Grace (Eventually), by Anne Lamott

There just aren’t words for how much I love Anne Lamott.

The other day I heard Shelagh Rogers on Sounds Like Canada interviewing Heather Mallick about her new book Cake or Death (which you’ll probably see me reviewing here, eventually).  They got talking about writers they like, and one of them mentioned Anne Lamott.

“Oh I love Anne Lamott!” swooned Heather.

Love her!” agreed Shelagh.

“And you know what? She’s — a Christian!!” Heather confided, in tones of shock and awe.

“I know! A Christian!!” Shelagh concurred. 

Here they were, these two cool, smart, funny, left-wing, middle-aged women, gobsmacked at the thought that cool, smart, funny, left-wing, middle-aged Anne Lamott is (gasp) a Christian.

See, that’s the kind of Christian I want to be — the kind who is so cool, people are surprised to find out I’m a Christian.  And I don’t think that’s actually a very worthy goal.  But it’s undeniable that Anne Lamott is almost single-handedly responsible for demonstrating that in this age of political and religious polarization, you can be intelligent, funny, a liberal, use the f-word, and also believe in Jesus and do your best to follow Him.

Not all Christians like Anne Lamott, probably because of those left-wing politics and those f-words.  Not all secular people like Anne Lamott because they can’t all handle the way she keeps slipping Jesus into her funny, self-deprecating reflections on otherwise inoffensive topics such as body image, parenting a teenager, and learning not to hate George W. Bush too much.  Also, some people don’t like her because she is so incredibly self-obsessed.

But I love her, as do millions of others, because she’s all these things, and she’s so profoundly open and honest about them — including the fact that she’s self-obsessed.  Even when I disagree with her, I love to read her writing.  Anne Lamott always makes me laugh, and always makes me think.  Grace (Eventually) is in much the same vein as Traveling Mercies and Plan B, and I enjoyed it as much.   My only complaint — as always, too short.  I bought it on Tuesday and, with great effort, saved it as a treat to read over Sabbath.  I started after supper Friday night and finished it Saturday morning before church — leaving me with nothing to do on the rest of Saturday but sit down and read it all over again. Which I did.



Filed under Nonfiction -- memoir

7 responses to “Grace (Eventually), by Anne Lamott

  1. I lo-oved Anne Lamott in “Traveling Mercies” so much so that I bought about 10 books and gave them to everyone I knew, and photocopied pages from her book and taped them around my house. I was s0 excited when Plan B came out, but was so dissapointed. I felt that she was riding on her popularity a bit, and didn’t put the same magic into it; that she spent too much of the book expressing her depression over our political situation and, even though I agree with her, it struck me as too much, too often, and too whiney.

    So when I say she had another, I felt excited and wary. Given all that, would you recommend it to me?

  2. I don’t think anything she writes is really going to recapture the freshness of Traveling Mercies — it was so original, so “new” that even if the sequels had been just as good, there would have been the sense that something was missing. I know other readers who found her political whining a little overwhelming in Plan B. There’s less of that in Grace (Eventually). And I didn’t find it whiny … I think you should give it a try, and then tell me what you think!

  3. I love Anne Lamott so much exactly for the reasons you listed as reasons why people may not like her (and because of her great writing). I love her for those “left-wing politics and those f-words” and because of “the way she keeps slipping Jesus into her funny, self-deprecating reflections on otherwise inoffensive topics”. Oh yeah, love, love, love her. (You know her son is part of the reason my son is named Sam.)

  4. I feel the same way as Catherine about “Plan B”…I liked it, but it was a bit much in the Bush-whacking (even if I can do my share of Bush-whacking myself.)

    I wasn’t aware she had another one out, so it is definitely one that I’ll read. I think Traveling Mercies inspired me to start blogging. I’m not sure how to articulate the connection, but somewhere I saw that the honesty in that book connected with a desire in me to be able to be that transparent and also made me think that writing might be a path to such transparency. Then the honesty got too painful and I started censoring myself. I still haven’t found the balance that will allow me to write and still post it for people to see.

    But hey, I’m only 37…I’ve got time to figure it out.

  5. it’s true… Anne Lamott has done Christians a great service by dispelling the myth that all Christians are wingnuts.
    And she’s honest. Her honesty makes for compelling reading. That’s what we need to be, as Christians, with each other. Just honest.

  6. Anne Lammott is great—both for pure writing and for her passion, ideas and practical faith. I read “Grace (Eventually)” on a couple of plane trips over the weekend and—like Trudy—was unhappy only at arriving at the back cover too soon.
    Having read her previous two in this style, you know what you’re going to get. And it is both real and good.
    Christianity and the world need more writers who can articulately call it how it is, at the same time as drawing on the fractured beauty of life.

  7. You can use the f-word and still be a Christian????

    Are you sure?


    Oh, and “wingnuts.” “Bush-whacking.” Hee hee. I love our language.

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