Rosie

( 3 )

Overview

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 ...

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Overview

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.

The story of indomitable nine year-old Rosie Ferguson and her mother, Elizabeth, who leans unsteadily over the edge of malaise and alcoholism.

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
Rosie is a masterpiece, Anne Lamott is a novelist of genius. (Los Angeles Times) A fine novel. (The New Yorker) A strong, funny, and memorably original novel. (Alice Adams) Anne Lamott is an original; a bright, resh voice. (San Francisco Chronicle)"
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140264791
  • Publisher: Viking Penguin
  • Publication date: 5/1/1997
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 627,082
  • Product dimensions: 7.56 (w) x 5.04 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Grace (Eventually), Plan B, Traveling Mercies and Operating Instructions, as well as seven novels, including Rosie and Crooked Little Heart. A past recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, 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

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2000

    Ho-Hum

    If you can get through the first 200 pages without throwing it out the window or tearing it to shreads - the story finally becomes heart warming and loving. If you like reading about children in unhealthy home environments, sex, drugs, alcoholism and enjoy being depressed then this is the book for you. If you prefer to walk away from your reading experience with a feeling of pleasure, insightfulness and inspiration - then stay clear. Anne Lamott shoves down your throat for 200 pages neglect, selfishness, a lack of commitment and direction and a mother's misguided sense of love and devotion to her child.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted June 4, 2010

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    Posted May 12, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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