Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers

( 96 )

Overview

New York Times-bestselling author Anne Lamott writes about the three simple prayers essential to coming through tough times, difficult days and the hardships of daily life.

Readers of all ages have followed and cherished Anne Lamott’s funny and perceptive writing about her own faith through decades of trial and error. And in her new book, Help, Thanks, Wow, she has coalesced everything she knows about prayer ...

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Overview

New York Times-bestselling author Anne Lamott writes about the three simple prayers essential to coming through tough times, difficult days and the hardships of daily life.

Readers of all ages have followed and cherished Anne Lamott’s funny and perceptive writing about her own faith through decades of trial and error. And in her new book, Help, Thanks, Wow, she has coalesced everything she knows about prayer to these fundamentals.

It is these three prayers – asking for assistance from a higher power, appreciating what we have that is good, and feeling awe at the world around us – that can get us through the day and can show us the way forward. In Help, Thanks, Wow, Lamott recounts how she came to these insights, explains what they mean to her and how they have helped, and explores how others have embraced these same ideas.

Insightful and honest as only Anne Lamott can be, Help, Thanks, Wow is the everyday faith book that new Lamott readers will love and longtime Lamott fans will treasure.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

No dry theologian, Anne Lamott (Plan B; Traveling Mercies) has written a wonderfully accessible guide to the three prayers that make the relationship with God most meaningful.

Library Journal
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.

(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Reviews
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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594631290
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 11/13/2012
  • Pages: 112
  • Sales rank: 20,784
  • Product dimensions: 4.98 (w) x 8.12 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Meet the Author

Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott is the author of the New York Times bestsellers 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

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 96 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(70)

4 Star

(9)

3 Star

(6)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(7)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 96 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2012

    Stupid "sample"

    Drives me crazy when you are unsure about a book so you look at the sample and it's 6 pages long and all you get are the credits.

    28 out of 44 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2012

    Sample

    Who decides how long a sample should be? You can't call a few pages a sample if it contains absolutely nothing of the author's actual work! Barnes and Noble can do better than this. If the publishers or authors don't want to give a real sample, they should be made to realalize that they are not doing themselves a favor.

    21 out of 40 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2012

    Help thanks wow

    Incredibly crappy sample! Didn't get to page one!

    19 out of 33 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 8, 2013

    Please don't let the reviews that reflect opinions on the length

    Please don't let the reviews that reflect opinions on the length of the sample rather than the actual content keep you away from this humorous and beautiful publication.  I love Anne Lamott's writing style and this book lifted my spirits during a very challenging time in my life.  For me, it is one of those books that you want to have in ebook form to always have with you, as well as to actually buy in hardcover print so you can also give a copy to all of your friends and family.

    12 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2012

    I think i may try to pray again.

    Simple yet so hard for some of us. Wonderful little book. A few sentences did not seem to connect to the whole and were a little rabbit trailish and rambly, which knocked off a star. Sorry bout that. I'd have chosen just a sliver of a star, but it wasn't an option.

    10 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2012

    Wonderful!

    Anne Lamott gets it. Her insights help me laugh, cry, and not give up hope. I first heard of her 19 years ago when I was a new mom and an independent bookstore recommended her book about her son's first year of life. Now her books are available anywhere. In this journey of life I'm glad I have Anne's thoughts to help me. And this newest book offers more of what I have come to expect from her, grace.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2012

    Anne Lamott makes the most profound feelings resonate with wit a

    Anne Lamott makes the most profound feelings resonate with wit and insight. She tells her own jounrys with great courage and honesty. Annie brings faith and prayer down to the basics. What more do you need?

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 15, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou!

    I normally don't go in for books that attempt to offer spiritual grace or salvation thru the use of prayer -- but this book grabbed me mainly because of the author's plain, down to earth use of words like "HELP", "THANKS" and "WOW", which are words that all of us utter at one time or another whether or not we're using them to get in touch with a 'Higher Power' -- or whether or not one even believes in a 'Higher Power'? So I say thankyou, thankyou, thankyou to author, Anne Lamott, for keeping the mechanics of prayer simple, sincere and within the realm of possibility.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2012

    Highly Recommended

    I enjoyed this small book about what prayers are or could be. Annie Lamott is one of my favorite writers. She is down to earth and real.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 10, 2012

    Another Anne Lamott Great

    Garunteed: if you've liked any of Ms Lamott's books (the non-fiction ones) in the past, you will enjoy this one as well. If you've never read any of her books this isn't a bad introduction. She's insightful, honest, self-deprecating, humorous, and full of a faith that makes one want to have the same kind of spiritual eyes on the world that she has. My only complaint is that the book was too short!

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2013

    Got to love Anne Lamott!

    If you've read Lamott before, you could probably connect to her writing style and seemingly haphazard way of communicating. She is honest, poignant, and you have to be able pick up on her witty references through your background knowledge, or perhaps age. One may miss her one line Janis Joplin quotes if you did not grow up listening to her! Anyone who broaches the topic of spirituality in our society today needs to be applauded. We do so lack this most vital part of our existence. So many of our youth lack the exposure to some form of peaceful existence and know not how to relish the simple joys of nature and spirit within oneself. This book came at a time when I needed reflection and to reconnect with my own thoughts of the importance of our inner spirit and the existence and support of a Greater Being. Just purchased a second copy for a family member who is coping with stress and a lack of peace. All may not benefit from this book, but it is worth giving it a try to support a loved one!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2013

    Strongly recommend - a worthwhile read

    With her usual humor and frankness, the author offers a simple yet profound discussion on prayer. I appreciated her first person accounts of the meaning of "asking", of "being grateful" and of "awe" - perhaps the cornerstones of deepening spirituality. I especially liked the "wow" section - acknowledging what we often can't put into words.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 25, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    This was one of the best books I have read in a long time.  I wa

    This was one of the best books I have read in a long time.  I was so sad when I finished it and was ready to read it over again immediately!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2012

    Useless sample

    The sample offered here is just the cover the authors other works and the publishers info Shame on BN for being asleep at the wheel ZERO STARS

    3 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 10, 2012

    Highly recommend

    Even if one is not into "prayer" as traditionally regarded, Anne L. gives it such new and realistic meaning. I'm a Buddhist, but I LOVE her thinking!

    Kate in Ohio

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2012

    Pinefall

    Thank you. Ill put a camp there if I make another clan, although I have my paws full already.

    2 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2013

    Amazing.

    Anne Lamott is one of my favorite authors and this is a wonderful book. It offers a unique and encompassing view of prayer and hope for anyone of any faith (or lack thereof).

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2013

    PRAYER MADE SIMPLE BUT PERSONALLY lEFT ME WANTING MORE

    Lamont's purpose it seemed was to convince the reader that basically there are three reasons one chooses to pray- to ask for "help", express gratitude or acknowledge something that blows you away. It is an easy read but I was hoping for more depth to the subject matter. For someone who is just beginning a prayer life, it would be a good introduction. Been practicing for 33 yrs so This book was too much of an "intro" course.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 19, 2013

    Great way to reconnect with God and explain prayer so that it re

    Great way to reconnect with God and explain prayer so that it real!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2013

    Short read but powerful!

    This is an excellent read. Short but very powerful. They say when the student is ready the teacher will appear. Need I say more?

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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