The very popular Lamott (Bird by Bird ) claims here that prayer boils down to the three exclamations of the title—it seems like a reductive claim, but Lamott, an unusually hip, demotic, urbane kind of Christian, is a naturally expansive and chatty writer. These blog-like reflections exhibit the author’s usual fluency and charm. ¬
VERDICT A worthy successor to her prior works, this brief book will delight Lamott’s regular readers, and likely draw new readers to her writing and to the ideas behind prayer.
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A refreshingly simple approach to spiritual practice in a pint-sized reflection on prayer. As the title of her book implies, Lamott (Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son's First Son, 2012, etc.) has taken an enormously complex and often debated topic and boiled it down to three basic elements that transcend doctrine or creed. Though in her previous books the author has been forthright about her Christianity, here she begins with a prelude that assures readers she's not even remotely interested in trying to tell them who or what God is; she's simply asking them to consider that there's a Divine Being willing to run the show. How is one to get that process going? Prayer. More specifically, Lamott touts the spiritual power in powerlessness, gratitude and wonder. The three sections of the book aren't solely about each one-word prayer; they're more a running conversation about their collective influence in her life. "Help" is a complete prayer, writes Lamott, and uttering it creates space for solutions that humans have neither thought of nor could pull off on their own. In what at first may seem like a jumbled mashup of stories and reflections, Lamott manages to deftly convey the idea that in trying to control things, we've largely lost our ability to see the good and the miraculous in everyday life. And those commodities go a long way, she writes, in terms of making a Divine connection that brings a measure of hope and peace. Though fans may be dismayed at the brevity of the book, there's more here than meets the eye.
What People are saying about this
From the Publisher
“Filled with Lamott's unique brand of humor, wisdom and profound spiritual insight… She has a gift for putting into words what it means to accept and ultimately embrace the beauty, mystery, and pain that is life.”
—San Antonio Express-News
“Practical and poetic advice on prayer.”
“An imaginative do-it-yourself approach to spirituality…With a stand-up comic’s snap and pop, candid and righteous Lamott tells hilarious and wrenching tales about various predicaments that have sparked her prayers and inspired her to encourage others to pray anytime, anywhere, and any way.”
“[A] prayer manual for people who wouldn’t be caught dead reading prayer manuals… anybody who gets it as a holiday gift will likely just say, ‘Thanks. Wow.’”
“A refreshingly simple approach to spiritual practice in a pint-sized reflection on prayer…Lamott manages to deftly convey the idea that in trying to control things, we’ve largely lost our ability to see the good and the miraculous in everyday life…there’s more here than meets the eye.”
“[With Lamott’s] usual fluency and charm…A worthy successor to her prior works…[Help, Thanks, Wow] will delight Lamott’s regular readers, and likely draw new readers to her writing.”
—Library Journal (starred review)