TRAVELING MERCIES by Anne Lamott

TRAVELING MERCIES

Some Thoughts on Faith

KIRKUS REVIEW

Brutally honest, sometimes funny vignettes about affirming faith and community in the midst of drug-induced angst. Novelist Lamott’s third autobiographical book (Operating Instructions, 1993; Bird by Bird, 1994) follows her usual pattern of cutting wit and wretched frankness. This memoir, though, is more spiritual than religious: Like many in her boomer generation, Lamott doesn’t hold much truck with churches but has found a meaningful congregation all the same. It is a small, interracial community which lovingly incorporates pariah elements. Lamott circuitously chronicles finding the church (for months, she stayed only for the music, leaving before the sermon) just as she approached a crossroads in her life, finally admitting her alcoholism and other addictions, and starting out on the long road to sobriety (these chapters are among the book’s most chilling, along with her struggles to overcome body-loathing and bulimia). When she was on the verge of becoming a single mom in the late 1980s, the church truly came through for her, with members slipping ten- and twenty-dollar bills into her pockets after Sunday services. Lamott remains an active participant, demanding that her son, Sam, attend church with her most weeks. “I make him because I can,” she explains. “I outweigh him by nearly seventy-five pounds.” Lamott also takes refuge in a wide assortment of friends, many of whom have to deal with life-threatening illnesses as the narrative moves along. In the face of these tragedies, Lamott is refreshingly silent about questions of theodicy, choosing instead just to be there for people in need. Friendship, she claims, is the best salve for anyone’s pain, anyhow. She should know; she’s obviously been through a lot of it. Still, nothing here is self-indulgent. An anguishing account that also heals.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-679-44240-5
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Pantheon
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 1998




ANNE LAMOTT:

Nonfiction SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED by Anne Lamott
by Anne Lamott
Fiction IMPERFECT BIRDS by Anne Lamott
by Anne Lamott
Nonfiction PLAN B by Anne Lamott
by Anne Lamott
Fiction BLUE SHOE by Anne Lamott
by Anne Lamott

MORE BY ANNE LAMOTT

NonfictionSTITCHES by Anne Lamott
by Anne Lamott
NonfictionHELP, THANKS, WOW by Anne Lamott
by Anne Lamott
NonfictionSOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED by Anne Lamott
by Anne Lamott

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

NonfictionSTILL by Lauren F. Winner
by Lauren F. Winner
IndieGO FIND MY STORY by Sandy Landry
by Sandy Landry
IndieDRINKING TO DISTRACTION by Jenna Hollenstein
by Jenna Hollenstein