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Hard Laughter: A Novel Paperback – April 15, 1979


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: North Point Press; Reissue edition (April 15, 1979)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0865472807
  • ISBN-13: 978-0865472808
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #166,755 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"The appeal of this book is . . . that it has much to say about how a good family works . . . in times both hard and easy . . . It's a moving and strangely joyful book, a kind of celebration, and it's written with an assurance far beyond the reach of most first novelists."--Anne Tyler, The New York Times Book Review

"If love is details, so is storytelling, and Anne Lamott excels at it. Her way with analogy, metaphor, and evocative detail is subtle; her ability to shift from the specific to the general to the specific again, superb."--Suzanne Mantell, The Nation

About the Author

Anne Lamott is the author of five novels and two works of nonfiction, Operating Instructions and Bird by Bird. She lives in Northern California.

More About the Author

Anne Lamott is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Grace (Eventually), Plan B, Traveling Mercies, and Operating Instructions, as well as seven novels, including Rosie and Crooked Little Heart. She is a past recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Customer Reviews

I encourage everyone to read it!
Jenna R. Lecomte
I can deal with the lack of plot but a total lack of conflict, or one single compelling character is just plain boring.
Boze
I would encourage everyone to read this book, with and open mind and heart, and check your judgemental mind at the door.
M. Green

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 46 people found the following review helpful By CoffeeGurl HALL OF FAME on May 14, 2003
Format: Paperback
Reading one of Anne Lamott's novels is like taking a refreshing cool bath on the hottest day of the year; it quenches the soul. Additionally, her wonderfully gritty voice resonates from the pages. The story of a family's struggle to keep the happiness going through the most poignant and disarming moments of their lives is insightful, touching and memorable. Hilarious and poignant as ever, Lamott again illustrates how her characters make everything difficult seem worth undertaking. All in all, a wonderful and illuminating read...
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49 of 51 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 1, 1997
Format: Paperback
I stumbled onto Anne Lamott while grocery shopping. Marginally coping with a new baby and a three year old I picked up "Operating Instructions-A Journal of My Son's First Year" and threw it into my cart. It quickly became my book of "daily affirmations" for the less than perfect parent. With hopeful anticipation I searched for more of her writing and found "Hard Laughter". I wasn't disappointed. The characters came alive and I realized the author was writing about her own family. These were the same voices I had grown to like so much in her journal. Once again her imperfect, humorous, messy, love-filled life lifted my spirits. I laughed even as I read of her father's diagnosis and treatment of brain cancer. The only disappointment was that it ended too soon and I had to leave the characters I felt I knew so well. I can't wait for more Lamott
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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Nick Ingram on October 18, 2000
Format: Paperback
Laughter can be forced or cheap or light - and then there are the moments when the laughter is best, usually because there is some equal pressure not to laugh, some pain that is so close it hurts to laugh, but you must anyway. Anne Lamott wrote, what is for me, an exquisite book about an unspeakable time in life - when a parent becomes gravely ill.
I believe in these characters - precisely because they aren't predictable or tidy. They have big gaps in their development, like most people do. They fall apart and put themselves back together in unexpected, astonishing ways. Each one survives in spite of and because of their love of one another.
It is a book of unusual relationships during the days of an extraordinary time. Lamott introduces each character and their actions with a generous spirit. The reader by turns loves, understands, is appalled by, then forgives and loves again each of them.
I hated to leave them when the book was over. I wanted to have a beer with them, to take a walk on the beach with them, to laugh with them long and hard at how much life hurts sometimes - and how grand it is to be alive.
I recommend this book to anyone who knows the pain and joy of loving extraordinary people. If you want a large-hearted soul to spend time with, read Anne Lamott's "Hard Laughter" - you won't be disappointed.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 18, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book handles some difficult territory as only Anne Lamott could. She can be brutally honest and hilarious all at the same time. That she could bring that quality to the nightmarish experience of watching a loved one battle cancer -- something all too many of us know about firsthand -- sets this book apart. One of the previous reviewers found this book "distasteful." Well, there is nothing tasteful about cancer and the way it shatters one's way of life. I know of no other book that touches on the confusion and the anguish and the humanity of that experience like this one does. This is very worthwhile reading.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By M. Green on June 8, 2004
Format: Paperback
How could anyone not love this book (and the author)?!? Never have I read such a brutally honest account of ones life. Anne Lamott's writing is so refreshly sincere. All believers in Christ should rally around Ms. Lamott and encourage her to continue to bare her naked soul to the rest of the world. I read reviews that said she was irreverent, which if you read with a closed mind you may find this to be so, but I found her to be a REAL person, who realizes she is simply saved by God's grace and by nothing she's done on her on. I would encourage everyone to read this book, with and open mind and heart, and check your judgemental mind at the door. Keep it up Anne!
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Meredith on July 14, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
With a father recently diagnosed with a brain tumor, a significant other who is hardly significant, and a neurotic dream consultant for a best friend, it seems hard to believe that Jennifer, the main character of Anne Lamott's book, could find anything to laugh about. And yet, as the title suggests, she not only finds some hard laughter in the situation, but also realizes that laughter is, in fact, one of the things that makes life worth the struggle. Whether or not you're of a mind to appreciate Lamott's neurotic humor, that realization--the preciousness and beauty of laughter in the face of the darkest times--alone makes this book worth reading. True to the terrible mundacity of tragic life events, Lamott's book subtly and deftly captures the experience of a family's brush with a potentially devastating situation--the waiting, the disappointment, the embarassment--the laughter in hard times and the good hard laughter in spite of those times that carries you through.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Mandi Dalton on January 9, 2003
Format: Paperback
In this funny and inspiring story Anne Lamott shows us the importance of good friends, close family, and hard laughter. Through the characters' struggles with relationships, careers, and death, we discover the true strength of the human heart: the ability to find beauty in, and endure through, rough times. An important lesson in life and love, highlighted by laugh-out-loud funny lines, make this book memorable and worth experiencing.
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