“Anne Lamott is my Oprah.” —Chicago Tribune
The New York Times bestseller from the author of Almost Everything and Bird by Bird, a powerful exploration of mercy and how we can embrace it.
"Mercy is radical kindness," Anne Lamott writes in her enthralling and heartening book, Hallelujah Anyway. It's the permission you give others—and yourself—to forgive a debt, to absolve the unabsolvable, to let go of the judgment and pain that make life so difficult.
In Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy Lamott ventures to explore where to find meaning in life. We should begin, she suggests, by "facing a great big mess, especially the great big mess of ourselves." It's up to each of us to recognize the presence and importance of mercy everywhere—"within us and outside us, all around us"—and to use it to forge a deeper understanding of ourselves and more honest connections with each other. While that can be difficult to do, Lamott argues that it's crucial, as "kindness towards others, beginning with myself, buys us a shot at a warm and generous heart, the greatest prize of all."
Full of Lamott’s trademark honesty, humor and forthrightness, Hallelujah Anyway is profound and caring, funny and wise—a hopeful book of hands-on spirituality.
|Publisher:||Penguin Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||4.80(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.90(d)|
About the Author
Anne Lamott is the New York Times bestselling author of Hallelujah Anyway; Help, Thanks, Wow; Small Victories; Stitches; Some Assembly Required; Grace (Eventually); Plan B; Traveling Mercies; Bird by Bird; and Operating Instructions. She is also the author of several novels, including Imperfect Birds and Rosie. A past recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and an inductee to the California Hall of Fame, she lives in Northern California.
Date of Birth:1954
Place of Birth:San Francisco, California
Education:Attended Goucher College in Maryland before dropping out to write
Read an Excerpt
Being alive here on earth has always been a mixed grill at best, lovely, hard, and confusing. Good and bad things happen to good and bad people. That’s not much of a system: a better one would be a silverware drawer for joy, sorrows, doldrums, madness, ease. But no, Eden explodes and we enter a dangerous, terrifying world, the same place where goodness, love, and kind intelligence lift us so often. The world has an awful beauty. This is a chaotic place, humanity is a chaotic place, and I am a chaotic place.
Excerpted from "Hallelujah Anyway"
Copyright © 2017 Anne Lamott.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
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Table of Contents
1 The Mercy Workshop 1
2 Life Cycles 21
3 Gold Leaf 43
4 Destination 65
5 Impatiens 87
6 Planes 105
7 As is 123
8 Mostly 139
9 The Open Drawer 159
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Perhaps I'm not quite ready for this one. Love all her other books, but this one seemed forced.
One of the best books that I have ever read since Author R.A. Clark's "When God Stopped Keeping Score." Amazing. Just amazing.
Good short read with plenty of nuggets to think about!
I like this author, but this is not my favorite of her books. It has its moments.
Ms. Lamont’s earlier book, Traveling Mercies, was a reflection upon her new experiences of mercy (unmerited kindness). Therein she was transparent in regards to her woundedness, her self-medicating in hopes of finding relief from her pain and her amazement that there is kindness large enough to hold such hurt for a duration sufficient to restore her. She learned that all it takes for such an occurrence is one willing to face the terror of both the pain and the hope of healing. In this latest book, eighteen years later after the above mentioned earlier work, and she continues the sense of awe and amazement that this indescribable gift (mercy) continues to be so freely available to those so in need of it. It must be noted that this book is not as cohesive as her earlier works. This seems to be due to the respective process of writing each book – her earlier works were penned with the sole focus of topic. Her present work has the feel of being a collection of essays apparently gleaned from her blog posts, whose common thread is the nature, presence and continuing work of mercy in the world. The author, a self-avowed Christ-follower (one who freely admits her many short-comings and flaws) sees mercy as unlimited and all inclusive. To hear this truth boldly asserted is worth the effort to read these writings. She is experienced in seeing the generosity of kindness and articulate in relating where it appears as well as how to be present to, welcoming of and a partner to mercy in our common existence. The essays were unevenly written. Some had the feel of being “reworked” to fit the focus of the work. Others (“Destinations” and “Impatiens”) originated from a moment of such clarity about Mercy that they seem almost “Psalmic” in their prose. As can be expected of an author who is as present and “real” as Ms. Lamont. There are places where she uses anything but “Church” language when speaking of the life-shaping effects of Mercy. There is a rhythm to her writing that lends a depth of sincerity. This is not her best work, it is still worth the effort to read it, to ponder where one has found mercy, when one can be merciful and to celebrate the truth that Shakespeare voiced so well: “The quality of mercy is not strain'd, It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest; It blesseth him that gives and him that takes. . .” (The Merchant of Venice; IV:1)
Anne Lamott has been my favorite writer for quite a while and this is one of her best. For anyone that has had life kick them in the gut a few times this book is a beautiful, gentle, humorous path back to believing God is still good and that we are capable of more than we know.
Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy by Anne Lamott is a so-so exploration of mercy, as radical kindness. Lamott says: Mercy is radical kindness. Mercy means offering or being offered aid in desperate straits. Mercy is not deserved. It involves forgiving the debt, absolving the unabsolvable. Mercy, grace, forgiveness, and compassion are synonyms, and the approaches we might consider taking when facing a great big mess, especially the great big mess of ourselves—our arrogance, greed, poverty, disease, prejudice. It includes everything out there that just makes us sick and makes us want to turn away, the idea of accepting life as it presents itself and doing goodness anyway, the belief that love and caring are marbled even into the worst life has to offer. Drawing on her own experiences on how difficult it is to extend mercy and accept it in the real world, Lamott uses plenty of personal examples and stories along with Biblical stories to support her thoughts. "When we manage a flash of mercy for someone we don’t like, especially a truly awful person, including ourselves, we experience a great spiritual moment, a new point of view that can make us gasp." She shares a few good examples of the difficulty of extending mercy to some of the especially unlovable people you might come across in your life, but also the same difficulty in extending mercy in disagreements with those you truly care about. This is not her best work and it fell flat for me. It sort of felt like she phoned this one in and stretched the reach of some of the stories in order to make them apply to the point she wanted to illustrate. I agree with some of her conclusions and thoughts, but ultimately reject how she expressed herself in several instances in this book. Additionally, I've heard plenty of colorful language during my life, but it didn't feel all of the usage was entirely appropriate or needed when used in Hallelujah Anyway. Of course, I can extend mercy and ignore the language in multiple instances. But why were the multiple usages necessary to begin with? Finally, when she describes Jesus as getting "pissy" in his reaction, she lost me entirely. There are so many more appropriate and descriptive words in the English language, so why go low? Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of the Penguin Publishing Group.