For most writers, the greatest challenge of spiritual writing is to keep it grounded in concrete language. The temptation is to wander off into the clouds of ethereal epiphanies, only to lose readers with woo-woo thinking and sacred-laced clichés. Thankfully, Anne Lamott (Operating Instructions, Crooked Little Heart) knows better. In this collection of essays, Lamott offers her trademark wit and irreverence in describing her reluctant journey into faith. Every epiphany is framed in plainspoken (and, yes, occasionally crassly spoken) real-life, honest-to-God experiences. For example, after having an abortion, Lamott felt the presence of Christ sitting in her bedroom:
This experience spooked me badly, but I thought it was just an apparition born of fear and self-loathing and booze and loss of blood. But then everywhere I went I had the feeling that a little cat was following me, wanting me to reach down and pick it up, wanting me to open the door and let it in. But I knew what would happen: you let a cat in one time, give it a little milk and then it stays forever.
Whether she's writing about airplane turbulence, bulimia, her "feta cheese thighs," or consulting God over how to parent her son, Lamott keeps her spirituality firmly planted in solid scenes and believable metaphors. As a result, this is a richly satisfying armchair-travel experience, highlighting the tender mercies of Lamott's life that nudged her into Christian faith. --Gail Hudson
"Anne Lamott is a cause for celebration. [Her] real genius lies in capturing the ineffable, describing not perfect moments, but imperfect ones. . . perfectly. She is nothing short of miraculous." --The New Yorker
"[She is] sidesplittingly funny, patiently wise, and alternately cranky and kind." --Seattle Times
"Lamott writes about subjects that begin with capital letters (Alcoholism, Motherhood, Jesus). But armed with self-effacing humor and ruthless honesty--call it a lower-case approach to life's Big Questions--she converts potential op-ed biolerplate into enlightenment." --Newsweek
"Smart, funny, comforting. . . Lamott has a conversational style that perfectly conveys her friendly, self-deprecating humor."
--Los Angeles Times Book Review
"Eloquent, detailed, emotionally honest. . . Lamott deserves praise for telling it like it is." --People