Loisanne's Blog

The meandering path of my life

Book Review: Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott

This is my first book review for my blog. It probably won’t be the last, though. I have discovered the local library. While it is just a small town library and they don’t have much available for immediate check-out, the staff there are very helpful and friendly, and they are great about helping you find what you want at another library and having it shipped in.

So, while my preference is to buy the books I want because I would like to keep them, I don’t always find myself financially able to do that (at least not until I become a famous published author). The library is the next best thing. I really don’t like having to give them back, especially the book I’m going to be talking about today, but one does what one must.

Anywhoo, on with the show!

BIRD BY BIRD, by Anne Lamott

This was one of the most awesome books I have ever read. No lie. This is a book on the writing process. It’s not so much a technical look at writing as a psychological/philosophical/emotional look at it. Anne Lamott is a skilled surgeon with her pen when it comes to looking inside a writer’s heart and mind and identifying  those idiosynchrasies, those fears, those needs, that form a common bond with all who write.

Anne Lamott makes a writer feel like they are not alone, that all those thoughts and feelings and dysfunctions are normal. You’re not crazy (or if you are, you’re in good company). She makes you say “Oh my god, I’ve done that” or “I feel that way too” or “I have that same problem”, over and over as you read this book. She makes you stop berating yourself for being what you are and makes you say “hmm…so I’m normal. Cool.” It frees up a lot of mental “room” so you can spend more time writing.

This isn’t only a book for writers though. There are lessons and laughs for all who read this wonderfully engaging book. Anne has a great sense of humor and it shows in her writing. This book had me chuckling out loud on many occasions. Anne shared many excerpts from her personal life and at times I had the feeling I was attending a dinner party where she was the guest of honor and she was regaling us all with tales of laughter and woe from her past. And while the funny parts had us all in stitches, the woeful ones were told in such a way as to impart to us “yeah, shit happened. I found a way to deal with it”, which made us all feel that “shit happens” bond with her and want to cultivate her “I found a way to deal with it” attitude.

I have to say, I have become a huge fan of Anne Lamott just by reading that one book. She has several more to her fame. In future, I may be doing reviews of those too. If you’ve read this or any other of her books, I would love to hear what you have to say about them. I would also like to encourage anyone to suggest books , on the subject of writing, that I may find helpful. 

I hope I have encouraged at least one person to read Anne Lamott’s book, Bird by Bird.

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March 31, 2010 - Posted by | book review | , ,

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