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Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faithby Anne Lamott
Readers of Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith, Lamott's previous book on spirituality, will find here the same thoughtfulness and humor we've come to love. Whether writing about battles with her son, her mother's death, the church she's found to be home, or her loathing of George W. Bush, Lamott's irreverence and wit doesn't disappoint.
Synopses & Reviews
Anne Lamott claims the two best prayers she knows are: "Help me, help me, help me" and "Thank you, thank you, thank you." She has a friend whose morning prayer each day is "Whatever," and whose evening prayer is "Oh, well." Anne thinks of Jesus as "Casper the friendly savior" and describes God as "one crafty mother."
Despite — or because of — her irreverence, faith is a natural subject for Anne Lamott. Since Operating Instructions and Bird by Bird, her fans have been waiting for her to write the book that explained how she came to the big-hearted, grateful, generous faith that she so often alluded to in her two earlier nonfiction books. The people in Anne Lamott's real life are like beloved characters in a favorite series for her readers — her friend Pammy, her son, Sam, and the many funny and wise folks who attend her church are all familiar. And Traveling Mercies is a welcome return to those lives, as well as an introduction to new companions Lamott treats with the same candor, insight, and tenderness.
Lamott's faith isn't about easy answers, which is part of what endears her to believers as well as nonbelievers. Against all odds, she came to believe in God and then, even more miraculously, in herself. As she puts it, "My coming to faith did not start with a leap but rather a series of staggers." At once tough, personal, affectionate, wise, and very funny, Traveling Mercies tells in exuberant detail how Anne Lamott learned to shine the light of faith on the darkest part of ordinary life, exposing surprising pockets of meaning and hope.
"Squeezing every last drop of meaning out of even the smallest things, Lamott writes agilely about such watershed events as the deaths of her father and closest woman friend, and the birth of her son and life as a single mother, all the while tracing her slow crawl back to faith with wonder, gratitude, and an irrepressible love of a good story." Booklist, Donna Seaman
"Hallelujah...a refreshing sense of humanity that has you guffawing on one page and bawling on the next." Thomas Fields-Meyer, People Magazine
"...[C]ontributes to a growing literature of self-disclosure by women that unites the worlds of feminism and addiction..." Women's Review of Books
"[She is] sidesplittingly funny, patiently wise, and alternately cranky and kind." Seattle Times
"Anne Lamott is a cause for celebration. [Her] real genius lies in capturing the ineffable, describing not perfect moments, but imperfect ones...perfectly. She is nothing short of miraculous." The New Yorker
"Lamott writes about subjects that begin with capital letters (alcoholism, motherhood, Jesus). But armed with self-effacing humor and ruthless honesty?call it a lower-case approach to life's Big Questions?she converts potential op-ed boilerplate into enchantment." Newsweek
"Smart, funny, and comforting...Lamott has a conversational style that perfectly conveys her friendly, self-deprecating humor." The Los Angeles Times
"Lamott's greatest gift is making [readers] feel their own imperfect lives are worth salvaging, that it's okay to be bitchy, confused and selfish." Book Magazine
"Like many in her boomer generation, Lamott doesn't hold much truck with churches but has found a meaningful congregation all the same....Nothing here is self-indulgent. An anguishing account that also heals." Kirkus Reviews
"Exuberant and captivating....Shifts from laugh-out-loud wisecracks to heart-wrenching poignancy. At one point she seems a reincarnation of Erma Bombeck; at other, she could be Annie Dillard or Kathleen Norris." Chicago Tribune
"Even at her most serious, she never takes herself or her spirituality too seriously. Lamott is a narrator who has relished and soaked up the details of her existence, equally of mirth and devastation, spirit and grief, and spilled them onto her pages." The New York Times Book Review
"You'll love Traveling Mercies for Lamott's unblinking confrontation with God's love, and you'll buy copies for all your friends struggling with faith." USA Today
"Compares with the witty and moving Christian apologetics of C. S. Lewis.... Lamott is a fine writer who combines theology with humor, compassion, and practicality." The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
"Applies passion, wisdom, and intensity to a scorchingly personal look at the road from spiritual apathy to ardent belief.... Traveling Mercies, like Ms. Lamott herself, is a consistent delight." Dallas Morning News
"Lamott has developed an entirely new genre of religious writing. Gritty, stark, and humorous, she catches the reader by surprise when she points her pen heavenward.... Anne Lamott [is] the patron saint of struggling sinners, a woman who loves God enough to be divinely human." Religion News Service
A chronicle of faith and spirituality that is at once tough, personal, affectionate, wise, and very funny. Anne Lamott claims the best two prayers she knows are "Help me, help me, help me" and "Thank you, thank you, thank you." Despite — or because of — her irreverence and wit, faith is a natural subject for Lamott. With an exuberant mix of passion, insight, and humor, in Traveling Mercies she takes us on a journey through her often troubled past to illuminate her devout but quirky walk of faith. In a narrative spiced with stories and scripture, with diatribes, laughter, and tears, Lamott tells how, against all odds, she came to believe in God and then, even more miraculously, in herself.
Whether writing about her family or her dreadlocks, sick children or old friends, the most religious women of her church or the men she's dated, she shows us the myriad ways her faith sustains and guides her, shining light on the darkest part of ordinary life and exposing surprising pockets of meaning and hope.
About the Author
Anne Lamott is the author of Operating Instructions and Bird by Bird, and of five novels, including Rosie and Crooked Little Heart. She lives in northern California with her son.
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