Blue Shoe

Blue Shoe

by Anne Lamott
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Blue Shoe by Anne Lamott

Mattie Ryder is a marvelously funny, well-intentioned, religious, sarcastic, tender, angry, and broke recently divorced mother of two young children. Then she finds a small rubber blue shoe--the kind you might get from a gumball machine--and a few other trifles that were left years ago in her deceased father's car. They seem to hold the secrets to her messy upbringing, and as she and her brother follow these clues to uncover the mystery of their past, she begins to open her heart to her difficult, brittle mother and the father she thought she knew. And with that acceptance comes an opening up to the possibilities of romantic love.

In a disarming blend of everyday life and the sublime, of reverence and irreverence, and of humor and grace, Anne Lamott speaks directly to our most closely held concerns, bringing comfort to anyone--all of us--whose family life can feel overwhelming and uncontainable.

Lamott's formidable storytelling gifts have gained her a large and passionate following, and anybody who has experienced the delightful humor and the canny understanding of her previous work will be similarly charmed by Blue Shoe.

Author Biography: Anne Lamott is the author of the national bestsellers Traveling Mercies, Bird by Bird, and Operating Instructions, as well as five novels, including Crooked Little Heart and Rosie. Her column in Salon magazine was voted the Best of the Web by Newsweek magazine, and she is a past recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781587243622
Publisher: Cengage Gale
Publication date: 12/27/2002
Series: Wheeler Hardcover Series
Edition description: LARGEPRINT
Pages: 430
Product dimensions: 6.38(w) x 9.24(h) x 0.97(d)

About the Author

Anne Lamott is the author of six novels including, Hard Laughter, Rosie, Joe Jones, All New People, and Crooked Little Heart, as well as three best-selling books of non-fiction, Operating Instructions,Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, and Traveling Mercies. Anne Lamott has been honored with a Guggenheim Fellowship, and she has taught at UC Davis, as well as at writing conferences across the country. Lamott's biweekly Salon Magazine online diary Word by Word was voted The Best of the Web by Time magazine. Filmmaker Freida Mock (who won an Academy Award for her documentary on Maya Lin) has made a documentary on Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird with Annie (1999). Her latest novel is The New York Times bestseller, Blue Shoe.


Fairfax, California

Date of Birth:


Place of Birth:

San Francisco, California


Attended Goucher College in Maryland before dropping out to write

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Blue Shoe 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
girlfromwvaKY More than 1 year ago
This is the story of Mattie Ryder. She is funny, full of good intentions, religious, sarcastic, tender, angry, broken. She is a recently divorced mother of 2 young children. When she finds a small rubber blue shoe- "the kind you might get from a gumball machine" -and a few other trinkets that were left years ago in her deceased father's car, she tries to uncover clues to the mystery of their past. She had a messy upbringing, with a brittle mother and a father she thought she knew. Mattie tries to open her heart to love her mother, and she tires to open up to the possibilities of a new romantic love. The premise of the book seemed promising. I have never read anything else by this author to compare it to another work, but i had problems getting through this book. The characters were at times confusing, and the story just seemed to keep expanding into areas one on the other. I had a hard time keeping up when it seemed like it wasn't flowing properly. I won't let it keep me from checking out other books by this author.
Jack96 More than 1 year ago
This is the first Anne Lamott book I have read. My niece loves her and was thrilled to get the book after I read it, but I really didn't identify with any of the characters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I am at least a decade behind most readers in discovering Anne Lamott, but she has fast become one of my all-time favorite writers. I admire her brutal honesty about herself (as in the nonfiction Operating Instructions). Reading her has empowered me to be more honest about myself. I also am taken with her casual buddy-buddy approach to her relationship with God. Blue Shoes was the first fiction book I've read by her and I deeply enjoyed it, with just a few reservations. She does write with poetic flair but occasionally seems to be straining to form her images or metaphors. E.g., 'the choir's notes hung in the air above them like fluttering moths.' Eeeew! Also, the pacing was a little off--way too much detail on some things, like the iguana Otis, and then too much was hurried over as the end approached. But her strongest suit is her ability to make people come to life for the reader, including herself, whether it be in her fiction or nonfiction. Her voice is extremely strong--Lamott is in the same room with me when I read her. I think she would be too high-maintenance to have as a friend but I love her as an author!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Anne Lamont is one of my favorite writers. A `slice of life¿ type of writer. `Traveling Mercies¿ was just that ¿ like journal entries pieced together. It was a good book. It took a while for this book, ¿Blue Shoe¿, to keep me engaged, and it was the point where I looked at the pages and said, I have to finish this book so I can move on to another. The plot was not much of a plot. But that was okay ¿ the only problem was when it climaxed with how Mattie finds out about the ¿Blue Shoe.¿ It felt forced and totally unrealistic. Like, come-on, get over with it. Why be so¿ `emo?¿ Or so¿ drama!?! Big deal! But¿ other than that, the cast of characters kept me reading although I had a hard time at first remembering the names of the characters. They weren¿t all visual like they usually are - and Anne usually writes vivid, well developed characters. But to me, I had a hard time keeping them in my head. So I cast the main ones. Mattie Ryder - Michelle Pfeiffer (although I doubt she¿s a size 12 which Mattie is in the book) Isa, Mattie¿s mother ¿ Anne Lamott herself (I don¿t know, she just looks the part) Mattie¿s brother ¿ Mark Rufallo (although he¿s too young) Harry, Mattie¿s son ¿ Angus T. Jones (from Two and Half Men but he¿s too old) Ella, Mattie¿s 2 year old daughter ¿ any cute little girl that bites her nails. Daniel, Mattie¿s love interest ¿ Doug Savant (from Desperate Housewives) Lewis (Isa¿s boyfriend) ¿ Morgan Freeman Yep, that¿s my cast. Anne, call me, lets do the movie! The book, like most of her books, had religious overtones ¿ although this one didn¿t pound you over the head with it. It was just enough to give characters character, and why they make some choices that they make ¿ guilt and all! It was enjoyable to read. It was easy to read. But it was long. It could have been cut by 100 pages. The end was sudden and it makes me wonder, did Anne Lamott just finish the book just to finish it? Or was it purposeful, as if to say, the characters still have a life to live and it doesn¿t just end here. I¿m not so inclined to recommend it as a great book, but it¿s a book you can read in bed while it rains. It¿s soothing, and every once in a while you¿ll pick it up, start where you left off, and follow Mattie like she¿s a friend of yours. If you haven¿t read any Anne Lamott books, then read Bird by Bird above all. It¿s her best!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I listened to this on audio which was the first book I have read/listened to by Anne Lamott. As others have mentioned, there was great development of the characters, with the exception of a bit much with the pets. I did often feel as if some areas were too long. I feel guilty when not finishing a book, so I did complete it (what else to do in the car on the way to/from work?). Maybe I did not enjoy it as much because I have not yet encountered some of the life experiences that Mattie was going through. I was so confused and frustrated at the end as I felt there were so many things unresolved. What happens with Mattie's mother? Her newly-discovered brother? Her mother's wedding to her deceased husband's lover? I found myself on this website looking for the sequel and found there is not one, right?
Guest More than 1 year ago
i loved lamott's traveling mercies and was looking forward to this novel. i find her writing compellingly beautiful and accurate (as it was here). but i found this novel boring, with a severe paucity of plot and over-abundance of characters. i'm all for character development, but i was annoyed by the paragraphs and pages devoted to discussion of mattie's cats, dog, and especially otis, the lizard. i disliked the sometimes sanctimonious religious discussions. i tired of mattie asking god for help and then sleeping with her ex-husband--a married man. i couldn't wait to finish this book--but for all the wrong reasons. it is easily 100 pages too long.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the first book I've read by Anne Lamott and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I listened to it on audio and it was hilarious. I was laughing out loud driving back & forth to work. I liked it very much and highly recommend it to anyone who appreciates women and humor.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Anne has given us a realistic portrayal of a middle aged white woman going through some drama. Mattie is likeable and the other characters are actively interesting. I didn't like the behavior of her son, but that's just my being a black mother. The story had a calming effect on me, but I was also excited about finding out the situation with her parents. Bottom Line: One to have in your collection.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Readers who complain that Blue Shoe isn't tightly plotted are right. However, Lamott's strength is in revealing characters and illuminating the little epiphanies of life. The kids in this book are wonderful - little persons with a wholeness that few writers manage to capture. The decline of Mattie's mother and her swings from heartbreak to impatience to loving acceptance are poignantly expressed. Anyone who has endured this painful progression into parenting a parent will be comforted by Lamott's honesty. Her theme, I think, is love and forgiveness, that no matter how weak and flawed, we are loved and lovable. I, too, found her sexual relationships too casual. But maybe her point is that we put too much emphasis on sexual morality, which is only one tiny part of human love.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This author was recommended to me and I am thrilled that I chose Blue Shoe as my first book of hers to read. I could totally realate with some of Mattie's hardships and how the blue shoe became her focus to get things straight.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Blue Shoe is far fetched at times, but interesting, colorfully written and human. The main characters are all flawed and struggling with mid-life changes and the stresses of taking care of the young and the aging while trying to find some time for their own lives. The setting in Northern California is lush and adds to the flavor of how the earth and our homes are connected to our growth or our decay.
Guest More than 1 year ago
1. No discernible plotline. What are we building toward here? If I wanted something to go on and on with no point to it, I have real life. 2. Main character is completely unlikable. Her husband cheats on her, she forgives him. He cheats again, WITH A STUDENT, she forgives him. She finally leaves him, then finds out he's been cheating again. She then continues to sleep with him, even after he remarries and has another baby. She also goes after another woman's husband (successfully, unfortunately). She whines. She cries. She has zero redeeming qualities. How can I care? I was DISAPPOINTED when she got the guy. 3. Aren't 1 and 2 enough? Don't waste your time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I couldn't get past Chapter 3. Maybe, I'm missing something here, however, the character annoyed me. The characters in this book reminds me of people who use their hardships as an excuse to be weak & whiney. I hope the author has written better books than this. I wish I could whine about wasting money on this book, then again, I'd be no different from the character.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book was very interesting. i enjoyed reading. I enjoyed reading this so much that my sister and i were fighting for it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It was hard to get involved with the life of the main character at first, but the more I read the more 'human' she became. By the end of the book I felt like I had a new friend. It was a delightful book about life without the fairy-tale ending, it was just an outcome of the decisions she made during her journey. I can't wait to read another Anne Lamont book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've read 71 pages and won't be reading further... the plot is thin and the pace unbearably slow. A depressing book, this is not one I would read as a pick me up. Perhaps it will get better towards the end, but the author has failed to get me that far.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have been an Anne Lamott fan for a long time, and have read several of her books multiple times just because she's so funny and honest and real. This last work, however, was a disappointment. In my opinion, not her best work- it's a sweet story but no plot to speak of. Difficult at times to stay with the story simply because nothing much ever really happened. Some key characters' actions left unexplained. I recommend her other books of both fiction and non-fiction, which are all superb, over this one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is simply a book about life's journey and the events and experiences that change us. It's about the choices we make and the consequences we live with. It's about an extremely loveable character, Mattie Ryder, and her rather messed up, gloomy life, through-out which she always seems to maintain a wry sense of humor. Now all in all the story is extremely slow paced, but, it's well-written and there are countless hidden wisdoms for you to discover. A book I recommend to the patient and particular. And if you're looking for a few other great titles, look no further than these, Buckland's Hot List: most creative, The Butterfly: A Fable (Singh); most engaging, The Alchemist (Coelho); most interesting, Life of Pi (Martel); most enlightening, 9-11 (Chomsky); most thrilling, The Lovely Bones: A Novel (Sebold); and finally, the most creative, engaging, interesting, enlightening and thrilling book of all, The Little Prince (Saint-Exupery). These are the books I'd recommend to my family, friends, students, and wife. There are many more, trust me, but these are the first that come to mind (for having left an impact slight or proud as it may be). If you have any questions, queries, or comments, or maybe even a title you think I should add to my list, please feel free to e-mail me. I'm always open to a good recommendation. Thanks for reading my brief but hopefully helpful review. Happy reading. Donald S. Buckland.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just read BLUE SHOE by Annie Lamott and let me tell you, it is a MUST READ. It was so very good. I would know Mattie on the street and for sure, Pauline. I would know the kids, Abby and her son, Mattie's father and certainly, Isa. I would know Mattie's new love and her old love, easily. I loved the story and I understand all of Mattie's struggles having been there so many times myself. I have always loved Ms. Lamott's books - all of them - but especially, BIRD BY BIRD. So if I see a book and it has her name on it, I know that I have to read it because her work is powerful and real.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was hesitant to begin this book, due to the description on the book jacket. The story sounded trite. Once I began reading, it was difficult to stop. The writing was superb, and definitely a story I could relate to. Looking forward to reading her other works.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book and ANYONE who has ever been divorced or has cared for aging parents would totally appreciate the main character's situation. The end was a bit predictable, but it's nice to see some people's children and parents not be perfect. Book makes you see that you never really stop "growing up."