, from the author of the bestselling Blue Shoe, Grace (Eventually), and Operating Instructions.

Rosie Ferguson is seventeen and ready to enjoy the summer before her senior year of high school. She's intelligent-she aced AP physics; athletic-a former state-ranked tennis doubles champion; and beautiful. She is, in short, everything her mother, Elizabeth, hoped she could be. The family's move to Landsdale, with stepfather James in tow, hadn't been as bumpy as Elizabeth feared.

But as the school year draws to a close, there are disturbing signs that the life Rosie claims to be leading is a sham, and that Elizabeth's hopes for her daughter to remain immune from the pull of the darker impulses of drugs and alcohol are dashed. Slowly and against their will, Elizabeth and James are forced to confront the fact that Rosie has been lying to them-and that her deceptions will have profound consequences.

This is Anne Lamott's most honest and heartrending novel yet, exploring our human quest for connection and salvation as it reveals the traps that can befall all of us. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (61)

2-0 out of 5 stars No real plot.
Anne Lamott is a great describer of hip communities. Her pleasant California world is a vividly graphic one into which the reader can enjoy visiting: town gatherings, the character-types who frequent them, with the food and clothes of the culture all vividly rendered. It's a world in which I'd like to live, and I relish the immersion. The problem is that the story itself is a static situation, rather than moving and reaching into an arc that unfolds, peaks and then crests, resolving significantly enough, somehow, to make it worth having read. The plot points don't build the tale into something that grows, but rather each event is like an identical highway post that repeats over and over, going nowhere.
Rosie is a one-dimensional drug-addict who keeps taking different drugs in scene after scene, with only the slightest variation- and she keeps inventing lie after lie for her spineless, clueless, enabling mother. If this shallow, unappealing girl carries anything in her that could give us the insight to help us feel sympathy,we're not allowed to see it. She just keeps drugging and lying for over 200 pages until I almost put down the book. I knew she would crash, but it was taking way too long. Finally, almost to the end, she does, and ends up in an enforced rehab,spending her college funds on a resented sobriety that it seems clear she will end the second she gets out. I found it depressing to read about someone tossing away her life over and over, without any insight as to why it was happening- although the background details are described beautifully.

4-0 out of 5 stars how mother's really are...
After reading the reviews, I checked Anne Lamott's new book out of the local library.The reviews applaud her non-fiction but hedge on applauding her fiction. Yes, it's true for me as well: I love her non-fiction.And, I love Bird by Bird...the most brilliant writing book ever.But I loved this story as well.One of the reviews talked about wanting to shake Elizabeth, Rosie's mother, and say...'Wake-Up!!' Don't you see that she's a flake...just like the others. But in truth...you don't want to wake up to what is happening when your child is sinking.You want to believe she/he is telling the truth.You want to know that you have done a great job. And no matter how 'stalled' Elizabeth's awakening was...that is what most parents do.It was painfully real to read the interchanges between Elizabeth and James, and James and Rosie, and Rosie and the teacher, and Rosie ...and Rosie ..... Totally, painfully real. I wanted less of the 'holy-rollers' events....But that's me.I would have liked more at the end.More of the growth.Anne Lamott has the voice to tell this story, and albeit not perfect, the story is alive with truth, however painful it may be to swallow.

5-0 out of 5 stars I loved it
Like most of the other reviewers, I am a loyal fan of Anne Lamott's non-fiction.This is her first novel that I truly loved.I'm a mother with a young daughter and also from the Northern California area.So, there was a lot I could relate to in the book.I felt that Anne Lamott's voice came through in the novel and that there was an obvious link between the story and the subjects of her non-fiction (parenting, religion, friendship, addiction...) I finished it and the next day drove it over to my girlfriend's house.I can't wait for her to call me so that we can talk. That's the best endorsement I know for a book.Thank you Anne!

4-0 out of 5 stars Truths and untruths
Anne Lamott is wise, wry, and grounded.She is also an astonishingly good writer.(For proof, see her book Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life.)I just finished her latest novel, IMPERFECT BIRDS, which I liked quite a bit -- not because the writing itself is so perfect (her fiction somehow isn't as powerful as her nonfiction), but because the story she tells is so moving.Lamott's story focuses on Rosie, a high-school senior who is succumbing to her addictions to various drugs and is drawn into an increasingly complicated web of lies to her parents about her behavior.It's a compelling narrative about the vulnerability of youth, the destructiveness of lying, the power of parental love, and the beauty (and ugliness) of truth.

3-0 out of 5 stars Rich portrait with abrupt ending
Ann Lammott is one of my favorite authors. Her books are real and true, this one included. I felt like I was in the heads of Rosie and Elizabeth, the two main characters, going through the trials of adolescent drug addiction with them. On the down side, this book has a sudden and unexpected ending. It's as though the author got sick of writing this story and just stopped, just before the climax of the story. ... Read more

4. Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith
by Anne Lamott
Paperback: 253 Pages (2008-02-26)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$3.88
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 159448287X
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
"Lamott has chronicled her wacky and (sometimes) wild adventures in faith in...the wonderful Grace (Eventually)." (Chicago Sun- Times)

In Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith, the author of the bestsellers Traveling Mercies and Plan B delivers a poignant, funny, and bittersweet primer of faith, as we come to discover what it means to be fully alive.Amazon.com Review
Through Anne Lamott's many books (including six novels, her bestselling parenting memoir, Operating Instructions, and her popular guide to writing, Bird by Bird) the subject she keeps returning to is her faith, her deeply personal--"erratic," she says--journey in Christianity. Her latest book, Grace (Eventually), is her third collection of her "thoughts on faith," and she took the time to answer a few of our questions.

Questions for Anne Lamott

Amazon.com: This is your third book on faith. How has your perspective changed since you wrote your first one?

Lamott: I wrote my first book on faith when Bill Clinton was president, and I was in a much better mood. I wrote Plan B during the run-up to war in Iraq, and the ensuing catastrophe, so I was very angry, but trying to reconcile that pain and hostility toJesus's insistence that we are made of love, to love, and be loved, to forgive and be forgiven. Some days went better than others. Also, my son Sam was in his early teens, and that was a LOT easier than when he turned 16 and 17, his ages when I was writing the pieces in Grace (Eventually).

In general, I think Grace (Eventually) is a less angry book. I like how I'm aging, except that my back hurts more often, my knees crack like twigs when I squat, and my memory fails more frequently, in more public and therefore humiliating ways. But I think I complain less. As my best friend said when she was dying, and I was obsessing about my butt, "You just don't have that kind of time."

Amazon.com: What does grace mean for you? How can we better communicate it to each other?

Lamott: Grace is that extra bit of help when you think you are really doomed; also, not coincidentally, when you have finally run out of good ideas on how to proceed, and on how better to control the people or circumstances that are frustrating or defeating you. I experience Grace as a cool ribbon of fresh air when I feel spiritually claustrophobic. Sometimes I experience it as water-wings, something holding me up when I am afraid that I'm going down, or the tide is carrying me away. I know that Grace meets us whereever we are, but does not leave us where it found us. Sometimes it is so small--a couple of seconds relief here, several extra inches there. I wish it were big and obvious, like sky-writing. Oh, well. Grace is not something I DO, or can chase down; but it is something I can receive, when I stop trying to be in charge.

We communicate grace to one another by holding space for people when they are hurt or terrified, instead of trying to fix them, or manage their emotions for them. We offer ourselves as silent companionship, or gentle listening when someone feels very alone. We get people glasses of water when they are thirsty.

Amazon.com: Many of the essays in Grace (Eventually) first appeared in Salon, the online magazine, and that's the way that many readers first found you. How do you see the Internet changing the way people read and write?

Lamott: The Internet makes everything so immediate and spontaneous, which I totally love--UNLESS it has to do with the immediacy of people's negative response to me.Several of the Salon pieces in Grace--for instance, the story about the horrible fight with my son, and the piece about turning the other cheek while being ripped off by The Carpet Guy--generated a couple hundred letters, many of them extremely hostile. Perhaps "spewy" would be a better description. I also sometimes get knee-jerk responses to my mentions of Jesus in my Salon pieces that seem to lump me in the same tradition as Jerry Falwell. But for the most part, I love the populism and egalitarian nature of the Internet: everyone counts the same.

Amazon.com: What stories do people tell you, when they've read your books or know you are a writer?

Lamott: People tell me how relieved they are that I try to tell the truth about how hard it can be to be a mother, or a daughter, or an American in these times. They tell me stories about how awful their own teenagers can be, or how awful they themselves behaved towards their kids or parents; how hard it was to finally be able to adore their mothers, or to forgive their fathers. They tell me their sobriety dates. They whisper to me that they are Christians, too.

Also, they ask if I am able to read their manuscripts, and the name of my agent, and my e-mail address. They ask if we are going to survive the current political difficulties--and I promise them we are. They ask how old my son is now--17 and a half--and how he is doing, which is fantastically, after some of the hard months I wrote about in Grace.

Amazon.com:What lessons do you think you can pass on to others: to your readers, to your son? What lessons does it seem like people have to learn for themselves?

Lamott: All I have to offer is my own truth, my own experience, strength and hope. I can pass on the tool of a God Box, and how for 20 years I have been putting tiny notes in mine and promising God I will keep my sticky fingers off the controls until I hear God's wisdom: sometimes I get an answer because the phone rings, or the mail comes, but at any rate, during every single terrible problem and tragedy, I have been given enough guidance and stamina and even humor to bear up, and be transformed, for the good. I always tell Sam that if you want to make God laugh, tell Her your plans. I tell Sam that if he listens to his best thinking, he will suffer: and to listen to his heart instead, to listen in the silence, and to seek wise counsel.

Amazon.com: You've written nearly a dozen books (including an incredibly popular guide to writing): does writing get any easier? Does it get harder?

Lamott: In a very important way, writing gets easier, because I've been doing it full time now for thirty-plus years, and just as you would get better and better if you practiced your scales on a piano, I've gotten better, and can try harder and harder pieces. But writing is always hard. It does not come naturally to me at all. I sit down at the same time every day, which lets my subconscious realize it's time to get to work. I give myself very short assignments, and let myself write really terrible first drafts. But I grapple with the exact same problems every writer does, which is having equal proportions of self-loathing and grandiosity. I sort of live by the Nike ads: Just Do It. So I sit down. I show up. I do it by pre-arrangement with myself, because I know I'll feel sad and terrible if I shirk on that days writing. I do it as a debt of honor, to myself, and to whatever it is that has given me this gift of being able to tell stories, and to make people laugh. Laughter is carbonated holiness. Other people's good writing is medicine for me, and I hope mine is too, for my readers.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (78)

2-0 out of 5 stars Occasionally Christian
It's difficult sometimes to find the Christianity in this book, where Lamott suggests (imagines?) that Jesus was awful as a teenager, that abortion isn't really all that bad, and that we should pray to Mary.I wonder where those ideas are justified in the Bible.

And Lamott's frequent rants about Bush-Cheney were also a distraction.

Lamott's simplistic theology says everyone is free to find their own path.How New Age!But Jesus is not just Savior, He is also Lord, and His requirements are more demanding than Lamott allows for.

Lamott says, "There is not much truth being told in the world."Exactly.Being truthful is important.And one truth that should be acknowledged is that being Christian isn't some touchy-feely exercise in spiritual superficiality.
Lamott's book of essays was superficially entertaining in many places, but disappoints on a deeper level.

3-0 out of 5 stars Grace, not exemplified
I began blogging recently with "Grace: Eventually" among three books lined up on my desk for summer reading. A Lamott fan since "Bird by Bird" I dived in to this book I gifted myself with two Christmases ago.

As always, Lamott says things in a way that intrigues and challenges me. And yet, four essays in and now this far into a new presidential administration, I found her dings for George W, Donald Rumsfield, and Dick Cheney disconcerting. I don't mind so much that she and I disagree politically, but can't fathom that a book which claims to center on the notion of "Grace" would have so little evidence of it in the content.

4-0 out of 5 stars Reminded me of L'Engle in nonfiction mode
Author Anne LaMott has walked a different faith road than the conventional writer of "inspirational" books. Like Madeleine L'Engle, a favorite among novelists for me, she has no ties to the Christianity that identifies itself with conservative political and social beliefs. Her life story includes alcoholism, battles with a co-dependent mother, single motherhood entered into by choice, and a passion for causes. In this volume of essays, she draws the reader into that life. She writes with grace, beauty, immediacy, and dark humor, and she kept me turning pages longer than planned each time I picked this book up.

My one negative comment is that despite agreeing with her about it, I became quite tired of hearing about the Bush administration. Otherwise, a good read by an author whose other work may well interest me!

--Reviewed by Nina M. Osier, author of "Love, Jimmy: A Maine Veteran's Longest Battle"

4-0 out of 5 stars So near and yet so far
So near and yet so far: this is how I feel about the mind of Anne Lamott.

On the one hand (near), she is hilarious, deep, and shares insights I love and find fresh and true. When I finished this book about Grace, I filled up three pages of my book review journal with quotes I found meaningful.

On the other hand (far), she talks about God off and on asthough he were the guy next door or Santa Claus - someone who acts in certain ways, and with whom she has chatty conversations. This practice sometimes seems (a)a little silly/childlike and (b) at odds with her much more sophisticated ruminations on spirituality.

Especially touching: Her Sunday School Class about the Wailing Wall, early in the book. At the beginning of the lesson, each child is summoned by calling out a particular benign feature (blue sweater, whatever), then encircled by a teacher's hug, and told "You are so chosen. You are so loved." Gulp. It's enough to send me to Sunday school! Not to mention the valuable information about the Wall, its history, and the whole matter of "letting go" by leaving messages in the crevices of the stone.

At the close of another story in the book, during which Anne helps at a dance class for people with disabilities, she asks that the following words be put on her gravestone:"That I was a helper, and that I danced." She deserves it. This book helps and dances all at the same time, as do her other books.

5-0 out of 5 stars you may need to wait a while, but grace will be
My first impression was Anne Lamott's easygoing, easily understandable yet wonderfully and thankfully unannoying writing style, but what on earth is it about book covers with iconic (without a doubt) white (or thereabouts) clapboard church buildings plunked down and settled in amidst verdant Midwestern or New English (doubtless) shade trees? Is there any other possibility?

At first I thought this is kind of coolly about real life, but next I thought, "I think I'm just as clever, brave, honest, mellow (no, not that one yet), wise and perceptive as Ann(i)e Lamott, and I'd love to be published between covers rather than just on a blog screen, too." A week ago, when I read half the book (picking and choosing the next chapter according to how intriguing the title seemed), I kept thinking, "we all are not all that f***ed up, are we? She so seems to be into total depravity! It will take the world 1,000 years to recover from GWB? I thought this book was about grace!" But the further I got, the more I knew she was writing about me, and with such credibility: not only is it an actual printed hard-copy (because after all, so is the National Enquirer), but it's a bound book by a non-sensational author. That rocks!

A person cannot be fully human without the interwoven fabric of connectiveness, belongingness, participation, recognition and acknowledgement. Because it's real and alive, it can be torn, tattered, ripped apart, rewoven, mended and appended to other pieces (remnants) of cloth. Call it "being networked!" In the first paragraph of Wailing Wall the author writes, (page 25) "You say that we don't have to live alone with out worries and losses, that all the people in their tide pool will be there for them. You say that it totally sucks, and that grace abounds." That sounds a whole lot like a whole lot of my own writing, teaching and preaching, but where is the community with that promise for me?

"Near the Lagoon, 2004" (in the "Forgiveness" section of the book) is about the writer's return to the scene of her earlier life after a long time away. From page 141: "I almost immediately got a Twilight Zone feeling. First, I was going back to the place from which I had fled, and that is usually a signal to me that something mythical is in the works. And second, instantly a hobgoblin of a man appeared in our path...He asked...'Do you know where you are going?'" And in Ski Patrol, on pages 18-19, toward the book's beginning, Annie Lamott asserts "...God always hears our cries, and helps, and it's always a surprise to see what form God will take on earth..." Amen, amen!

Despite the immense varieties of human experiences, my best guess is most people have had or eventually will have similar experiences to Annie Lamott's and even experiences not dissimilar to mine. Take a trip through this book and remember some of the stories; I predict they'll do well by you and for you! ... Read more

5. Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son's First Year
by Anne Lamott
Paperback: 272 Pages (2005-03-08)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$6.62
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1400079098
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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It’s not like she’s the only woman to ever have a baby. At thirty-five. On her own. But Anne Lamott makes it all fresh in her now-classic account of how she and her son and numerous friends and neighbors and some strangers survived and thrived in that all important first year. From finding out that her baby is a boy (and getting used to the idea) to finding out that her best friend and greatest supporter Pam will die of cancer (and not getting used to that idea), with a generous amount of wit and faith (but very little piousness), Lamott narrates the great and small events that make up a woman’s life.Amazon.com Review
The most honest, wildly enjoyable book written aboutmotherhood is surely Anne Lamott's account of her son Sam's firstyear. A gifted writer and teacher, Lamott (Crooked Little Heart)is a single mother and ex-alcoholic with a pleasingly warped socialcircle and a remarkably tolerant religion to lean on. She responds tothe changes, exhaustion, and love Sam brings with aplomb or outrightinsanity. The book rocks from hilarious to unbearably poignant whenSam's burgeoning life is played out against a very close friend'sillness. No saccharine paean to becoming a parent, this touches on therage and befuddlement that dog sweeter emotions during this sea changein one's life. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (168)

3-0 out of 5 stars Interesting read but overflowing with Boomer self-indulgence
No surprise that baby Sam grew up to be a teenager who knocked up his girlfriend on purpose.This book has lots of well-written passages that will have almost any parent nodding, understanding Lammott's frustration, adoration, fear and delight.And yet the author is so full of spite, self-righteous hatred and typical Boomer self-indulgence that by the end of the book I felt sad for Sam and worried - quite rightly, it turns out - for his future.

5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding book!I buy it for every new parent I know!
This book is funny, poignant, and very relevant to a new parent, especially a new mom.I gift it as a gift to every new parent I know!

3-0 out of 5 stars OK - but do not read unless you're a Democrat
The book was ok, a typical journal of a new mother's first year with her son.What I did NOT appreciate were the many "horrible" thoughts she wrote about what would happen if her son grew up to be a Republican.I guess it was supposed to be humorous, but I am an Independent and still found that to be insulting.Get another new mommy's journal account of her first year, I'm sure there are others...

4-0 out of 5 stars Great read
I really enjoy Anne's writing. Honest, imaginative and poetic. She sees the world in truly interesting ways.

5-0 out of 5 stars The BEST book to read post partum
This is the funniest book and if you read it while your pumping milk, it will
relax you because you'll be laughing...and what she describes will have just
happened to you! It got me thru those first difficult months of post partum.

6. Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith
by Anne Lamott
Paperback: 336 Pages (2006-03-28)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$2.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1594481571
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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With Anne Lamott's trademark wisdom, humor and honesty, Plan B is a spiritual antidote to anxiety and despair in our increasingly fraught times. This New York Times bestseller picks up where Traveling Mercies left off.Amazon.com Review
Few people can write about faith, parenting, and relationships as can the talented, irreverent Anne Lamott. With characteristic black humor, ("Everyone has been having a hard time with life this year; not with all of it, just the waking hours") she updates us on the ongoing mayhem of her life since Traveling Mercies, and continues to unfold her spiritual journey.

Plan B finds Lamott wrestling with mid-life hormones and weight gain while parenting Sam, now a teenager with his own set of raging hormones. Her observations cover everything from starting a Sunday school to grief over the death of her beloved dog, Sadie; lamenting the war to bitterness over her relationship with her now-departed mother.

As she tugs and pokes out the knots in a slender gold chain necklace, it becomes a metaphor for letting go and learning to forgive. "…any willingness to let go inevitably comes from pain; and the desire to change changes you, and jiggles the spirit, gets to it somehow, to the deepest, hardest, most ruined parts." It’s her willingness to show us the knotted-up, "ruined parts" of her life that make this collection of sometimes uneven essays so compelling.

"Everything feels crazy," writes Lamott, adding, "But on small patches of earth all over, I can see just as much messy mercy and grace as ever…."Lamott’s essays will serve as reminders to readers of the patches of messy mercy and grace in a chaotic world.--Cindy Crosby ... Read more

Customer Reviews (162)

5-0 out of 5 stars Faith with a realistic and humorous view
The author is honest in her faith stating her errors, doubts and where and how she applies her faith.She shows us she is human and does it through humor and downright first rate honesty.Had difficulties putting the book down.Enjoyed it thoroughly and very applicable for these difficult times.

5-0 out of 5 stars Plan B by Anne Lamott
'Plan B' by Anne Lamott is hard to put down.Each chapter stands alone, so it is an easy, fast read.The thought-provoking themes, however, are not always easy.They can be taken at face value or reflected on for a long time. Her openness about her own life makes her very non-threatening!

5-0 out of 5 stars soul searching
This book seemed more somber to me than Traveling Mercies, but once you stopped looking for the laughs it was easy to become enthralled with the writing. There should be another phrase to describe Lamott besides "down to earth," as she is that and more. Another book to buy and read again and again for the first time.

5-0 out of 5 stars Thank God for Left Wing Christians!
Anne Lamott tells it like it is!She admits to things in her books that are so real and always sees the spiritual even in the worst of situations.I admire her foibles and how she deals with them.Moreover, I admire her willingness to accept her human condition with such grace!

1-0 out of 5 stars Brainless Liberals are like roaches!
Another of the many sad and witless critics of a real President: George W.Bush.
These people have no clue about the real world and how it works.
They have no respect for the thousands who fought and died for the USA.
They would sell their birthright for a mess of angry rubbish.
GW Bush might as well be the modern Jesus - scapegoat of the common crowd.
Tory West ... Read more

7. Rosie
by Anne Lamott
Paperback: 275 Pages (1997-06-01)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$5.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0140264795
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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In Anne Lamott’s wise and witty novel, the growing pains of motherhood are portrayed with rare humor and honesty. If Elizabeth Ferguson had her way, she’d spend her days savoring good books, cooking great meals, and waiting for the love of her life to walk in the door. But it’s not a man she’s waiting for, it’s her daughter, Rosie—her wild-haired, smart-mouthed, and wise-beyond-her-years alter ego. With Rosie around, the days aren’t quite so long, but Elizabeth can’t keep the realities of the world at bay, and try as she might, she can’t shield Rosie from its dangers or mysteries. As Rosie grows older and more curious, Elizabeth must find a way to nurture her extraordinary daughter—even if it means growing up herself. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (38)

5-0 out of 5 stars excellent
I needed the book for my Book Club, and was delighted the book arrived ahead of schedule.

4-0 out of 5 stars Despair
In this somewhat autobiographical work, the author paints a sharp, poignant, and painful portrait of a widowed woman in her thirties, Elizabeth Ferguson, who, though blessed with a sharp mind and striking looks, cannot find equilibrium in her life and turns daily to the soothing, if not numbing, comforts of excessive alcohol consumption. Having grown up in a dysfunctional family - both parents being drinkers, she had managed to shove much of that into the background with her deceased husband being a pillar of strength for both her and her precocious, grade-school-age daughter Rosie. Now, she agonizes over subjecting her adorable daughter, at times wise beyond her years, to a similar unstable environment.

While the focus of the story is on Elizabeth's struggles and Rosie's swings from reproving her mother to being an apprehensive little girl, other interesting characters appear to help the situation. Rae is an upbeat, chubby, earth-mother type who is there when needed. And James, despite his faults, "gets" Elizabeth. They are both literary intellectuals to some degree, but the real issue is can she learn to trust and give herself to a man when she has so much insecurity.

The author really captures what it must be like for a person who recognizes but rationalizes his or her own self-destruction through alcohol or drug dependence. It is an understanding, but realistic, treatment: at times the picture is not pretty. It's easy to hope that Elizabeth can get it together and that Rosie can get the adult support that she needs. It's a tough world for an eight year old girl to fend for herself, as one particularly ugly incident clearly demonstrates.

Some may find the author to be unkind, or even harsh, towards Elizabeth. In fact, Elizabeth has resources that many don't: financial stability gained from her husband's death, a reflective though troubled mind, and a minimal network of friends and acquaintances. In a sense, Elizabeth is a disappointment to the author and to the reader. The basis of Elizabeth's hopelessness, concealed while married, is not particularly clear - perhaps that is the point; there is no rational explanation. Elizabeth's situation is a nightmare that we can experience from afar through this book and learn from.

5-0 out of 5 stars Anne Lammot is the best
I had to pace myself to not devour this fabulous book in 2 days. I am buying it for a friend now. All of the truths and the tiny amazing observations that are classic Anne Lammot, are just so great to read. She really does manage to say the unsayable. Loved Blue Shoe and Bird by Bird also.

4-0 out of 5 stars Definitely Worthwhile
This one was a tough one for me to get into for the first 100 pages.Once I was fully immersed, I found that the characters were what drew me in.They are all quite flawed in one way or another which comes out more and more by the end of the book.I most enjoyed reading about the mother, Elizabeth - especially her strangely sweet romantic relationship that comes up later in the story.Rosie was my first, but definitely not last, Ann Lamott novel.

5-0 out of 5 stars Book review
Excellent reading. Has some unexpected turns and one of them kind of leaves you hanging. ... Read more

8. Joe Jones: A Novel
by Anne Lamott
Paperback: 272 Pages (2003-08-05)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$1.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1593760035
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Joe Jones is Anne Lamott’s raucous novel of lives gathered around Jessie’s Cafe, "a restaurant from another era, the sort of broken-down waterfront dive one might expect to find in Steinbeck or Saroyan." Jessie, "thin, stooped and gorgeous at seventy-nine," inherited the cafe years before and it has become home to a remarkable family of characters: Louise, the cook and vortex, "sexy and sweet, somewhere on the cusp between curvaceous and fat"; Joe, devoted and unfaithful; Willie, Jessie’s gay grandson, ("I thought he just had good posture," said Jessie); Georgia, an empress dowager who never speaks; and a dozen others all living together in the sweet everyday. Lamott’s rich and timeless themes are also here: love and loyalty, loss and recovery, staying on and staying together, the power of humor to heal and to bind. Out of print for fifteen years, Joe Jones is a novel of hilarity and joy ... Read more

Customer Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars My Favorite Book.
I get the mixed reviews, honestly, but it's the imperfections that make this book grab hold of me and not let go.

I named my pet duckling JoeJones.

I love her turn of phrase, nicknames and messiness. I LOVE Jessie and Willie and Lou and Joe. Georgia!!! I ADORE Georgia!!

No joke I searched for this book for over 10 years only to find a signed copy in a teeny bookstore in Marin. Then it got put back into print, I now have 4 copies.

Buy it Imeejamow!

3-0 out of 5 stars good but not best
I am an avid Anne LaMott reader.The commentator who said they were off to read ROSIE will NOT be disappointed.That is an extraordinary book.Although I enjoyed these characters they didn't have the usual depth of LaMott's characters.They were all full of flaws, yes, but I didn't actually believe how they felt about each other.And I could find little in me that even liked Joe Jones.I would've rather seen Louise in a book all by herself.Anyway - I am not swayed from my love of LaMott and her work but this wasn't my fave and I certainly don't reccommend it to forst time readers of her work.Do not stop go - go directly to ROSIE.

5-0 out of 5 stars It's a wonderful book, another gem for the collection
In the introduction, Lamott thanks Jane Vanderburgh(sp?) for lending an editing hand to Joe Jones, published a long time ago.Having read the original and liked its quirky, flawed movements, I am now absolutely savoring this rewrite.It is a full novel, rounded and studded with unforgettable characters like the elderly Jessie (the car driving scene - the long one - isi sidesplittingly funny), the romantic but wise Lou, and of course the charming and lovely young Willie, whom we all know out there somewhere, the eternal boy-man.Oh it's all pure delight. Fey to the naysayers!A perfect read for the intelligent reader who doesnt need a Hollywood plot or a pat ending.I will not,howvever, be satisfied until Anne writes a sequel to Rae's character in Rosie.We need the Rae book, Annie!We honestly do.All hail Lamott, writer for women (and men)who think.

5-0 out of 5 stars Imperfect world -
Anne Lamott captures imperfect people in our imperfect world beautifully in this novel.Readers who think Lamott has left them bereft of plot aren't paying attention.The title character's imperfections construct the plot for us.This books is about loving someone despite it all.
Joe Jones is flawed, and does not realize his shortcomings, making those that genuinely care about him the central characters.I found great strength and hope in Louise - she was more physically and spiritually beautiful by the end of this novel than I ever expected.Louise also teaches us by example.Faith and inner strength are not attributes bestowed one time that last forever.They falter, need to be replenished, and are questioned daily, hourly for each of us.I think we forget that sometimes.
I always find guidance in Lamott's writings - snippets and phrases that bolster me and comfort me."Joe Jones" is no different - the memorable phrase from this being "It's just so time-consuming being me."

2-0 out of 5 stars Dissappointed at best
After reading Bird by Bird and Operating Instructions, I was thrilled to start on Joe Jones.
I've been terribly dissapointed by a flimsy beginning, void of storyline. I've labored through the belly of the book and now find myself wondering whether I'll ever finish it. (doubtful)
I still have faith in Anne Lammott so I'll be trying out "Rosie"... it's hard to imagine that the writer who put out Bird by Bird and made me think and wonder and laugh out loud could have written this boring story where none of the characters mean a thing to me.
oh well I guess we're all entitled to bad moments. My advice? don't read this one if you appreciate her work, it might put you off her completely. ... Read more

9. Hard Laughter: A Novel
by Anne Lamott
Paperback: 304 Pages (1979-04-15)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$1.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0865472807
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Anne Lamott's poignant first novel, reissued in an attractive new edition.

Writer (and sometime housecleaner) Jennifer is twenty-three when her beloved father, Wallace, is diagnosed with a brain tumor. This catastrophic discovery sets off Anne Lamott's unexpectedly sweet and funny first novel, which is made dramatic not so much by Wallace's illness as by the emotional wake it sweeps under Jen and her brothers, self-contained Ben and feckless, lovable Randy. With characteristic affection and accuracy, Lamott sketches this offbeat family and their nearest and dearest as they draw ever closer in the intimacy Jen prizes "among the other estimable things: good music, good hard laughter, good sex, good industry, and good books."
... Read more

Customer Reviews (28)

1-0 out of 5 stars Nothing to laugh about
This story should be poignant, as it deals with the death of a loved one. Unfortunately, it is just annoying. I didn't chuckle once while reading it. The writing was lackluster and reminded me of "Joe Jones," another of Lamott's early novels. Truly forgettable. Skip this turkey.

3-0 out of 5 stars Hard Laughter
I liked Anne's later books better than this one.Although I appreciate the depth of vulnerability she reveals, the lead character is a little too dark and twistyin this, which is kind of ironic given the title.

5-0 out of 5 stars Lovely, Funny, Comforting... my favorite book ever.
I could not believe some of the negative reviews I read about this book.I normally never write reviews but I had to put in my two cents to counter the negativity.I do believe that this book is not for everyone, but for me, it resonates with such truth and clarity that it makes me smile every time I think of a passage.True, there is less in the way of plots than most books, but the plot that exists is very similar to real life, and the characters are like my own family.It is witty and well-timed, and gives those of us who sometimes question our sanity an answer: yes, there are others out there like you.The main character, Jen, copes with her father's illness in a very real and human way.All too often characters in books that are faced with a life altering situation such as a father's cancer face it in ways you can never imagine yourself doing:being full of grace, honorable, constantly patient.Jen faces it just the way I would: full of terror, trying to maintain a normal life in the meantime, and with as much humor as she can muster.It is a beautiful story, and I wish I could be friends with the characters.The verses are as comforting to me as a bible is to a devoutly religious person.It reminds me of the good things in life "love, laughter, sex, music and avocados", as one of the characters writes.The sweet, funny interactions between the family members remind me of my own family and give me the urge to call them.The anecdotes seem like something out of my own life, but told with a great deal more humor and perfect timing.I cannot recommend this book enough.It was moving and fun and I re-read it at least once every couple of months.Definitely the best of Anne Lamott's so far.I encourage everyone to read it!

4-0 out of 5 stars Real life just is what it is...
Ok...so Lamott's approach might be a little "random" here, but I valueher candid honesty. Most of us would never get that transparent and reflective about our most important relationships and how what happens in them shapes our lives - not only because of them, but in spite of them. I appreciate how this author lets us see, through her gifted prose, how she thinks and evolves from this very first write to her very latest. She was a disaster waiting to happen, but has much to teach us (further evidenced in her subsequent books) about a God who is there, is not silent, and works with us right where we really live. Her wacky poignant out-of-the-box humor filters for us the tough stuff of real life so we too might look at it more thoughtfully - or so that we might be able to look at it at all."

4-0 out of 5 stars Anne doesn't disappoint
I'll admit, I'm a huge Anne Lamott fan, but this was the only book of hers that I hadn't read until now (I know, I'm about 20 years late). But I wasn't let down, even though it was her first published novel.

I've had my share of family medical scares, including one of my own, and it was amazing at how dead-on Anne illustrates the emotions that people go through in times of crisis. My family is similar to the one in the book, in that we truly exercise the "laughter is the best medicine" mantra. But sometimes you just can't laugh at the face of a horrible disease like cancer ... and sometimes you have to just to survive. That's what this book is all about.

Some people might read this and think, "What was the point?" I read it and thought, "Wow. Anne just gets human emotion and writes about it superbly." This book is basically a commentary about life and death, why bad things happen to good people, etc., told through stories about the family in the book, and it's very autobiographical.

It's not my favorite Lamott book, but it's definitely at the top of the list. ... Read more

10. Bird by Bird
by Anne Lamott
Paperback: Pages (1995-10-01)
-- used & new: US$11.92
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B001IC55ZE
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars 5 stars does not do this place justice
Amazon is the only place I shop. So when I saw I needed a book for college class that the school forgot to include when I was there I went right online. I had this book within DAYS... Literal days... This place was the FASTEST I have ever worked with and I frequently get books... Thanks ... Read more

11. All New People
by Anne Lamott
Paperback: 166 Pages (1999-12-17)
list price: US$13.95 -- used & new: US$0.24
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1582430543
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
With generosity, humor, and pathos, Anne Lamott takes onthe barrage of dislocating changes that shook the Sixties. Leading usthrough the wake of these changes is Nanny Goodman, one small girlliving in Marin County, California.

A half-adult child among often childish adults, Nanny grows up withtwo spectacularly odd parents-a writer father and a mother who is "aconstant source of material." As she moves into her adolescence, so,it seems, does America. While grappling with her own coming-of-age,Nanny witnesses an entire culture's descent into drugs, the massexodus of fathers from her town, and rapid real-estate andtechnological development that foreshadow a drastically differentfuture.

In All New People, Anne Lamott works a special magic,transforming failure into forgiveness and illuminating the power oflove to redeem us. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (12)

4-0 out of 5 stars All New People
The book was very similar to Lamotts Travelin Mercies....only fictionalzed. It was sad and sweet and in some parts you were left kind of hanging...not sure what was meant or felt. Then again, Anne Lamott does that to you. She challenges you to branch out in your way of thinking. It was a good read.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not Traditional Anne, but Still Good.
This book is somewhat different than Lamott's other work, but I still enjoyed it thoroughly. It is about a girl named Nanny and her family and the sixties. It reads like a memoir, and my guess is it has very much basis in the reality that is the author's life. The narration has a very stream-of-consciousness feel to it, and covers a lot for such a quick read. I loved the way of storytelling--Nanny tells the story straight through the emotional center of the things that happen. Anyone who ever had a childhood will enjoy everything in this book. Even if that childhood wasn't in the sixties.

5-0 out of 5 stars Anne, You're da bomb!!!
I've read all of Anne's books and this one is as good as or better than the best.Anne is the Queen of all writers of all time!Nobody does it better.She has a sense of humor like no other woman I've ever known, and it shines through in this book.The line from which the title comes is suberb---and now a part of our family lingo."In a hundred years, all new people!"I love it!!!Thanks, Anne, for sharing your sparkling wit and unique family with us. I can't wait to read your new one coming out this year, "Blue Shoe".

4-0 out of 5 stars Thinly Disguised Nonfiction
I've read all Lamott's nonfiction and fallen in love with her wit, honesty, and spiritual searching.I approached this first fictional experience wondering if her personality and style would show through.The answer: Yes.

I couldn't help but feel I was reading one of Lamott's nonfiction pieces, actually recognizing characters, quotes, and anecdotes from her own life.This is inevitable in any fiction, I suppose, but Anne's style is so unique and strong that it was somewhat distracting to me.

I do intend to try another of her fictional works--I'll read anything of hers I can get my hands on.She is poignant without being melodramatic, funny without being insulting.I love Lamott's writing; in general, though, I think I prefer to read her real life experiences.

5-0 out of 5 stars Anne Lamott is amazing!
I think that Anne Lamott is one of the most amazing writers of our time! I have read everything she has ever written, both fiction and non-fiction and have always eagerly awaited her next book! I only wish that Oprah would discover her and then the rest of the world can find out what they have been missing! I know Anne has a devoted, loyal following but she deserves to be a best-selling author! All New People was the first book of Anne's that I read and I discovered it completely by accident when I picked it up in the bookstore one day. Her characters are so real and funny and ALL of her books ALWAYS make me laugh and cry! I feel as if I know her characters and her as well. I have recommended her books to all the readers I know and I hope EVERYONE reads her books someday! Anne,your books are wonderful ! ... Read more

12. Crooked Little Heart: A Novel
by Anne Lamott
Paperback: 326 Pages (1998-05-18)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$2.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385491808
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
With the same winning combination of humor and honesty that marked her recent nonfiction bestsellers, Operating Instructions and Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott's new novel gives us an exuberant, richly absorbing portrait of a family for whom the joys and sorrows of everyday life are magnified under the glare of the unexpected.

Rosie Ferguson, in the first bloom of young womanhood, is obsessed with tournament tennis. Her mother is a recovering alcoholic still grieving the death of her first husband; her stepfather, a struggling writer, is wrestling with his own demons. And now Rosie finds that her athletic gifts, once a source of triumph and escape, place her in peril, as a shadowy man who stalks her from the bleachers seems to be developing an obsession of his own.

Crooked Little Heart asks big questions in intimate ways: What keeps a family together? What are the small heartbreaks that tear at the fabric of our lives? What happens to grief when it goes underground? And what road must we walk with our flawed and crooked hearts?

Brilliantly written, inhabited by superbly realized characters, funny and human and wonderfully suspenseful, Crooked Little Heart is Anne Lamott writing at the peak of her considerable powers.Amazon.com Review
At 13, Rosie plays a gangly, pigeon-toed second fiddle to herjuicy, sexy friend Simone. The two are junior tennis champs who oftencart home trophies. But driven by the gnawing fear that she's a loser,Rosie starts to cheat. Meantime, boy-crazy Simone dabbles in off-courtdisaster. Up in the bleachers a weird loner named Luther obsessivelyfollows Rosie's games, while at home her mother wrestles her owndemons. Anne Lamott (OperatingInstructions) has turned in a fair depiction of the blood andbones of adolescence that's thankfully leavened by sharp humor andtranscendent moments. The novel is uneven and heavy-handed at times,but often rewarding. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (62)

2-0 out of 5 stars sorry i don't agree
I have enjoyed Anne Lamott on local radio and looked forward to reading her novel. It was very frustrating. Rosie and her issues rang true and were well written, couldn't really stand most of the other charachters. Especially long drawn out descriptions of James and Elizabeth marital issues. Sheesh felt a great waste of my time. Would have been a great short story

4-0 out of 5 stars A coming of age story that is just a little crooked . . . which makes it ring as true
A friiend of mine turnedme om to Anne Lamott and I am so gratteful. A very quirky story line is matched with a poet`s ability to express a common experience with an uncoomon clarity and brilliance. Ms. Lamottcrafts a story, that on it's face is about two teenage tennis progidies, which, if that was all it was would never have engaged me for more than a few pages.

The book is much more about how people confront the ordinary and the extraordinary cries of their lives.Annie Lamott uses the vehicle of common and ordinary to reflecton experiences with which any reader can identify. the reader becomes ally, protagonist, hero, and victim asthis story unfolds. We have all been there and done that, which is what makes me care about and understand these characters.

5-0 out of 5 stars "Crying withheld feels sometimes like dying..."
I really loved this book, mostly because I could empathize with Rosie's middle school angst and insecurites. But I also admire (and envy) Lamott's writing in general - she creates beautiful phrases such as "it was so hot that the only things moving outside were the crickets and the anorexics" and "the sun smelled warm, like laundry in the dryer, like melting yellow crayons." Her writing startles me sometimes, so I have to stop and reread.I would never think to associate melting yellow crayons with the sun, for example...but the comparison makes perfect sense.

Simone, Rosie's best friend, wasn't one of my favorite characters at first, but her story turned out to be heartbreaking, and I was genuinely sad for her. I can still see her sitting on the bench with Rosie, waiting for Jason. Collapsed dreams, humiliation, and the double standard all follow - as usual, the male is not castigated by society. The male is not kicked out of the country club.

I liked Rae, Rosie's mom's best friend, the successful artist. When teased for her religious views, I was so proud of Rosie for defending her, reminding everyone that America "was founded on the principle of religious freedom," and no one should trivialize a woman's deepest feelings.

I also liked Luther, the mysterious observer at the tennis tournaments. I thought he was creepy at first, but he paid attention to Rosie when no one else did (her mother might be spacing out as she retreats into the past, and her stepfather might be checking his messages). Luther helped her, was there for her, so Rosie was never alone during a game.

"Too bad about the hair.." - when Rosie's coach said this to her (upon seeing Rosie's newly shorn head), it only confirmed my belief that he's sexist, that his voice echoes a society which regards hair as something that defines women, gives them value, forms stereotypes.Alas, Simone had glorious hair, and look what happened to her...her value appeared to decline in the end.

When a woman chops off most of her hair, it is one of the most liberating things in the world. I wish I'd gotten rid of mine when I was Rosie's age, instead of waiting until I was 24.

5-0 out of 5 stars Growth experience for mother & daughter
This is a wonderful sequel to "Rosie" by LaMott, but stands well on its own. It's a "coming of age" genre.

2-0 out of 5 stars Kept thinking it would get better...It didn't.
It took me about 6 weeks to finish this book.I usually finish a book I like in about 2-3 days, but I just couldn't get into this one.I kept thinking it would get better...It didn't.I read one other Anne Lamott novel and never finished it.Since so many readers had raved about this book, I decided to keep reading to see why it was so highly praised.The other reason I kept reading was because it seemed like there was something dark in Elizabeth's past that was lurking and waiting to come to the surface, but I didn't feel like this ever really got explained.It seemed like the storyline kept building up and up, and then just sort of fizzled out.I sort of cared about Rosie, more toward the end then at any other time.I barely cared (if at all) about her mother, Elizabeth.There were some good descriptions and some wonderfully poetic passages, but they didn't make up for the lack of care that I felt for the characters.I cared more about the supporting characters (Lank, Rae, and Charles) than I did about the developed main characters.I really disliked some of the comparisons/similes that the author made; especially the ones about likening the characters to birds.Since I tried to read two Anne Lamott books and didn't like either of them, maybe I just don't like her writing in general.From the looks of many of these comments, she seems to have lots of fans that love her writing!I'm just not one of them. ... Read more

13. Traveling Mercies
by Anne Lamott
Hardcover: Pages (1999-04-06)
list price: US$23.00 -- used & new: US$19.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375408800
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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From the bestselling author of Operating Instructions and Bird by Bird comes a chronicle of faith and spirituality that is at once tough, personal, affectionate, wise and very funny.

With an exuberant mix of passion, insight, and humor, Anne Lamott takes us on a journey through her often troubled past to illuminate her devout but quirky walk of faith. In a narrative spiced with stories and scripture, with diatribes, laughter, and tears, Lamott tells how, against all odds, she came to believe in God and then, even more miraculously, in herself. She shows us the myriad ways in which this sustains and guides her, shining the light of faith on the darkest part of ordinary life and exposing surprising pockets of meaning and hope.

Whether writing about her family or her dreadlocks, sick children or old friends, the most religious women of her church of the men she's dated, Lamott reveals the hard-won wisdom gathered along her path to connectedness and liberation. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Christian Growth
Anne Lamont has a great sense of humor as she writes about her growth in faith as it comes about despite her drug addiction, her dysfunctional childhood, and her struggles as a single parent.A quick read witkh lots of food for thought.

5-0 out of 5 stars Traveling Mercies
Absolutely hilarious take on life and it's many different paths.A great read! ... Read more

14. Finding God When You Don't Believe in God: Searching for a Power Greater Than Yourself
by Jack Erdmann, Larry Kearney
Paperback: 175 Pages (2003-05-15)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$3.03
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1568389833
Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

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Here is an opportunity to listen in on fascinating conversations with people who found God when they didn't really want to and weren't even looking. Through a series of deeply personal interviews with individuals from different walks of life, the authors conduct a captivating discourse on discovering a "higher power." The interview subjects are not proselytizers, nor are they interested in comparing spiritual states. Their stories are neither tidy nor definitive. What they offer, however, is a remarkable, refreshing, and ultimately satisfying mosaic on the meaning and manifestation of God. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

1-0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected
This book is not written by Anne Lamont.It has a FORWARD (2 pages) by Anne Lamont.I found the focus of the book to be on recovery, which is a kind of spirituality, but not something that works for everybody.Didn't work for me.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not Preachy at All
I spent the day in my backyard reading, meditating, and enjoying the breeze.I found this book just the ticket to inspire my own thoughts and dialogues with God.I was not a disbeliever...I'd just lost my relationship somewhere along life's journey.My shoulders were exhausted from carrying the load myself, but I wasn't sure how to re-connect with God so he can help carry the load.Somehow today...I managed to do just that.

This book doesn't preach.

It is what it is.A book of interviews w/ various people who have managed to connect w/ God after all kinds of odds.

It's poetic in nature and I found myself cheering with several featured writers as I identified with their challenges and triumphs.

If you're not sure where to turn, if the church seems like a waste of time, or you just want to listen to someone else's life for awhile...give this book a glance.I read it cover to cover in one day...and it helped me change my outlook on many things in my own life. ... Read more

15. Architecture of the Novel: A Writer's Handbook
by Jane Vandenburgh
Paperback: 240 Pages (2010-08-17)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$9.40
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1582435979
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Jane Vandenburgh, the author of two highly acclaimed novels and a recent memoir, offers aspiring writers the tools to create powerful and unique novels filled not only with good writing but also dynamic storytelling.
Architecture of the Novel is an ambitious blueprint for writers, one that reveals the underlying machinery that propels a plot that is dynamic, coherent, and interesting.
Architecture of the Novel derives from the many years Vandenburgh has spent teaching the craft of fiction writing. Her method points to the elemental nature of narrative: A story consists of its events, which are told in scenes. These scenes naturally place themselves along the arc of the story in an order that provides suspense and mystery, drawing characters toward the inevitability of their fictive destinies.
Profoundly practical yet encouraging to writers at all levels, Architecture of the Novel offers the maps and mechanics to successfully guide writers toward the story that must be told.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

Basically, there are two different approaches to generating the preliminary draft of a novel: Top Down and Bottom Up.

The top-down approach begins with a one-sentence statement of what the novel is about; expanding the sentence to a paragraph that describes the major events and the end; sketching each of the major characters; listing the scenes;and synopsizing in a 1000-word or longer essay.All of these steps must be completed before beginning to write the first draft. This is the approach urged in numerous fiction-craft books by authors who themselves write novels in genres such as mystery and thriller: The Weekend Novelist by Robert J Ray; and How to Write a Damn Good Thriller: A Step-by-Step Guide for Novelists and Screenwriters by James N Frey. (See my amazon reviews of these two books.)

Craft books by novelists who write in the literary genre are far fewer. The defining emphasis of this genre is character-and-language driven story, for which the bottom-up approach often works better. It calls for beginning with characters in a scene fragment; developing the fragment into a full scene; and then growing the scene into a sequence of scenes. In ARCHITECTURE OF THE NOVEL: A WRITER'S HANDBOOK, Jane Vandenburgh warns: "All of the other how-to books will programmatically fail you [she does not use the terms top-down or bottom-up]: The rules regarding the construction of our books are, of necessity, wrong for you because your book is individual.. . . A narrative design emerges in one way only, and this is in tandem with its use. We call this architecture, in which structure is shaped to fit its purpose and its use. To the degree this architecture is successful, we find the shape and its narrative beautiful" (pages 11-12). Strident tone, but she's right. Many literary writers such as Michael Ondaatje and Anne Lamott loathe synopsizing in advance and look forward to being surprised by the twists and turns that emerge in the process of drafting.

In the foreword, Anne Lamott extols: "'Architecture of the Novel' is a book after my own heart, rich in paradoxes and yet wonderfully plain, with an insistence on structure and discipline. It is also a call to freedom. . . . On how to listen as the story and its characters reveal themselves to us, how to soar as a novelist while keeping simple and real, almost make me want to write another novel." Vandenburgh cites Lamott'sBird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life -- in particular her widely anthologized essay on writing the first draft. The explicit adjective Lamott uses to characterize a typical first draft was censored in this review by Amazon as a profanity. Vandenburgh merrily uses the allegedly profane phrase and bestows on it the initialism SFD. Also cited are quotes from other novel-craft books such asE M Forster's Aspects of the Novel and James Wood's How Fiction Works to support her approach.

The second half of the book comprises a glossary of "evolving definitions of the tools and concepts I've found useful and necessary in thinking about the longer narrative" (p 165). For example: "Fractal Nature of the Narrative: A story resembles a mountain in its regular irregularity. A story grows by its own similarly shaped increments: These are its episodes. This is to say it will have the feeling of evolving rather than of being manufactured -- that of the conch shell or leaf rather than of the car being mass-produced on the assembly line" (p 243).

In the capacious glossary, Vandenburgh includes examples from recent films like "Slumdog Millionaire" (p 176) andJames Cameron's "Avatar" (p 250). Drawing on the latter film, Vandenburgh presents an update on the "show, don't tell" mantra:"We strive always, as novelists, to write in a manner that allows our readers to enter the scene. We want the narrator equivalent of the IMAX 3D experience, an enhanced sense of depth that the technology provides by what the film director James Cameron calls depth cues....What is successfully rendered in good 3-D film is the sense that -- as viewer -- we haptically occupy the time and place, as a physical space, in which the narrative is occurring" (p 214).

What about combining elements of top-down and bottom-up approaches? Two recent novel-craft books that do so: The Fire in Fictionby Donald Maass and Is Life Like This?: A Guide to Writing Your First Novel in Six Months by John Dufresne. (See my reviews of these two books on amazon.com)

ARCHITECTURE OF THE NOVEL: A WRITER'S HANDBOOK presents a bottom-up paradigm for generating, organically, the first draft of a literary novel. Highly recommended for MFA programs.
-- C. J. Singh ... Read more

16. Word by Word
by Anne Lamott
Audio CD: 3 Pages (2004-06-01)
list price: US$29.95 -- used & new: US$29.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1880717573
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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1997 Audie Award winner for country's Best Educational/How-to/Instructional Audiobook.Provocative and witty, Anne Lamott takes you beyond her book Bird by Bird. Good writing, she says, slows you down, opens your heart and arrives through your fingers, knowing what it's about. Learn how to keep things simple and how to write honestly about family and friends as you listen to this inspiring, live performance. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Love this!
These are GREAT CDs! Lots of useful, funny and motivational stuff to listen to! Anne Lamott is both witty and smart, and she really delivers with this seminar! Gives you the nuts and bolts info you're looking for, like how many words make up a manuscript page, how to find a publisher, etc. But in addition, she tells hilarious writing stories and also delves into the writer's mind and life - exposes a lot of things that we all feel but don't talk about because we're afraid that we're the only ones!! She is a great speaker and I HIGHLY recommend this seminar for writers who are looking for both a how-to as well as a motivational tool! Great stuff!

5-0 out of 5 stars Best tapes ever
Anne Lamott's Word by Word is the only tape that I listen to over and over. I hear helpful advice and suggestions every time. I keep them in the car, and when I have a break, listen again. I can dip into them at any point and be delighted. I'm sooo grateful to have these tapes. She has kept me writing when I was most discouraged -- as she says, If you're willing to make enough phone calls, you can always find someone who isn't as depressed as you are. These tapes make Anne my companion on the Writing Road.

1-0 out of 5 stars Didn't enjoy this
I don't usually write reviews, but I think buyers should be aware that this recording has little to do with Lamott's very good book, 'Bird by Bird'. These tapes are self-help tapes, like Julia Cameron's stuff. I was disappointed and a little bit annoyed. The box even says 'Writer's Audio Shop' on the front--very misleading. I say read the bird book and pass on these supposed 'word' lectures. Sorry Anne.

1-0 out of 5 stars 2% writing advice, 98% self absorption and psycho-babble
2% writing advice, 98% self absorption and psycho-babble. If your primary interest is self help for the compulsive, addicted etc. - this is the book for you; if you are looking for writing advice try John Gardner.

5-0 out of 5 stars Word By Delightful Word
Listening to anne lamott lecture is like taking a refreshing cool bath on the hottest day of the year; it quenches the soul.Additionally, her wonderfully gritty voice doles out practical writing advice with sturdy handles, the kind you literally cannot get from any oridinary seminar. Much of this tape is subsumed within her bestselling book, Bird By Bird,yet there is plenty that is unique to Word By Word to make it well worththe price; not the least of which is hearing the poem which Anne's dogSadie wrote to her, wherein Sadie ponders the question:'Should she (theauthor) really be driving?' Hilarious and poignant as ever, Lamott mixes upwry asides with text from her writing manual, and makes everythingdifficult seem worth undertaking.All in all, a generous illumination andexpansion of several classic Lamott topics; hearing her say it in her ownwords brings it crackling to life.Writing is hard work, but with Anne atyour side, it's a shared journey. ... Read more

17. Operating Instructions - A Journal of My Son's First Year
by Anne Lamott
 Paperback: Pages (1993)

Isbn: 044990928X
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18. Blue Shoe
by Anne Lamott
Paperback: 336 Pages (2003-09-02)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$0.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1573223425
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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The NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER from the beloved author of Bird by Bird and Traveling Mercies.

A funny, warm, and wise novel about family and forgiveness from an author acclaimed as "nothing short of miraculous" (The New Yorker).Amazon.com Review
One of the few progressive Christian writers with a national voice, Anne Lamott's work (Bird by Bird, Operating Instructions) ranges from the meditative to the hilarious.Blue Shoe falls somewhere in the middle of that range.A slow, thoughtful novel, rooted in the domestic routines of child-raising, Blue Shoe follows the newly separated Mattie Ryder as she moves back into her childhood home, recently vacated by her elderly mother, and undertakes the renovation of her entire life.Her best friendAngela has left the San Francisco Bay area to move in with her new lover,Julie.Mattie's ex-husband, Nicky, has settled so quickly into a steadyrelationship with a young woman named Lee that it is clear they wereinvolved during his marriage to Mattie.Nicky and Mattie's two children aredisplaying signs of emotional disturbance (Lamott is at her best indescribing the quietly weird behavior of young children).And to add to themix, Mattie's mother is falling into a senile dementia characterized bypleading phone calls and wacky assertions of independence.All Mattie wantsis a little more money, a decent boyfriend, and for her philandering fatherto rise from his grave and solve all her problems.Is that so much to ask? Some of the action in this novel could have been compressed, and the majorsubplot involving Mattie's father fails to excite, but the strengths ofBlue Shoe--humor, unflinching characterization, and keenobservation--more than compensate for its weaknesses.--ReginaMarler ... Read more

Customer Reviews (99)

5-0 out of 5 stars A great story about imperfect people
This is such a great book, so many human observations that are true, I loved that the people in it were not perfect. The people that disliked this book are (???) maybe perfect or judgemental, but Lamott describes imperfections with such empathy. I want to read this book again. Loved it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Here's to Life!
Lamott has written an endearing story about the wreckage and treasures of life. Set in a California coastal town, the novel depicts the life of Mattie; recently divorced and struggling to maintain sanity in a family that redefines what it is to be sane.I came to this novel by happenstance, or so I thought. While entertaining guest one weekend a friend of a friend immediately recognized the novel while perusing my library.He went on to tell me what a good friend Lamott is and I shared with him how one of her earlier books, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, convinced me to start writing a novel (now I need something to motivate me to finish it :-) ).The very next day, I started "Blue Shoe" and it's taken me two months to finish it.

Early on in the novel we realize the complexities of Mattie's life.She's raising young children who are coping with the divorce of their parents and she's dealing with the challenges of caring for an aging, ailing mother.As the novel progresses, life only gets more complicated. As she tries to build a life without her ex secrets are revealed that provide greater insight into her parents' marriage and her childhood.Just when things appear to settle a bit, life keeps on marching and adding complexities that demand her attention if not resolution.Her ex remarries and starts another family, her mother's health continues to deteriorate, the children are getting older, she has to take on more work to make ends meet, two romantic relationships are formed - one gives her something to do, the other gives her something to hope for - old friendships endure, faith sustains; and Lamott steers us through it all like an expert guide on a tour through the natural habitat of the human life.

I especially enjoyed the sense of community created throughout the story. People helping and leaning on people is pervasive.Also prominent is the author's appreciation for nature and one's connectedness to it."The world outside the window was in flames" the novel opens."The leaves on the pistachio trees shone fire-red and orange.Mattie studies the early morning light". This opening provides an early glance of the landscape that unfolds as the seasons and Mattie's life change.Anchoring Mattie and the novel is the ever present spirit of God (without the fire and brimstone)."Blue Shoe" is a solid read.So why did it take me so long to get through it? Timing. Although if you believe that there's a divine order to things as I often do; or that there are no coincidences in life as the reason for my reading "Blue Shoe" has revealed to me; then its certainly timing that made this a slow read.

As the complexities of my own life was taking hold - a long weekend with my new grandbaby, doing the work of two at the office, behind with visits to my aging mom - I found myself leaning on a friend for help.My friend came to the rescue with a friend who saw the novel in my library and had a connection to it through the author; so I read it and Mattie's life reminded me of mine. What I needed at the time was a little escape from my life; "Blue Shoe" connected me to it. And yes, it took a couple of months of resistance to realize that.So if you're looking for an escape from life I don't know that this read will float your boat because it all about life; the beauty, the mess, the love, and the loss. I've always read as a means of connecting so I shouldn't be surprised that the escape route only brought me face to face with me."Blue Shoe" is a very good read and depending on where you are on the wheel of life, it could be a great one.Enjoy!

5-0 out of 5 stars how did Anne Lamott get inside my head?
Anne Lamott has written so much that I can easily identify with. Her books have gotten me through many a rough patch with the one-liners or paragraphs about grace despite ourselves. This time she seems to have poured every speck of honesty, every miserable nuance and tiny flaw, every neurotic thought and self-loathing mantra into one character.
Every time the character Mattie looks in the mirror and sees her wrinkles, her extra weight, her grey hair; every time she does something that she'll regret in order to block out pain; every time she knows her path is not the most stable yet keeps to it - I see myself. And I strongly suspect that Mattie mirrors more people than would like to admit it.
A+ again to Anne Lamott.

2-0 out of 5 stars 2 and 1/2 Stars
I've heard a lot of good things about Anne Lamott. This is the first book I've read by her and it was okay but not great. She has a rather rambling style of writing and as she meanders about, seems to have some keen insights. I did grow weary of the main character's complaining but she did bring out observations about the human dilemma of caring for our children and our aging parents. I had problems with her rationalization of the main character's moral behavior as well.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of my favorites of all time
I am surprised by the bad reviews of this book as it is one of my favorites of all time! The wit and metaphor contained in the passages show the scope of Ms. Lamott's talent, and the flow of the writing is more poetic and lyrical than almost any other contemporary author today. I disagree with the reviewers that said they found the characters in this book and plot to be flat and boring: the story was so brimming with subtext, I felt a contstant tug on my heartstrings, and I genuinely felt the heartache and frustration of Mattie. You truly felt for her dealing with an aging, often abusive mother who can no longer take care of herself, while her children simultaneously act out after her divorce. Then there's the brimming on-again-off-again love affair that goes unrealized at first because both she and her new beau can't bring themselves to love fully again, and I found this to be particularly suspenseful! In the end, Mattie's life begins to blossom after all the frustration and low-grade depression she's been stuck in for so long and so does her new relationship. The tenderness of this transformational moment is so moving it brought me to tears! I was unable to put this book down and finished it in three days. Needless to say, I am now a fan of Anne Lamott's work for life. ... Read more

19. What Would You Do If You Had No Fear? Living Your Dreams While Quakin' in Your Boots
by Diane Conway
Paperback: 160 Pages (2004-11-09)
list price: US$12.95 -- used & new: US$4.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1930722427
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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For this book, author Diane Conway approached a police officer, a waitress, a politician, a lawyer, a cab driver, and many others, and asked them each the same question: "What would you do if you had no fear?" The results, chronicled in this book, were both surprising and enlightening. Her respondents told her their secrets, their long-hidden dreams, and their fears. Their dreams included quitting mind-numbing jobs, applying to medical school, buying tickets to South America, finding true love, quitting drinking, or having an affair. The distance between dreaming and doing, according to Conway, is surprisingly short. In What Would You Do If You Had No Fear? her fresh voice and "Studs Terkel in drag persona" challenge readers to stop, open their hearts, and truly live. Included are self-tests, quizzes, growth exercises, and inspiring quotes for realizing one's fear-free potential. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Loved It
Just what I needed to refocus and prioritize after 20 years in the same job.This was an instant sabbatical for me.Gave me the energy boost I needed to move forward.

5-0 out of 5 stars a better way to challenge yourself!
This book is fantastic in pushing us all to our very limits, posing the best of the best "what if" questions, and ecouraging us to act on them!So much fun to read, dream, and answer with action-- what would you do if you had no fear???

3-0 out of 5 stars What would You do I you had no fear?
A light delightful read that offers hope to those who feel caught in a life of few choices. It's a basic follow-your-heart advice manual which also questions how much one depends on money for happiness.

3-0 out of 5 stars Inspiration: yes; Substance: no
A magazine article prompted me to buy this book. Conway's humor's engaging, and the anecdotes are inspiring. But the book stops there.

Each section is headed with an aspect of the title's question:

*What would you do [if you had no fear]?
*Who would you be [if you had no fear]?
*Where would you go [if you had no fear]?

Your answers are likely to be:
...I would do/make/be/write/create ____, if I had ____.
...I would go to ____, except that I don't have _____.
...I would be a ____, if I'd ever gotten to ____ like I wanted to, all those years ago before ____.

And you are left hanging with your answers. Conway does inspire you to rekindle your desires, but she doesn't help you deal with the rationalizations standing in your way.

[For that, honestly, I'd suggest Laura Berman Fortgang's "Living Your Best Life."]

Conway often alludes to what occurs in her seminars. So the reader (or at least this reader) is left to wonder whether the seminars have the same content as the book, or whether they have more meat to them--and if so, why isn't that in this book?

5-0 out of 5 stars Inspirational!
This book gives hope and inspiration to many who wish to change or break through a fear.I enjoyed every story and could in some way relate to them all. Ms. Conway has a refreshing and witty way of writing and look forward to her next book!! I recommend this as a gift to someone that needs a little boost. ... Read more

20. Imperfect Birds -by Anne Lamott
by Penguin Audio [Unabridged]
Audio CD: Pages (2010)
-- used & new: US$27.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B003OTE6I6
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Product Description
Unabridged CDs, 8 CDs, 10 hoursA powerful and redemptive novel of love and family, from the author of the bestselling Blue Shoe, Grace (Eventually), and Operating Instructions. ... Read more

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