Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith

( 25 )

Overview

"With the trademark wisdom, humor, and honesty that made Anne Lamott's book on faith, Traveling Mercies, a runaway bestseller, Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith is a spiritual antidote to anxiety and despair in increasingly fraught times.

The world is a more dangerous place than it was when Lamott's Traveling Mercies was published five years ago. Terrorism and war have become the new normal; environmental devastation looms even closer. And there are personal demands on Lamott's faith as well: turning fifty; her ...

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Overview

"With the trademark wisdom, humor, and honesty that made Anne Lamott's book on faith, Traveling Mercies, a runaway bestseller, Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith is a spiritual antidote to anxiety and despair in increasingly fraught times.

The world is a more dangerous place than it was when Lamott's Traveling Mercies was published five years ago. Terrorism and war have become the new normal; environmental devastation looms even closer. And there are personal demands on Lamott's faith as well: turning fifty; her mother's Alzheimer's; her son's adolescence; and the passing of friends and time.

Fortunately for those of us who are anxious and scared about the state of the world, whose parents are also aging and dying, whose children are growing harder to recognize as they become teenagers, Plan B offers hope in the midst of despair. It shares with us Lamott's ability to comfort, and to make us laugh despite the grim realities.

Anne Lamott is one of our most beloved writers, and Plan B is a book more necessary now than ever. It will prove to be further evidence that, as The Christian Science Monitor has written, ""Everybody loves Anne Lamott."

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
In 2001, Anne Lamott's Traveling Mercies established its author as a popular, idiosyncratic commentator on matters of faith. In this collection of essays, Lamott writes about scary times in a post-9/11 world, where terrorism, environmental disaster, and personal tragedy seem close at hand. Plan B offers hope in the midst of despair, mixing Lamott's crazy wisdom ("I think we are diamond hearts, wrapped in meatballs") with starkly honest insights about aging, Alzheimer's, and death.
Lauren F. Winner
If one needs a corrective to the notion that all American Christians are happy with George W. Bush, one need look no farther than Anne Lamott's Plan B. A sequel of sorts to Traveling Mercies, her previous collection of assorted, quirky subtitular thoughts on faith, Plan B presents Lamott at middle age, totally despondent about the Iraq war, the administration and the future of the world. She decides not to kill herself -- overeating would be her preferred method -- only because she wants to stay alive to protest the war and the White House.
— The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Five years after her bestselling Traveling Mercies, Lamott sends us 24 fresh dispatches from the frontier of her life and her Christian faith. To hear her tell it, neither the state of the country nor the state of her nerves has improved, to say the least. "On my forty-ninth birthday, I decided that all of life is hopeless, and I would eat myself to death. These are dessert days." Thankfully, her gift for conveying the workings of grace to left-wing, high-strung, beleaguered people like herself is still intact, as is her ability to convey the essence of Christian faith, which she finds not in dogma but in our ability to open our hearts in the midst of our confusion and hopelessness. Most of these pieces were published in other versions on Salon.com, and they cover subjects as disparate as the Bush administration; the death of Lamott's dog, her mother and a friend; life with a teenager and with her 50-year-old thighs-yet each shows how our hearts and lives can go "from parched to overflow in the blink of an eye." What is the secret? Lamott makes us laugh at the impossibility of it all; then she assures us that the most profound act we can accomplish on Earth is coming out of the isolation of our minds and giving to one another. Faith is not about how we feel, she shows; it is about how we live. "Don't worry! Don't be so anxious. In dark times, give off light. Care for the least of God's people!" Naturally, some pieces are stronger than others-her wonderful style can come across as a bit mannered, the wrapup a bit forced. But this is quibbling about a book that is better than brilliant. This is that rare kind of book that is like a having a smart, dear, crazy (in the best sense) friend walk next to us in sunlight and in the dark night of the soul. Author tour. (Mar.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Novelist Lamott's latest is an easy read, crackling with puns, funny anecdotes, and memorable sayings coined by her minister, family, and friends. As in Traveling Mercies, this book's predecessor, the chapters comprise biographical sketches and reflections on the author's Christian faith. The sketches follow no chronological or thematic order, giving the book a slightly disjointed quality. However, the author's insights connect them and infuse them with meaning. Lamott is also more politically outspoken here than she has been previously. While she repeatedly criticizes the current Bush administration and their hawkish agenda, these commentaries do not dead-end there; instead, they swerve back to the positive ways in which she can influence the world, the political leaders, and her own community. Recommended for all public and academic libraries.-Maria Kochis, California State Univ. Lib., Sacramento Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Funny, acerbic reflections on faith and family during George W. Bush's first administration. Readers have long awaited Lamott's second book on spirituality (after Traveling Mercies, 1999), and it won't disappoint-or not too much. As before, Lamott charts her life as a deeply religious Christian and committed leftist, though she's no stereotypically pious Presbyterian. For example, she has dreadlocks and an out-of-wedlock son, her beloved Sam. She wears a red bracelet that was blessed by the Dalai Lama, and she hates Republicans, most especially George W. Bush. In the essays here, many from Salon, Lamott portrays herself as a mother heroically trying to figure out how to parent a smart-and occasionally smart-alecky-teenager. She also describes her attempts to love her aging, sagging body. And she takes readers inside her wonderfully warm church, still under the leadership of the awesome Veronica. Throughout, we read about her struggle to forgive her dead mother, and, because Lamott's trademark humor and irreverence mark practically every page, readers will howl with laughter at Lamott's inability to do anything with Mom's ashes other than leave them in her closet. But there's also the real work Lamott is doing here, the hard, slow work of forgiveness, and things can get teary. Still, the book doesn't quite live up to its predecessor. One example will suffice: Somehow Sam, whom readers first met in utero in Operating Instructions (1993), then as an enchanting grammar-schooler in Traveling, doesn't make quite as charming a character this time around. Lamott's approach to parenting an adolescent is not without wisdom, but reading about the Lamotts' battles over homework is neitherentertaining nor illuminating. Traveling Mercies set a very high standard, and to say that Plan B almost gets there is still to say that it's a wonderful read Lamott's legions of fans will no doubt lap up. Agent: Sarah Chalfant/The Wylie Agency
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786553327
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA), Inc.
  • Publication date: 12/18/2007
  • Format: MP3
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Ships to U.S.and APO/FPO addresses only.

Meet the Author

Anne Lamott

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

1 Ham of God 1
2 Red cords 13
3 Sam's dad 31
4 O noraht, noraht 43
5 Holy of holies 101 57
6 This dog's life 79
7 Adolescence 91
8 Sincere meditations 103
9 Heat 113
10 Hard rain 125
11 Good Friday world 135
12 Diamond heart 147
13 Untitled 169
14 'Joice to the world 177
15 Holding on 191
16 One hand clapping 203
17 Loving your president : day 2 215
18 Scattering the present 229
19 Flower girl 241
20 Sam's brother 253
21 Falling better 265
22 Cruise ship 279
23 Let us commence 299
24 Market Street 311
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First Chapter

Plan B

further thoughts on faith
By anne lamott

riverhead books

Copyright © 2005 Anne Lamott
All right reserved.

ISBN: 1-57322-299-2


Chapter One

On my forty-ninth birthday, I decided that all of life was hopeless, and I would eat myself to death. These are desert days. Better to go out by our own hands than to endure slow death by scolding at the hands of the Bush administration. However, after a second cup of coffee, I realized that I couldn't kill myself that morning-not because it was my birthday but because I'd promised to get arrested the next day. I had been arrested three weeks earlier with an ecumenical bunch of religious peaceniks, people who still believe in Dr. King and Gandhi. Also, my back was out. I didn't want to die in crone mode. Plus, there was no food in the house. So I took a long, hot shower instead and began another day of being gloated to death.

Everyone I know has been devastated by Bush's presidency and, in particular, our country's heroic military activities overseas. I can usually manage a crabby hope that there is meaning in mess and pain, that more will be revealed, and that truth and beauty will somehow win out in the end. But I'd been struggling as my birthday approached. So much had been stolen from us by Bush, from the very beginning of his reign, and especially since he went to war in Iraq. I wake up some mornings pinned to the bed by centrifugal sadness and frustration. A friend called to wish me Happy Birthday, and I remembered something she'd said many years ago, while reading a Vanity Fair article about Hitler's affair with his niece. "I have had it with Hitler," Peggy said vehemently, throwing the magazine to the floor. And I'd had it with Bush.

Hadn't the men in the White House ever heard of the word karma? They lied their way into taking our country to war, crossing another country's borders with ferocious military might, trying to impose our form of government on a sovereign nation, without any international agreement or legal justification, and set about killing the desperately poor on behalf of the obscenely, rich. Then we're instructed, like naughty teenagers, to refrain from saying that it was an immoral war that set a disastrous precedent-because to do so is to offer aid and comfort to the enemy.

While I was thinking about all this, my Jesuit friend Father Tom called. He is one of my closest friends, a few years older than I, a scruffy aging Birkenstock type, like me, who gives lectures and leads retreats on spirituality. Usually he calls to report on the latest rumors of my mental deterioration, drunkenness, or promiscuity, how sick it makes everyone to know that I am showing all my lady parts to the neighbors. But this time he called to wish me Happy Birthday.

"How are we going to get through this craziness?" I asked. There was silence for a moment.

"Left foot, right foot, left foot, breathe," he said.

Father Tom loves the desert. A number of my friends do. They love the skies that pull you into infinity, like the ocean. They love the silence, and how, if you listen long enough, the pulse of the desert begins to sound like the noise your finger makes when you run it around the rim of a crystal glass. They love the scary beauty-snakes, lizards, scorpions, the kestrels and hawks. They love the mosaics of water-washed pebbles on the desert floor, small rocks that cast huge shadows, a shoot of vegetation here, a wildflower there.

I like the desert for short periods of time, from inside a car, with the windows rolled up and the doors locked. I prefer beach resorts with room service. But liberals have been in the desert for several years now, and I'm worn out. Some days I hardly know what to pray for. Peace? Well, whatever.

So the morning of my birthday, because I couldn't pray, I did what Matisse once said to do: "I don't know if I believe in God or not.... But the essential thing is to put oneself in a frame of mind which is close to that of prayer." I closed my eyes, and got quiet. I tried to look like Mother Mary, with dreadlocks and a bad back.

But within seconds, I was frantic to turn on the TV. I was in withdrawal-I needed more scolding from Donald Rumsfeld, and more malignant celebration of what everyone agreed, in April 2003, was a great victory for George W. Bush. So we couldn't find those stupid weapons of mass destruction-pick, pick, pick. I didn't turn on the TV. I kept my eyes closed, and breathed. I started to feel crazy, and knew that all I needed was five minutes of CNN. I listened to the birds sing outside, and it was like Chinese water torture, which I am sure we don't say anymore. Then I remembered the weekend when 11 million people in the world marched for peace, how joyful it was to be part of the stirrings of a great movement. My pastor, Veronica, says that peace is joy at rest, and joy is peace on its feet, and I felt both that weekend.

I lay on the floor with my eyes closed for so long that my dog, Lily, came over and worriedly licked me back to life. That cheered me up. "What did you get me for my birthday?" I asked. She started to chew on my head. That helped. Maybe the old left is dead, but after we've rested awhile we can prepare for something new. I don't know who on the left can lead us away from the craziness and barbarity: I'm very confused now. But I know that in the desert, you stay out of the blistering sun. You go out during the early morning, and in the cool of the evening. You seek oasis, shade, safety, refreshment. There's every hue of green, and of gold. But I'm only pretending to think it's beautiful; I find it terribly scary. I walk on eggshells, and hold my breath.

I called Tom back.

He listened quietly. I asked him for some good news.

He thought. "Well," he said finally, "My cactuses are blooming. Last week they were ugly and reptilian, and now they are bursting with red and pink blossoms. They don't bloom every year, so you have to love them while they're here."

"I hate cactuses," I said. "I want to know what to do. Where we even start."

"We start by being kind to ourselves. We breathe, we eat. We remember that God is present wherever people stiffer. God's here with us when we're miserable, and God is there in Iraq. The suffering of innocent people draws God close to them. Kids hit by U.S. bombs are not abandoned by God."

"Well, it sure looks like they were," I said. "It sure looks that way to their parents."

"It also looked like Christ had been abandoned on the cross. It looked like a win for the Romans."

"How do we help? How do we not lose our minds?"

"You take care of the suffering."

"I can't get to Iraq."

"There are folks who are miserable here."

After we got off the phone, I ate a few birthday chocolates. Then I asked God to help me be helpful. It was the first time that day that I felt my prayers were sent, and then received-like e-mail. I tried to cooperate with grace, which is to say, I did not turn on the TV. I asked God to help me again. The problem with God-or at any rate, one of the top five most annoying things about God-is that fie or She rarely answers right away. It can take days, weeks. Some people seem to understand this-that life and change take time. Chou En-lai, when asked, "What do you think of the French Revolution?" paused for a minute-smoking incessantly-then replied, "Too soon to tell." I, on the other hand, am an instant-message type. It took decades for Bush to destroy, the Iraqi army in three weeks.

But I prayed: Help me. And then I drove to the market in silence, to buy my birthday dinner.

I flirted with everyone in the store, especially the old people, and I lightened up. When the checker finished ringing up my items, she looked at my receipt and cried, "Hey! You've won a ham."

I felt blindsided by the news. I had asked for help, not a ham. This was very disturbing. What on earth was I going to do with ten pounds of salty pink eraser? I rarely eat it. It makes you bloat.

"Wow," I said. The checker was so excited about giving it to me that I pretended I was, too.

How great!

A bagger was dispatched to the back of the store to fetch my ham. I stood waiting anxiously. I wanted to go home, so I could start caring for suffering people, or turn on CNN. I almost suggested that the checker award the ham to the next family who paid with food stamps. But for some reason, I waited. If God was giving me a ham, I'd be crazy not to receive it. Maybe it was the ham of God, who takes away the sins of the world.

I waited ten minutes for what I began to think of as "that fucking ham." Finally the bag boy handed me a parcel the size of a cat. I put it with feigned cheer into my grocery cart, and walked to the car, trying to figure out who might need it. I thought about chucking the parcel out the window near a field. I was so distracted that I crashed my cart smack into a slow-moving car in the parking lot.

I started to apologize, when I noticed that the car was a rusty wreck, and that an old friend was at the wheel. We got sober together a long time ago, and each of us had a son at the same time. She has dark black skin and processed hair the color of cooled tar.

She opened her window. "Hey," I said. "How are you-it's my birthday!"

"Happy Birthday," she said, and started crying. She looked drained and pinched, and after a moment, she pointed to her gas gauge. "I don't have money for gas, or food. I've never asked for help from a friend since I got sober, but I'm asking you to help me."

"I've got money," I said.

"No, no, I just need gas," she said. "I've never asked someone for a handout."

"It's not a handout," I told her. "It's my birthday present." I thrust a bunch of money into her hand, everything I had. Then I reached into my shopping cart and held out the ham to her like a clown offering flowers. "Hey!" I said. "Do you and your kids like ham?"

"We love it," she said. "We love it for every meal."

She put it in the seat beside her, firmly, lovingly, as if she were about to strap it in. And she cried some more.

Later, thinking about her, I remembered the seasonal showers in the desert, how potholes in the rocks fill up with rain. When you look later, there are already flogs in the water, and brine shrimp reproducing, like commas doing the macarena; and it seems, but only seems, that you went from parched to overflow in the blink of an eye.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Plan B by anne lamott Copyright © 2005 by Anne Lamott. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 25 )
Rating Distribution

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(10)

4 Star

(4)

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(3)

2 Star

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(4)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 25 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2005

    Blackbox Warning: Whiny complaints posing as reflection

    I absolutely LOVE Anne Lamott. I did NOT love this book. Ususally funny and insightful, this attempt was a departure from her usual writing - whiny, complaining left-wing rhetoric. Unless you hate (her words, not mine) President George Bush and love to hear him slammed repeatedly - and I do mean repeatedly - ad nauseum, in fact, you may find this book shallow and downright boring. I got the fact that she hates the president after about the 100th reference to it - enough already!!! Even the stories, few though they may be, that didn't deal directly with hating the president, were woven with her distaste for the man. Isn't there anything else going on in the world, in life, to comment on? While I appreciate freedom of expression, this would have been infinitely more interesting had she expressed something beyond political opinion - over and over.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted March 31, 2005

    Disappointed

    I am a fan of this author,loved Traveling Mercies and Blue Shoe, did not find this book as good.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted May 21, 2005

    Right-winger Loves Anne Lamott

    As I read the previous reviews, I thought it important that you hear from 'the other side.' I am a hard-core conservative, evangelical Christian pastor. I love reading Anne Lamott's personal journey books. She is funny, charming, thought-provoking, and sometimes downright irritating. But she makes me wonder if maybe what endears us to God is not our perfection, but rather our imperfection. Perhaps God loves me because of, not in spite of, my warts and blemishes. I don't often agree with her politics, but I adore her heart.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 8, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE A CONSERVATIVE TO LOVE GOD

    ANNE LAMOTT'S BOOK IS A STRAIGHTFORWARD EXPRESSION OF HER LIFE AND ALL THAT HER LIFE ENCOMPASSES--FAITH IN GOD, DEVOTION TO FAMILY, A UNIQUE LIFESTYLE AND EMOTIONAL HONESTY. UNLIKE MOST BOOKS ON SPIRITUAL ISSUES, LAMOTT GIVES US A REAL LIFE IMPRESSION OF WHAT HOW FAITH CAN INTERACT WITH US AND THAT GOD CAN LIVE WITHIN US DESPITE OUR FLAWS AND POLITICAL AFFILIATIONS. IT IS DEFINITELY NOT A BOOK FOR THOSE EASILY OFFENDED BY OFF-COLOR LANGUAGE OR A POLITICAL STANCE OUTSIDE THE MAINSTREAM RIGHT-WING, IN OTHERWORDS, MY MOTHER WOULD BE OFFENDED, WHILE I EMBRACED IT. I LOVED THE BOOK. I WISH I KNEW ANNE LAMOTT AND SERVED WITH HER IN CHURCH AND AT PEACE RALLIES.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 29, 2009

    Not for me

    No good writing, no interesting stories, nothing to be learned about Jesus. Anne alternates between a few basic story lines: "I hate Bush and that's bad because Christians are supposed to love everyone", "raising a teenager by yourself is really hard", and "hey look at all the interesting and different friends I have (even a Buddhist teaches me about Jesus!)". And to make sure you remember it's a Christian book, she adds a cameo Jesus mention at the end of each story, tries to wrap it up in a little bow while shifting her tone for the take-home part of the story, like the cheesy music at the end of a romantic comedy that makes you think everything will end up swell again.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2008

    A great book-on-tape

    My daughter (22) and I listened to this book on tape while driving 2,000 miles cross-country. We both loved it -- laughed and cried -- I am a very politically liberal Christian and she is not religious, but a writer who appreciates great writing. I LOVED reading reviews from other readers who are very conservative but also loved this book: we can join together in valuing Lamott's wise and funny appreciation of God, her fellow humans (she tries hard to love & forgive Bush in spite of everything), and the strangeness & unpredictablility of our existence.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2007

    Yes, Disappointing

    This is the only Anne Lamott book I have read and I won't buy another. There were amusing moments but though I am not a Bush fan I am disappointed by the hatred she expresses over and over. How can a professed Christian be so mean spirited?

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2005

    Recommended to anyone questioning the sanity of life

    I read this book in one day because I couldn't put it down. Each chapter spoke to my heart, mind and soul in a way that's completely Anne Lamott. If you're ever questioning the sanity of life, this book is for you too. A real winner!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2013

    There are too many Anne Lamotts in the world, all of them trying

    There are too many Anne Lamotts in the world, all of them trying hard to be profound while being cute. Perhaps if she ever read
    Tacitus and Suetonius, who recorded the truly ghastly last days of the Roman Empire, she would not be so defeated by the puerile follies and
    and stupidities of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice and the rest.  Like the Roman Empire the American Empire is on its way out, and certain Roman
    senators simply went home and quietly opened their veins, so as to get it over with as quickly and quietly as possible. But they were mostly 
    Stoics.  Anne L and her clones are not Stoics; they are whiney, spoiled to death, middle-class children whose lives have not come up to the level of what they think
    they deserve, so they take refuge in alcohol, drugs, and self-pity. I hate to think that this woman thinks of herself as a Christian, but it does seem to me,
    following Kierkegaard's "Attack on Christendom," that the American church is now such a piece of hopeless fluff as not to deserve any commendations whatsoever.  Probably the
    last serious Christians were the members of the Confessing Church, like Bonhoeffer and Niemoller, who died for their faith in a distinctly non-whiny way under Hitler's regime.
    Speaking of Nazi Germany, it appears to me completely tragic that American 'Christians' like Lamott seem not to perceive the level of
    fascism America has now attained to, or the fact that as a totalitarian system, it is now the scourge of the world.  Iraq and Afghanistan are far
    from being our only victims, just the most recent.  And Goebbel's "Big Lie" is now firmly ensconsed in the American media in all
    its lying forms.
       My advice to Ms. Lamott is to lay down her pen and do something useful in the world, like clean kitchens, scrub toilets, or teach
    second graders how to sound out words.  Maybe, when she can undo those unbelievably horrible dreadlocks and look around her more clearly, she'll get an idea of how she can be useful at last.

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  • Posted February 17, 2009

    Great read.

    I love Anne Lamott and have enjoyed all of her books. This one is no exception. She's witty, honest, and candid.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2006

    faith and trust in God

    I though your book was right at the point, but, how can you be a christian and hate at the same time? there is a conflict there. Bush is no fan of minds. I enjoyed the book. keep up the wook.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2005

    Anne's Got It Goin' On

    The fact that Anne Lamott hates Bush as much as she does makes me love her all the more. I am a patriot, a Christian, and a mother, and I think this country has gone far off course with this president. We need writers like Anne Lamott. We need writers who are Christians, and not war hawks and not blindly following anyone who says the 'right' things and then acts in a way that proves the true character. Lamott is one of the important writers of our day. She 'gets it.' I own all her books now, and will buy her next one, too. The only downside for me in reading her work is the awful feeling once I finish one of her books that I'm never going to find anything else that good to read. Keep writing, Anne!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2005

    Untie the Knot

    Anne Lamont is an interesting egg, and a tough one to crack. She has an extremely charismatic writing voice - as powerful and utterly captivating as ¿My Fractured Life¿ or ¿The Glass Castle¿. But how she uses that voice is decisively different. Singing to a left wing harmony she writes of a knotted up life, a life that is unpretty and filled with conflict. Subjects range from mid-life hormones to parenting her teenager, all coming full circle to her spiritual search. There is no balance to Lamont¿s writing. It jumps back and forth, up and down like a see-saw. That¿s what makes her odd assembly of essays so utterly captivating. If you enjoyed ¿My Fractured Life¿ and ¿The Glass Castle¿ this is a great compliment.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2005

    Stunning!

    Like all Lamott's work this is absolutely gorgeous! Thought provoking, well written, laugh out loud funny and unbearably sad. I'm sorry I finished, I have this book on my bedside table to read again.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2005

    A terrible book from a great author

    I loved Traveling Mercies so I was very excited about this new book. I was highly disappointed with her attitude and her bitterness. I could handle the fact that she is adamently against President Bush however her need to weave that hate into almost every single story she told went a little far. She was so whiny and so angry, I felt uncomfortable reading some of her stories. I felt like her views on what it means to be a Christian are also highly skewed.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2005

    What a great follow up to Traveling Mercies

    What a terrific follow up to her last book, Traveling Mercies. She is just as spiritual, just as funny, and just as real! I laughed out loud throughout the book. A follower of her writing will welcome the updates on Sam and Father Tom. Reader beware..followers of the 'George Bush philosophy' will not find this book at all amusing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2005

    Not the Usual Great Anne

    I have found Anne's other books inspiring, heart-warning and very human. Therefore, this book was a tremendous let-down. Although she is still a good craftswoman, in this book she seems to come from a place of anger and bitterness. She doesn't like her weight or her age much, she is happy her mother is dead because her own life is better, she whines because her son is 'mean' to her and doesn't understand her (he is 13!), and she despises G. W. Bush to the extent that he is poisoning her life. This book is definitely not vintage Anne - wry, funny and warm. Too bitter, too petty, too self-obsessed.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2005

    Another Lamott Winner!

    Annie Lamott is a rare gift to readers. I love her courage, intelligence, honest humor, depth of heart and fine writing talent. Buying her book, I know that I will be alternating between tears and laughter (and sometimes both). I know I will be touched, entertained AND inspired. I pause before the next chapter, knowing that I will be venturing into a different emotion or thought-line than the previous one. Will I read now or be surprised later? So interactive! But most of all, Annie is about heart and love and grace manuvering through this world in our lives and I appreciate sharing the path with her. Great follow-up book to Traveling Mercies (or intro to). P.S. If you are a believer in Bush and will bite off the head of anyone who isn't, you'll be eating this book. Personally, I appreciate her courage to put her truth into the world as a free American human being.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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