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  • Rosie
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am 25. Juni 1999
Our book club selected this book because one of the members is a friend of Annie Lamott. Granted, Annie Lamott has a great deal of writing talent, but this book is not a good introduction to her work. Unfortunately, it falls into the genre of "women's fiction" identified by Laura Jamison in her review of The Pilot's Wife, a recent Oprah selection. These books have a certain sameness about them: they're built around a bourgeois romance and feature the most generic, "white-bread" characters. This one fits the description. Elizabeth, the main character, other than being an alcoholic, has very few identifiable character traits. The author contrives for her to be grieving for her dead husband to give her at least some excuse for her heavy drinking. So many of these Oprah books feature a woman in a state of obsessive grief as if this justifies their wallowing in victimhood and their complete self-indulgence. Also implied is the notion that the women's confession of poor behavior makes it okay and shows the woman to be extraordinarily honest. In my opinion, this is not literature! I keep getting persuaded into reading these stories of suburban housewives' problems, but essentially they're boring. Why should I care about someone's ability to conquer alcoholism or find a man? I congratulate Oprah for getting her public to read, but I just wish that she had better taste (except for Toni Morrison). So many of the women in these books seem so juvenile, dependent, self-centered, and humorless. In Rosie whatever humor there is comes from violating taboos or from description rather than any sense of irony or wit. I disagree with those who say that Lamott displays wisdom. Any wisdom is really "conventional wisdom" which is often based on cultural myth, rather than true knowledge. She can observe and describe quite well (as some of her essays in Salon magazine indicate). All in all, except for some talented writing, Rosie is an ordinary book.
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am 6. Juni 1998
After reading *Crooked Little Heart* (and all of Lamott's other books) I just had to go find *Rosie* and read it as a prequel.
Astonishingly, however, *Rosie* has a vicious edge that left me feeling like a battered reader. It is undeniably well-written, but Lamott is so cruel to single women that it verges on self-abuse, and by extension, abuse of her audience.
Elizabeth Ferguson is a 38-year-old widow who falls desperately, achingly in love with James. Lamott makes Elizabeth seem like such a loser for being "nearly forty" and unmarried. For me (also 38) it was like getting punched every time Lamott is hard on Elizabeth, or on her friend Rae. Rather than identifying with either of them, I found myself wanting to protect them from Lamott's heartless prose.
Lamott wrote this when she was still drinking. *Crooked Litte Heart* was written when she was sober. The difference, to this reader, was so dramatic... a contrast between concrete and velvet, between a slap and a caress. While *Rosie* certainly sheds light on Lamott's earlier processes, it is tough going if you have any sensitivity at all.
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am 27. August 1999
feh to the armchair psychiatrists...ROSIE was just as absorbing and real as any of Lamott's work. It seems as though people bring a bulging satchel of unrelated subtext to these reviews...so I will stick to the book at hand. Lamott's characters as always are people you feel live next door, and that you would not run if you saw coming. Rae for example is almost exactly like my late stepmother; I would give anything to meet her and let her sly humor into my life....which is what I did when I read ROSIE. I guess I've read it two or there times, and each time I revel in its treasures.....the unlikely and gritty love story, the alcoholic dilemmas which Lamott faces square on, not sparing us the ghastly details. it made me want to drink less and like myself more, ROSIE. some books are equally well written but make one want to cataopult oneself from a tall building. Lamott's work is life-affirming, funny, and tangibly human. Thank you, Annie. The only thing sloppy about this book is the praise I feel: for that I do apologize. You deserve a more dignified fan, instead I jump up and down, waving chocolate.
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am 24. August 1998
I loved two of the author's books: Bird by Bird, and the Journal of Her Son's First Year. In addition, I read her Salon articles. However, I could barely get through this book. I thought it was very self-indulgent, and Rosie is kind of an ordinary little kid but everyone keeps referring to how great she is. She's only 8 years old anyway-- not an appropriate age to hold my interest as a major character. This book made me think the author was basing the child on herself because there was so much emphasis on how wonderful the kid was. The good parts of the book involved Elizabeth and Rae going on a hike--I actually felt drawn into the story at that point. It passed. If you read this book and don't like it, keep trying. I found the author's non-fiction works to be everything her fiction wasn't here.
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am 25. Mai 1999
"Rosie" had potential for being a great read. While I found the story line to be interesting, the filthy language and drug scenes were very distracting. How disturbing to think that someone would write a seemingly personal account of a mother-daughter relationship and think that her audience would accept this story as typical parenting. Even though many may be able to relate to the destructive affects of alcoholism and drugs in family relationships, I found "Rosie" to be a sad and disturbing story of covert emotional abuse. I would have accepted the theme if "Rosie" had been labeled an autobiography (was it?) but I found little value in it as a work of fiction. It should have come with a warning label.
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am 12. Oktober 1998
Anne Lamott does what we want her to do: show us, the reader, a piece of her soul. In Rosie, we meet Elizabeth and Rosie. A mother-daughter team that represents a realistic slice of the new American life. Unemployed, widowed, alcoholic Elizabeth is neither pathetic or tragic. She is human, so much so, that you wish you could phone her up to come for dinner. Her daughter, the unbelievable Rosie, is an extension of her troubled passionate mother. This is a brilliant novel, easily a pick for a book club or a gift for a close friend. It's impossible not to love something about this book.
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am 17. November 1997
I picked up this book because I had read Bird by Bird and loved it. Lamott tells the truth especially if it hurts, and as a writer, I appreciate that. After reading her non-fiction, I was curious about her fiction, and happily, I came upon Rosie. As a novel, Rosie also tells the truth about life, love, selfishness, and learning to give. Beside the main characters, Rae is a fabulous character who reminds me of many women who just don't know how to say no to the men in their lives. In Rae and in all her characters, Lamott shows fabulous insight.
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am 10. September 1999
Fabulous read- a truly wonderful book. Here we find Elizabeth, attempting to be the best mother she can be -while under the influence, and Rosie, a character not to be reckoned with. A sprite she is at all her five years!Rosie reconstructs the family she's longed for, and in doing so cures her mother of alcoholism. Good Job! Quirky, personal, and poignant all describe the work of Anne Lamott. Read this-you won't be dissappoined.
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am 10. Juni 2000
I'm shamelessly hooked on Anne Lamott's style of writing-she's so funny and bright and creates characters that you want to meet-if you haven't already. Rosie is someone that you'll want to protect, but you learn that she can handle herself. As you observe thru her experiences, you may find yourself growing up a bit more. Anne Lamott is heroic in her ability to craft a tale.
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am 16. März 1999
This is the fourth book that I have read by Anne Lamott. My heart ached at times reading about Elizabeth's struggle with alcohol knowing that Anne was still drinking at the time she wrote this. I felt she was writing about herself. I absolutely love her writing and am going to read Bird by Bird next. I loved this book but Traveling Mercies is still my favorite.
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