Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Review: Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott

Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott
Reviewed by Ingrid

Published: 1999

It's about: This book is a series of essays documenting Anne Lamott's conversion to and experiences within Christianity, especially those surrounding alcoholism, drug addiction, bulimia, and the birth and raising of her son Sam.

I thought: I didn't expect to enjoy this book because, I admit, I read it for a class and it didn't pique my interest right away. This bit near the beginning especially put me off: " ... if I'd had her stylish mother, with the wonderful cleavage showing like the bottom of a baby in her low necklines." Not a huge fan of that little simile. Yet, as I continued reading, Lamott's deeply honest narrative started to grow on me. This woman has had to deal with some pretty crazy difficult stuff in her life. Somehow she manages to write about extremely personal and painful experiences in a light-hearted and amusing way, and I admire that. I ended up loving this book and would love to read more of her.
Also, I looked up Anne Lamott on Wikipedia, and I couldn't help but love this quote from her about writing:
I try to write the books I would love to come upon, that are honest, concerned with real lives, human hearts, spiritual transformation, families, secrets, wonder, craziness—and that can make me laugh. When I am reading a book like this, I feel rich and profoundly relieved to be in the presence of someone who will share the truth with me, and throw the lights on a little, and I try to write these kinds of books. Books, for me, are medicine.
Seeing a woman such as Lamott go through tough times with such a deep sense of herself and quick sense of humor certainly "threw the lights on" for me. Anne Lamott seems like one of those crazy moms you think is hilarious and secretely admire. Plus she has dreads. That's just awesome.
Verdict: Stick it on the shelf.

Reading Recommendations: For some reason I feel like moms love Anne Lamott, because she talks so much about motherhood and has such a great sense of humor about it. Yet I'm not a mom and I still liked it.

Warnings: Quite a bit of swearing, actually, but somehow it works.

Favorite excerpts:
I was nearly twenty when I finally understood that years before I was born, my mother had taken her invisible umbilical cord and tied it to my father's ankle. This is what many women were taught to do, because it gave them the illusion of power and connection, even though it turned out they weren't actually plugged in anymore to a real source of sustenance; they were just--let's face it--tied to some guy's ankle. 

What I'm reading next: Daring to Eat a Peach by Joseph Zeppetello