Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith

( 29 )

Overview

"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.

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Overview

"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.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Anne Lamott knows that faith isn't easy: "I wish grace and healing were more abracadabra kinds of things," she writes, "that delicate silver bells would ring to announce grace's arrival. But no, it's clog and slog and scotch, on the floor, in silence, in the dark." In this new collection of essays, the author of Plan B grapples with problems of faith as they pop up in unexpected places, including an unpleasant carpet transaction and her changing relationship with her son. As always, Lamott's insightful reflections are infused with candor and her signature self-deprecating wit. A spiritual treasure in any season.
The Washington Post
It's the rare author who can write about faith without coming off like a preachy zealot or over-earnest schoolmarm. Lamott's self-deprecating stories are refreshingly frank and endearingly fun.
Los Angeles Times
There's no one quite like Anne Lamott. ... She manages to suggest that she's your ally, the funny best friend who knows instinctively that you've had these troubles, too. And perhaps that's why readers continue to find something fresh in everything she has to say.
San Francisco Chronicle
She's a wonderful writer, and very funny ... the imaginative imagery, the telling metaphors, the clever turns of phrase imbued with passion, heart and wit.
The Seattle Times
She observes her world with honed humor-and without a whiff of deceit or concealment. ... This is a Christian even an atheist could still respect in the morning.
Chicago Sun-Times
Lamott has chronicled her wacky and (sometimes) wild adventures in faith in ... the wonderful Grace (Eventually).
Cleveland Plain Dealer
Lamott has a knack for describing something that seems paradoxically true and startling, because no one has put it quite the same before.
Rocky Mountain News
In detailing her struggles as a flawed human to embody her Christian faith, Lamott may have found a subject that can inexhaustively fuel her writing for years to come, as it's a perfect conduit for her observational humor.
Booklist
These funny, smart, and prayerful essays-to-live-by contain just what readers expect from this nimble and candid writer: the unexpected. ... Like all artists, Lamott can riff inventively on the most commonplace themes.
Publishers Weekly

It would be easy to mistake this book for more of the same. Like Lamott's earlier spiritual nonfiction, Traveling Merciesand Plan B, it's a collection of essays, mostly previously published. The three books have strikingly similar covers and nearly identical subtitles. The familiar topics are here—Mom; her son, illness; death; addictions; Jesus; Republicans—as is the zany attitude. Not that repetitiveness matters; Lamott's faithful fans would line up to buy her shopping lists. But these recent essays show a new mellowness: "I don't hate anyone right now, not even George W. Bush. This may seem an impossibility, but it is true, and indicates the presence of grace or dementia, or both." With gentle wisdom refining her signature humor, Lamott explores helpfulness, decency, love and especially forgiveness. She explains the change: "Sometimes I act just as juvenile as I ever did, but as I get older, I do it for shorter periods of time. I find my way back to the path sooner, where there is always one last resort: get a glass of water and call a friend." Here's hoping that grace eventually persuades this older, wiser Lamott that her next nonfiction book should be wholly original. (Mar. 20)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal
This third in a series (following Traveling Merciesand Plan B) records Lamott's attempts to live with grace. Now 20 years sober and the single mother of a 17-year-old son, the author shares 23 stories of her life, eight never before published. Covering everything from politics to child rearing to experiences teaching Sunday school, the essays are well written and heartfelt. Lamott is most effective when talking about her spiritual beliefs and how they developed over time. She gets her message across without being preachy, and she's never condescending, instead telling us what she did in certain situations and how it worked or didn't work. Constant references to her sobriety, weight issues, and curly hair are getting a bit repetitious after the two other books, but it's part of her charm, and fans won't be disappointed. Essential for libraries with the previous works. [See Prepub Alert, LJ11/1/06.]

By Constance Ashmore Fairchild, formerly with the Univ. of Illinois Libs., Urbana-Champaign


—Jennifer Kuncken
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594482878
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 2/26/2008
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 129,890
  • Product dimensions: 5.32 (w) x 8.03 (h) x 0.74 (d)

Meet the Author

Anne Lamott is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Help, Thanks, Wow; Some Assembly Required; Grace (Eventually); Plan B; Traveling Mercies; and Operating Instructions, as well as several novels, including Imperfect Birds, Rosie and Crooked Little Heart. A past recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and an inductee to the California Hall of Fame, she lives in northern California.
 

Biography

Anne Lamott's recovery from alcoholism and drug abuse helped her career in two ways. First, it marked an artistic rebound for the novelist; second, she's become an inspirational figure to fans who have read her frank, funny nonfiction books covering topics from motherhood to religion to, yes, fighting for sobriety.

Early on, Lamott's hard-luck novels were impressive chronicles of family strife punctuated by bad (but often entertaining) behavior. Everyone in Lamott's books is sort of screwed up, but she stocks them with a humor and core decency that make them hard to resist. In Hard Laughter, she tells the (semi-autobiographical) story of a dysfunctional family rocked by the father's brain tumor diagnosis. In Rosie and its 1997 sequel, Crooked Little Heart, the heroines are a sassy teenage girl and her alcoholic, widowed mom. Another precocious child provides the point of view in All New People, in which a girl rides out the waves of the 1960s with her nutty parents.

Lamott's conversational, direct style and cynical humor have always been strengths, and with All New People -- the first book she wrote after getting sober -- she turned a corner. Reedeming herself from the disastrous reviews of her messy (too much so, even for the endearingly messy Lamott) 1985 third novel Joe Jones, Lamott's talent came back into focus. "Anne Lamott is a cause for celebrations," the New Yorker effused. "[Her] real genius lies in capturing the ineffable, describing not perfect moments, but imperfect ones...perfectly. She is nothing short of miraculous."

That said, Lamott's sensibility is not for everyone. The faith, both human and spiritual, in her books is accompanied by her unsparing irony and a distinct disregard for wholesomeness or conventionality; and God here is for sinners as much as (if not more than) for saints. Her girls are often not girls but half-adults; her adults, vice-versa. She finds the adolescent, weak spots in all her characters, making them people to root for at the same time.

Among Lamott's most messy, troubled characters is the author herself, and she began turning this to her advantage with the 1993 memoir Operating Instructions, a single mom's meditation on the big experiment -- failures included -- of new parenthood. It was also in this book that Lamott "came out of the closet" with her Christianity, and earned a whole new following that grew with her subsequent memoirs, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life and Traveling Mercies. However gifted Lamott was at conveying fictional stories, it was in telling her own stories that her self-deprecating humor and hard-earned wisdom really made themselves known, and loved by readers.

Good To Know

Lamott's Joe Jones, which is now out of print, was so poorly received that it sent the alcoholic Lamott into a tailspin. "When Joe Jones came out I really got trashed," she told the New York Times in 1997. "I got 27 bad reviews. It was kind of exhilarating in its way. I was still drinking and I woke up every morning feeling so sick, I literally felt I was pinned to the bed by centrifugal force. I wouldn't have very many memories of what had happened the night before. I'd have to call around, and I could tell by people's reaction whether I'd pulled it off or not. I was really humiliating myself. It was bad."

Lamott's father was a writer who instilled the belief in her that it was a privilege in life to be an artist, as opposed to having a regular job. But she stresses to students that it doesn't happen overnight; that the work has to be measured in small steps, with continual efforts to improve. She said in an NPR interivew, "I've published six books and I still worry that the phone is going to ring and [someone] is going to say, 'Okay, the jig is up, you have to get a job..."'

In an essay accompanying Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith, Lamott described her decision to begin writing in earnest about Christianity: "Thirteen years ago, I first lurched -- very hung over -- into a little church in one of the poorest communities in California. Without this church, I do not think I would have survived the last few years of my drinking. But even so, I had written about the people there only in passing. I did, however, speak about the church whenever I could, sheepishly shoehorning in a story or two. But it wasn't really until my fifth book [Operating Instructions], that I came out of the closet as a real believer.... I started to realize that there was a great hunger and thirst for regular, cynical, ragbag people to talk about God..."

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    1. Hometown:
      Fairfax, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 30, 1953
    2. Place of Birth:
      San Francisco, California
    1. Education:
      Attended Goucher College in Maryland before dropping out to write

Table of Contents

Prelude     11
Dance Class
Ski Patrol     27
Wailing Wall     37
Dance Class     49
Bodies
The Muddling Glory of God     61
Dear Old Friend     72
A Field Theory of Beauty     86
In Circulation
Cheese Love     101
At Death's Window     108
The Born     116
Forgivishness
Nudges     125
The Carpet Guy     136
Dandelions     146
Near the Lagoon, 2004     158
Lost and Found
Steinbeck Country     169
Shadows     176
The Last Story of Spring     189
Samwheel
Chirren     201
Samwheel     209
Blink of an Eye     220
Earth School
Bastille Day     237
Mom, Interrupted     249
Junctions     255
Kookaburra     268
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 29 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(9)

4 Star

(11)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(5)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 29 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2008

    Terrible, anything but Christian

    This book was awful.I couldn't get past the whining and anger.Her views on important issues were so far from Christian. This was supposed to be inspirational reading and I wanted to throw the book every time I picked it up.

    2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2007

    A reviewer

    I loved this book as I have loved everything Lamott has ever written. She helps me know that being Christian doesn't mean you can't be funny and honest about your faith--good days and bad days. I love the parts about her Mom, who sounds scarily like mine, I share her views on George W. and how horrifying his politics are and I particularly share her perspectives on motherhood. God bless Anne Lamott, if she rewrote the phone book I would read it and I'm sure it would be great!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2009

    Quirky engaging spirituality

    Faith based with a christian undertone. Each chapter had a kernal of deep wisdom, a zinger that leads the reader on to discover deeper meaning in life, in relationships, in deeper connection with Spirit

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2008

    Totally relevant and deliciously irreverent

    If you're looking for a Bible-thumping, evangelical, fundamentalist experience, this is not the place for you. But if you're looking for a writer with wit and intelligence who takes Christian principles and applies them to the twenty-first century, look no further. Wake up, Copernicus! This might open your mind a bit.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2007

    Lousy, anti-Christian

    I couldn't make it past the first few chapters. The author bashes at least one Republican leader in the first 50 pages. I found the chapters to be more political in nature than Christian. This book is the exact opposite of inspirational reading. Save your money.

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2007

    A reviewer

    This is a more reflective book than Lamott¿s others. The tone is deeper, darker at times, and more reverent. It is just as honest and almost as funny, but the maturation that is going on inside her is so palpable that it trumps all else.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2013

    Good read

    Good reader for spiritual people

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2012

    Not Her Best

    Disappointing, I have read several of Anne's books and was looking forward to this one. This time her stories seemed to ramble on and found little Grace if any in several of her stories. I want the Anne of Traveling Mercies and Plan B back. Blunt, straight forward, funny, insightful. Somehow that Anne has been replaced.

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  • Posted August 6, 2009

    Another Winner from Anne Lamott!

    I just love this book & I'm thrilled I could get a bargain on it. Anne Lamott is one of my absolute favorite contemporary authors, and this is another gem from her. She is funny, irreverent, raunchy, biting and at the same time poignant, loving, generous and spiritually very, very wise. We are the same age and though my life trajectory has been far more conventional than hers, I can relate to so much of what she writes about God, doubts & crises, politics, addiction, fear, body image, motherhood and middle age. She really DOES send me from belly laughs to tears in just a few pages! I recommend her to all my friends....and some of them actually like her! You have to be open-minded and open-hearted to appreciate her; in other words, you have to be a little like she is.

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  • Posted February 17, 2009

    Funny, witty, sarcastic, honest Anne.

    If you like Anne's style, it's a great read. She's so open and honest about her faith, it's refreshing. It's okay to be a Christian and not be perfect and admit it. Thanks Anne. Keep writing.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 15, 2009

    Real Life

    Anne Lamott won my heart in the first chapter. I could relate to everything she said as she was baring her soul. We are imperfect and can be that way and still have faith and grace and all the good stuff. A wonderful and refreshing read. I finished the book with much hope that we can all find grace in our lives if we just keep searching - sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. We don't get grace because we earn it, we get it as a gift.

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  • Posted November 25, 2008

    Anne LaMott Is a Good Read

    I liked GRACE, EVENTUALLY because it struck me as a very honest book. Not everyone will agree with Anne's choices (lifestyle, parenting style, attitude toward religious icons, etc.), but she is always provocative and entertaining. She tries, like many of us, to be non-judgmental, but even in her most tolerant days she often finds herself pronouncing judgments.<BR/><BR/>So be it....and that, in my view, is her ultimate conclusion. <BR/>She's trying her best to achieve Grace....and she will, eventually.<BR/><BR/>Cordelia<BR/><BR/>I also recommend: DREAMS FROM MY FATHER (Barack Obama)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2008

    Wonderful

    I love all books LaMott, so this will not be a surprise. Refreshing to find someone who shares so many of my own views. I think the folks who are panning this have not read any of her other books. My all time favorite is 'Operating Instructions'.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2007

    A reviewer

    Anne Lamott sees life and thereby sees wonder. She is imbued with soulfulness and with a myriad of imperfections. She seeks healing, knowledge, a better outcome and a non-fattening dessert. She can't abide the ills of the world (which she writes about sharply and with humor) but she somehow maintains her faith. Above all, she longs for truth and grace. Occasionally, she finds a measure of each. These essays will resonate with people who are mothers, have adolescent kids, are interested in faith and spirituality, and appreciate a good laugh. And with others, as well.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2007

    ME TOO

    After going through so much in life we all stride to hold on to faith, yet, reach for hope

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2010

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    Posted January 24, 2010

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