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Biographies & Memoirs

Rating: 4.3 / 5.0 (355 votes)

Released: 2000-02-15

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Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott

Description

Anne Lamott claims the two best prayers she knows are: “Help me, help me, help me” and “Thank you, thank you, thank you.” She has a friend whose morning prayer each day is “Whatever,” and whose evening prayer is “Oh, well.” Anne thinks of Jesus as “Casper the friendly savior” and describes God as “one crafty mother.”

Despite–or because of–her irreverence, faith is a natural subject for Anne Lamott. Since Operating Instructions and Bird by Bird, her fans have been waiting for her to write the book that explained how she came to the big-hearted, grateful, generous faith that she so often alluded to in her two earlier nonfiction books. The people in Anne Lamott's real life are like beloved characters in a favorite series for her readers–her friend Pammy, her son, Sam, and the many funny and wise folks who attend her church are all familiar. And Traveling Mercies is a welcome return to those lives, as well as an introduction to new companions Lamott treats with the same candor, insight, and tenderness.

Lamott's faith isn't about easy answers, which is part of what endears her to believers as well as nonbelievers. Against all odds, she came to believe in God and then, even more miraculously, in herself. As she puts it, “My coming to faith did not start with a leap but rather a series of staggers.” At once tough, personal, affectionate, wise, and very funny, Traveling Mercies tells in exuberant detail how Anne Lamott learned to shine the light of faith on the darkest part of ordinary life, exposing surprising pockets of meaning and hope.


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Editorial Review

Anne Lamott admits that she's “ever so slightly more anxious than the average hypochondriac.” When faced with a small, irregular mole and a family history of skin cancer, however, she remembers her faith in God and enjoys some peace–despite behaving “a little more like Nathan Lane in The Birdcage than I would have hoped.” Author Lamott reads these wonderfully detailed postcards from her meandering journey to faith. With sharp and bittersweet humor, she recounts a past full of bad relationships with men, with food, with drugs, with alcohol, and worst of all, with herself. She battles her demons thanks to the love of her friends and family and her “lurch of faith” to embrace religion, that “puzzling thing inside me that had begun to tug on my sleeve from time to time, trying to get my attention.” Inspiring but not dogmatic, Traveling Mercies is a treasure. (Running time: 4 hours, 3 cassettes) –C.B. Delaney

Book Details

Author: Anne Lamott Publisher: Anchor Binding: Paperback Language: English Pages: 275

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