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3.9 out of 5 stars
Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith
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142 of 152 people found the following review helpful
on April 1, 2007
Oh, how I adore little Anne. For years, this lady has inspired my writing, made me laugh, and challenged my perceptions. Most of the time I'm right there cheering with her. Occasionally, we disagreee--but I think she would love me anyway.

"Traveling Mercies" (one of my all-time favorite books) was a sprawling, messy, beautiful tale of life and faith and day-to-day struggle. "Plan B" was more of the same, but with political teeth sharpened on the grindstone of Mr. Bush's policies. "Grace (Eventually)" shows a softer side of Anne, a maturing maybe, or an acceptance of the things she cannot change. She talks about her son, her dog, her mother, her church, her city, all with a tone of reconciliation.

Don't get me wrong. Anne still wants change. She still says things that will push a lot of buttons--regarding assisted suicide and abortion, for example. She also continues to express a belief in Jesus and His teachings and His example of love and mercy. For those annoyed by the cultural environment, she gives a call to more understanding. For those who disagree with her, she also calls for grace by asking us to accept her as she is in all her authentic imperfection.

I didn't walk away from this book with sublime shock and laughter (as I did with "Traveling Mercies") or with pent-up frustration (as I did with "Plan B"), I walked away with a sense of gentleness and a desire to extend that same grace to others. I guess you could call that a success.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on August 1, 2007
One of the most popular voices in contemporary spirituality, Anne Lamott has a remarkable gift at handling serious and unfunny topics - religion, motherhood, eating disorders, death - in a witty and disarming way.

Lamott's new book, "Grace Eventually: Further Thoughts On Faith," is a collection of essays, many of which Lamott wrote as a columnist for Salon.com. If you haven't read anything by Lamott before, the best places to start would be "Traveling Mercies" (her bestselling memoir), and "Bird by Bird," (one of the best guide to writing anywhere, another bestseller). But the two things you should know before reading Anne Lamott is that 1) she is an incredible prose artist, quirky and profound, with a style that seems all her own. And 2) she is almost completely neurotic.

"Grace Eventually," is a special book in that Lamott's description of ordinary events make them feel sacred. She is a writer with an ability to make the reader pay attention, feel present, and tune in to the story taking place around them. Although she refers to Jesus consistently, there is little that seems orthodox about Lamott's spiritual journey, and perhaps that is one of the reasons she has such a wide readership.

You'd have to be made out of granite not to find something that moves you in this unique collection of essays. You would also need to adhere to Lamott's precise and strident political positions not to find at least one portion of this book infuriating. Either way, "Grace Eventually" is a provocative and unique read, and any avid reader owes it to themselves to become familiar with one of the country's top writers.
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69 of 79 people found the following review helpful
on March 30, 2007
Usually I take quite a while to read through books before I buy them. One exception is Anne Lamott's books. If she writes them, I'll read them, because she her writing is honest, caring, good story telling and lots of fun, even with the topics of grace and faith. She has the kind of writing that makes me wish I'd studied harder and knew all the words in the dictionary. (Not because she uses a lot of fancy, big words. Far from it. She just uses them so perfectly, so suited to what she is saying, so originally. I feel like the rest of us are amateurs with the English language and she is a pro.) Lamott doesn't let herself off the hook easily, nor does she softsoap life and its effects. But she does get it.

This book will be a good read because it will make you think--and think better. In this work Lamott shares her life and friends and family and herself. She has child-like feelings and inspired thoughts. I love writing that surprises me with simplicity and originality. That's why I love her work.

If you like this book another one of Lamott's earlier works, Bird by Bird, is an all time favorite of mine. She deals with how to become a writer. And she makes it seem possible--and like she's in your corner.
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44 of 50 people found the following review helpful
on June 21, 2007
I always enjoy reading Anne Lamott and this book was going along swell. She has an easy, casual manner that makes it feel like you're having a best-friend discussion sitting at the kitchen counter. But in this book I got SO tired of her blaming EVERYTHING that's wrong in the world on George Bush. It's like we were all basking around here on Heaven-On-Earth until Mr. Meanie screwed it all up. Her writing seems so smart and sensitive yet her political comments were so stupid. Not the most enjoyable read for me.
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32 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on August 17, 2009
There were parts of this book that were profound and powerful, drawing me into thinking deeply about the goodness of God and the challenges of life. The sections about Lamott's relationship with her son were particularly poignant, as was the chapter on assisted suicide. Lamott's reflections on nature and her own growth as a person (getting sober, coming to terms with her family background) were also helpful and encouraging.
The book was somewhat spoiled for me by rants about right-wingers and George W. Bush and abortion and various other things. Being shrill is not the badge of authentic humanity. Lamott needs to extend some grace to those with whom she disagrees without demonizing them. In fact, if such an approach could be extended to our entire culture we would be better by far.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
I loved Anne's books, Traveling Mercies and Plan B - she spoke of faith in the most refreshing of ways and injected her own socio-political leanings and life in a healthy and relevant way. But Grace (Eventually) is a disappointment because here she presses a no-holds agenda as she uses her 'pulpit' to beat her political and religious prejudices into people.

Her angst demolished any sense of the Grace she apparently attempted to address. And unless she gets back into the groove she was in before, this will mark her downfall for speaking things spiritual, Christian or otherwise. She is a great, great author - but if she can't speak handle political differences within the same faith, then she is as guilty as those she condemns.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on September 25, 2008
For someone who seems to be very perceptive on human relations and seems to have a very close relationship with Jesus, this woman has a disproportionate and illogical hatred of Bush. Perhaps this comes from only having friends that think as she does. When she is writing about her son and her relatives, she is very good but the passages and one-liners about her Bush hatred are hard to get through. I suppose this sort of writing isi a hoot to her Salon readers but it will date the book quickly. When she writes about abortion she is doctrinaire and pedestrian.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on May 29, 2008
I adore "Travelling Mercies." Having spent some time as a Christian, I expected some mature Christian thought from Lamott. Instead, I'm kind of horrified. Jesus was awful as a teenager? Praying to Mary? Yay for abortion? What Bible is Lamott reading?

I admire Lamott's raw honesty and the way she turns a phrase, but the "I hate George Bush" rants got really old. I may not agree with our President's decisions and I may not admire him as a person, but a certain amount of respect is due to the office of the President of the United States. It's one of the most difficult jobs in the world.

After reading Lamott's last three non-fiction books, I get the idea that Lamott doesn't have anything new to say. Although she occasionally has wonderful insights, I won't be buying Lamott's books again.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on July 18, 2007
Halfway through this book I was a little disappointed. Just wasn't enjoying it as much as I'd expected. I gave it some thought, and realized: Lamott is really challenging me here. This is not the same "preaching to the converted" that I've loved in her writing. Some of these ideas were harder to swallow, ideas I wasn't ready for.

Some examples:

- I still enjoy the occasional overeating binge without much remorse. Hadn't fully occurred to me to question it.

- I felt unapologetically UNforgiving of her oblivious rich friends who keep rubbing her nose in their privelege, and even LESS forgiving of the salesperson who sold her crappy carpet, lied about it, and laughed in her face. Watching Lamott suck it up and acquiesce to these people stressed me out.

- Even though I'm a big lefty, the assisted suicide chapter was really hard to read. I didn't even realize I had mixed feelings about this issue; suddenly my heart was racing and I had to put the book down and think it over. Perhaps the first time I've really disagreed with Lamott so strongly about something.

- Cancer, aging, dying appear in many of the chapters. Important issues, but hard to face if you're coming from a sensitive or sad place.

So, does this make it a bad book? No. Just makes it more of a thought-provoking read. It challenges my ideas and assumptions rather than unconditionally confirming them. Definitely worth checking out, though. Anne's voice is always such fun and life-affirming, even when she's talking about difficult topics.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on December 11, 2007
I am a long-time Anne Lamott fan, but lately her work has been revisiting (revising?) the same-old, same-old. In her third attempt to tap the well of her developing spirituality, the well has nearly run dry. Most of the experiences she uses to illustrate her ideas are ones that were on the cutting room floor of her last two "faith" books. I recommend "Traveling Mercies," but not this one.
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