New York Times" Bestseller
From the bestselling author of "Stitches "and "Help, Thanks, Wow "comes her long-awaited collection of new and selected essays on hope, joy, and grace. Read more...
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New York Times" Bestseller
From the bestselling author of "Stitches "and "Help, Thanks, Wow "comes her long-awaited collection of new and selected essays on hope, joy, and grace.
Anne Lamott writes about faith, family, and community in essays that are both wise and irreverent. It s an approach that has become her trademark. Now in "Small Victories," Lamott offers a new message of hope that celebrates the triumph of light over the darkness in our lives. Our victories over hardship and pain may seem small, she writes, but they change us our perceptions, our perspectives, and our lives. Lamott writes of forgiveness, restoration, and transformation, how we can turn toward love even in the most hopeless situations, how we find the joy in getting lost and our amazement in finally being found.
Profound and hilarious, honest and unexpected, the stories in "Small Victories "are proof that the human spirit is irrepressible."
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-09-22
- Reviewer: Staff
Lamott (Help, Thanks, Wow) returns with an essay collection that tackles tough subjects with sensitive and unblinking honesty. Her subject matter is often dark, deriving from the travails of aging and mortality that Lamott, who is now 60, has observed in recent years. Most of the essays involve people Lamott knows who are either dead or suffering from a terminal disease: her best friend who had cancer; her friends’ two-year-old daughter with cystic fibrosis; her mother with Alzheimer’s, to name a few. But even when considering these hardships, Lamott remains optimistic. Every essay offers a revelation, often tied to her Christian faith. Sometimes she drifts toward clichés, as when she learns, on a hike with a sick friend, that “getting found almost always means being lost for a while.” At her best, Lamott is refreshingly frank, admitting that she doesn’t want a passionate relationship as much as she wants “someone to text all day and watch TV with.” She also has the rare ability to weave bracing humor seamlessly with earnest, Christian faith, observing, “Jesus was soft on crime. He’d never have been elected anything” in an essay about teaching prisoners how to tell their stories. But the book’s best insights are subtle, like the thought, on a beach vacation, that heaven must be like snorkeling: “dreamy, soft, bright, quiet.” Agent: Sarah Chalfant, Wylie Agency. (Nov.)
Pearls of hard-won wisdom
How much of an understatement is it to say that we need inspiration in this day and age? When the world is riven with war, pestilence and those other horsemen of the Apocalypse, a bit of hopefulness is just the thing.
AN EXTRAORDINARY LIFE AND LEGEND
The late Louis Zamperini—the Olympic athlete and war hero who died in July at age 97—was indeed an inspiration. He wrote about his POW nightmare in Devil at My Heels, and Laura Hillenbrand chronicled his experiences in the bestseller Unbroken. In the last book from Zamperini, Don’t Give Up, Don’t Give In: Lessons from an Extraordinary Life, co-written with David Rensin, he mines his experiences for advice that will encourage others. Even as a young man, he had the gumption to turn his excess energy into something positive and became a champion athlete. His ebullience led him to set up camps for delinquent boys. In his twilight years, Zamperini carried the Olympic torch and went skateboarding. He also fully appreciated getting hugs from Angelina Jolie, whose film of Unbroken opens on Christmas Day.
THE POWER TO FORGIVE
Thank goodness for Anne Lamott. Her writing style, both unfussy and diaphanous, her congeniality, loopy humor and dogged optimism are balms. Her latest book, Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace is a gem. In addition to hope, she also brings anger, even rage, and uses it like a finely honed weapon. Because of her rage—at ridiculous men found on match.com, at politicians both heartless and gormless, at perfect, stay-at-home moms who wear size 0 and run around in biker shorts, at her rather grotesque mother, long-dead father and the state of the world in general—much of the book also focuses on forgiveness. Forgiveness may be a useful thing, she says, but people often need to be dragged to it kicking and screaming. According to Lamott, forgiveness probably needs one of those improbable moments of grace to happen at all. Surely, when it comes to questions of faith, Lamott is to essay writing what Marilynne Robinson is to fiction. Awesome.
ABOVE & BEYOND
Eric Metaxas, author of Miracles: What They Are, Why They Happen, and How They Can Change Your Life, certainly believes in miracles, those eruptions of the ineffable into the mundane. He has no patience with those who think what the human being can discern with five senses is all there is. The miracles Metaxas writes of here range from the spectacular to what can be called “miracle light.” One of his acquaintances, a very British, High Church Anglican type, sees 50-foot angels in full battle rattle. Others see an incandescent Jesus or are healed at the last minute from deathly illnesses. Metaxas has no use for subtlety; these miracles only happen through the intercession of Jesus. But his writing, and the miracles he describes, encourage all of us to ponder the possible.