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In Grace (Eventually) Anne Lamott shares her thoughts and experiences on faith, motherhood, politics, and activism. I felt I got another glimpse into her life in Northern California and I got to know more about her son Sam, her friends like Fr. Tom and Anne herself. It's like sitting at a kitchen table listening to a witty friend, with whom I sometimes disagree, relate her ups and downs and review her hard times with bad boyfriends, drugs and alcohol that didn't harden her. (An example of grace, huh?)
I love how honest and perceptive she is. She doesn't buy the cheap generalities we can be spoonfed.
One essay that was especially interesting for me to read was about Anne speaking at a conference in Washington DC. I was at that conference and I was there during this scene. She describes a Q&A session with Richard Rohr, Jim Wallis and Anne. It was going along and then a man asked about Christian progressives and abortion, which he opposed. That was a dramatic moment. Quite tense in fact. Both Rohr and Wallis were fair. They acknowledged how contentious this issue was and that there were too many abortions. Neither stated an opinion on whether it should be legal or not. They were quite diplomatic.
Anne was to as she states and I recall. Then later after taking another question, she returned to the abortion issue and elaborated on how she had had abortions and how she felt they were necessary at this point of her life. It got real tense. She was clearly going out on a limb. She seemed surprised that progressive citizens might not share her beliefs on this. In this book she goes into detail about the experience and how she felt during and after. It is worth reading.
I do recommend Grace (Eventually) as a smart, humorous gift of Anne's views on life and God. I don't think one has to be a Northern Californian vegan who has smoked lots of dope to enjoy it. She's a welcoming writer.
Apr 1, 2007
Eventually never comes...
When I purchased "Grace (Eventually)", having never previously read any of Anne Lamott's work, I was hoping to find a non-denominational review of one woman's path to grace, or at least a mini-history of her attempts to arrive at that state. Imagine my surprise when, instead of an uplifting and courageous recital, I read about the past of a drug-using alcoholic whose path of life has been one primarily of self-indulgence to a hedonistic degree. Rather than achieving the goal of the title, the author's series of essays made it plain that she is trying for the state of grace, but that is it. The language was trite and commonplace, the thought patterns meandering and non-poetic, and yet in the entire book I did find twelve thoughts which were moments of grace-filled intelligence. So for about two dollars per inspiration, I'm not sure that I got my money's worth in any sense of the word. Despite its 2007 publication date, many of the essays were previously published in various magazines and showed their shopworn nature in either their orientation or lack of currency to the present-day issues challenging the faith of modern Americans. Bottom line for me would be don't bother buying this book, but if you're really curious go to the local public library to borrow their copy, which is where I will be donating the copy I bought.
Publishers Weekly, 2007-01-29 It would be easy to mistake this book for more of the same. Like Lamott's earlier spiritual nonfiction, Traveling Mercies and Plan B, it's a collection of essays, mostly previously published. The three books have strikingly similar covers and nearly identical subtitles. The familiar topics are here-Mom; her son, illness; death; addictions; Jesus; Republicans-as is the zany attitude. Not that repetitiveness matters; Lamott's faithful fans would line up to buy her shopping lists. But these recent essays show a new mellowness: "I don't hate anyone right now, not even George W. Bush. This may seem an impossibility, but it is true, and indicates the presence of grace or dementia, or both." With gentle wisdom refining her signature humor, Lamott explores helpfulness, decency, love and especially forgiveness. She explains the change: "Sometimes I act just as juvenile as I ever did, but as I get older, I do it for shorter periods of time. I find my way back to the path sooner, where there is always one last resort: get a glass of water and call a friend." Here's hoping that grace eventually persuades this older, wiser Lamott that her next nonfiction book should be wholly original. (Mar. 20) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
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