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Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faithby Anne Lamott
Anne Lamott's books give me the sensation of a refreshing spring rain. Suddenly, everything looks clean, bright, and just plain noticeable again. Her surprising turns of phrase, her wit, and her ability to write with a light but insightful hand make this collection of essays a joy.
Synopses & Reviews
The world, community, the family, the human heart: these are the beautiful and complicated arenas in which our lives unfold. Wherever you look, there’s trouble and wonder, pain and beauty, restoration and darkness — sometimes all at once.
Yet amid the confusion, if you look carefully, in nature or in the kitchen, in ordinariness or in mystery, beyond the emotion muck we all slog through, you’ll find it eventually: a path, some light to see by, moments of insight, courage, or buoyancy. In other words, grace.
Anne Lamott knows and lives by this belief, most of the time. In Grace (Eventually), her brilliant new collection, she recounts the missteps, detours, and roadblocks in her walk of faith.
It's been and erratic journey, and some days go better than others. "I wish grace and healing were more abracadabra kinds of things," she writes. "Also, that delicate silver bells would ring to announce grace’s arrival. But no, it's clog and slog and scotch, on the floor, in the silence, in the dark."
In Grace (Eventually), Lamott describes how she copes. The challenges seem alternately inconsequential and insurmountable — the anger engendered by an obstinate carpet salesman or president; the engulfing envy at friend's professional success; the bewilderment at discovering that a child has grown up or that a friend wants to die on his own terms — and they are also universal.
Wise and irreverent, poignant and funny, Grace (Eventually) is a primer in faith, as we come to discover what it means to be fully human and alive.
"It would be easy to mistake this book for more of the same. Like Lamott's earlier spiritual nonfiction, Traveling Mercies and Plan B, it's a collection of essays, mostly previously published. The three books have strikingly similar covers and nearly identical subtitles. The familiar topics are here — Mom; her son, illness; death; addictions; Jesus; Republicans — as is the zany attitude. Not that repetitiveness matters; Lamott's faithful fans would line up to buy her shopping lists. But these recent essays show a new mellowness: 'I don't hate anyone right now, not even George W. Bush. This may seem an impossibility, but it is true, and indicates the presence of grace or dementia, or both.' With gentle wisdom refining her signature humor, Lamott explores helpfulness, decency, love and especially forgiveness. She explains the change: 'Sometimes I act just as juvenile as I ever did, but as I get older, I do it for shorter periods of time. I find my way back to the path sooner, where there is always one last resort: get a glass of water and call a friend.' Here's hoping that grace eventually persuades this older, wiser Lamott that her next nonfiction book should be wholly original." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Lamott is most effective when talking about her spiritual beliefs and how they developed over time....Constant references to her sobriety, weight issues, and curly hair are getting a bit repetitious after the two other books, but it's part of her charm, and fans won't be disappointed." Library Joyurnal
"It is true that Lamott has been mining the same themes for quite a while. And she does rely on similar motifs, such as sorting things out on long walks with her dog on Mount Tamalpais....What keeps me coming back is the writing — the imaginative imagery, the telling metaphors, the clever turns of phrase imbued with passion, heart and wit." San Francisco Chronicle
"When much of a book is drawn from previously published work...there is a risk that a regular reader will be disappointed. Not so here. Re-read as a collection, these earlier online and magazine pieces combine for a greater weight, like so many coins saved up to buy something long awaited." Seattle Times
"What makes Lamott's writing powerful isn't her unconventional faith. Rather, it's the profound message about God's grace and redemption often lurking underneath all the carping, poor me whining and brutal honesty." Chicago Sun-Times
"Lamott...follows in the tradition of the most authentic spiritual mentors of the last 50 years, among them Thomas Merton and Henri Nouwen." Charlotte Observer
"I had the same initial reaction to this book that I always have to Lamott's work. I began with a suspicion that her pieces were going to be too obvious, too sentimental, and then found myself suddenly disarmed by an unexpected turn of phrase, a flash of humor or a psychological insight." Los Angeles Times
The sharp, funny, and heartfelt follow-up to her bestselling Plan B, Anne Lamott's newest collection is a personal exploration of the faith and grace all around us.
"Lamott has chronicled her wacky and (sometimes) wild adventures in faith in...the wonderful Grace (Eventually)." (Chicago Sun-Times)
In Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith, the author of the bestsellers Traveling Mercies and Plan B delivers a poignant, funny, and bittersweet primer of faith, as we come to discover what it means to be fully alive.
About the Author
Anne Lamott is the author of the bestsellers Traveling Mercies, Operating Instructions, and Bird by Bird, as well as six novels, including Crooked Little Heart and Rosie. Her column in Salon magazine was voted Best of the Web by Newsweek. A past recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, Lamott lives in northern California.
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