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284 of 287 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank you, Anne Lamott
Over the last several years I've gone through some very difficult times in my life. But about two year ago I "found" Anne Lamott and her writings through my wife, who has been a fan for forever. I have to say, reading Anne is like therapy for me. Her writing is so honest and thought-provoking. And that Anne Lamott sense of humor is priceless! There's no doubt that Anne...
Published 17 months ago by Deanokat

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101 of 119 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Bit Thin, Both Literally and Figuratively
When you read thin books, you always assume that they are sharp and succinct, that they were once big books that have been cut to the bone, trimmed to the essence, and winnowed to their winning ways before submission for publication. You certainly entertain no thoughts of repetitiveness -- not in a thin book. That's forgivable with Dickens, Thackeray, and Fielding. They...
Published 16 months ago by Ken C.


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284 of 287 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank you, Anne Lamott, November 14, 2012
By 
Deanokat (Michigan, USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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Over the last several years I've gone through some very difficult times in my life. But about two year ago I "found" Anne Lamott and her writings through my wife, who has been a fan for forever. I have to say, reading Anne is like therapy for me. Her writing is so honest and thought-provoking. And that Anne Lamott sense of humor is priceless! There's no doubt that Anne Lamott and her books have helped me turn a corner in my life. "Help, Thanks, Wow" is no exception. It's prayer and spirituality simplified, and it works for anyone; even those who aren't truly religious. You don't have to pray to *God*. You can pray to "the force that is beyond our comprehension."

I also love the fact that Anne stresses the importance of gratitude. In fact, this may be my favorite passage from the book:

"Gratitude begins in our hearts and then dovetails into behavior. It almost always makes you willing to be of service, which is where the joy resides. It means that you are willing to stop being such a jerk. When you are aware of all that has been given to you, in your lifetime and the past few days, it is hard not to be humbled, and pleased to give back."

Thank you, Anne Lamott. My life is better because of you.
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171 of 177 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Just Want to Read It Again!, November 15, 2012
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*****
What a brilliant book! When I first received "Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers" I too was so disappointed that it was such a small book--tiny, short, maybe an hour's read. Ah, but what an hour! Precious. And to be completely truthful, this book actually took me several hours to read, because I had to put it down, think, cry, laugh, and even--yes--pray. This book is worth your time and attention. I am so glad that I have it in hardback because I will keep it forever and reread it regularly; I am finished reading it and I just want to read it all over again.

It is a book about getting through life. It is rich, raw, funny (hilarious, like all Annie Lamott) and written in language so stunning I would have to stop and just read and reread sentences. I feel as though my life has been broken open with a whole new attitude towards prayer, and even more, towards being alive. This is not a religious book at all, but a book for anyone who is spiritually-oriented and maybe especially for those who aren't, because the author writes about prayer in a way that every single person can relate to. This is a book about being real and true and simple and clear and about living a worthwhile life.

Don't miss this book.

Highly recommended.
*****
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166 of 176 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another all-nighter. Lamott never disappoints., November 13, 2012
Stayed up all night reading this on my Kindle, as has become customary for all new Lamott books. Why? She makes me laugh. She gives me hope. And like Elizabeth Berg, Anne Tyler, Cheryl Strayed and other supreme female authors of America in our time, she always, always, rides the edge of truth to beauty. "Help, Thanks, Wow" is another classic Lamott, but this time she directly addresses the need for faith in these specifically bizarre and often disheartening times. Far from a sanctimonious tome, "Help, Thanks, Wow is indeed the Cliff notes for spirituality, as one rave review said, but it is skillful and spare prose that expands and fills the space in our hearts. Funny, elegant, shocking, poignant, she owns the distinct voice and sublime storytelling knack that is hers alone. There is only one Lamott. Thankfully, she is a disciplined worker bee and she publishes often enough so that by the time I've reread her last book twice, there is another one on the horizon. Thank you, Annie! xo SFL
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Spiritual Shower, November 18, 2012
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Just finished reading. Feel as though I have had a much needed spiritual shower. Having been almost "destroyed by the catholic church," I quit praying a long time ago reckoning that nobody was listening. I am now reconsidering.
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101 of 119 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Bit Thin, Both Literally and Figuratively, December 23, 2012
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When you read thin books, you always assume that they are sharp and succinct, that they were once big books that have been cut to the bone, trimmed to the essence, and winnowed to their winning ways before submission for publication. You certainly entertain no thoughts of repetitiveness -- not in a thin book. That's forgivable with Dickens, Thackeray, and Fielding. They write huge tomes that earn the room for error. But the 100-page book? No.

That's my main beef with Anne Lamott's long essay on prayer. I read a NY Times essay of hers that I enjoyed mightily. It told of how her family was anything-but religious, how they worshiped at the altar of great writers and lived a Bohemian lifestyle. Lamott cut against the family grain. She got religion -- of a sort. But, in writing about it in this book, she travels six ways to Sunday yet keeps arriving at the same four-way intersection. That is, as I read it, I found the same repetition one gets in rote recitals of real-life prayers, and I thought to myself, "This would never see the publishing light of day if not for the name of its author."

I should have been the perfect audience for this book, which is why I bought it. I am irreligious, yet spiritual; agnostic, yet defensive about God; skeptical, yet trusting in the great unknown. Lamott is similar. She has no patience for Christians who claim to know "the way" because, of course, they don't. Hers is a most laid-back and understanding God. He (sometimes Lamott goes with "She") doesn't mind if you say, God, I'm P-O'd with you this time, as if these are the risks deities take when they get in the business of creating humans. Frankenstein's monsters, and all that.

But the three sections -- prayers for HELP, prayers of THANKS, and prayers of WOW -- were a bit circular and the writing a bit meandering. I wanted a more poetic precision from this. The smaller the genre and the smaller the manuscript length, the greater the demands. Plus Lamott has earned a reputation as a writers' writer. Did she not write BIRD BY BIRD, chapter and verse, the Gospel of Wannabe Writers everywhere?

OK. Yes, there are some neat moments, like this paragraph on the WOW of autumn:

"And autumn ain't so shabby for Wow, either. The colors are broccoli and flame and fox fur. The tang is apples, death, and wood smoke. The rot smells faintly of grapes, of fermentation, of one element being changed alchemically into another, and the air is moist and you sleep under two down comforters in a cold room. The trails are not dusty anymore, and you get to wear your favorite sweaters."

But overall, I got a "Meh" kind of feeling, like the book needed HELP, like I owed it little THANKS, and like I'd been gypped out of $17.95 (WOW!) for 102 measly pages.

Welcome to the hazards of reading new books, Pilgrim. If you love Anne Lamott's stuff unconditionally, "proceed." If not, "with caution...."

Amen.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One to Read and Re-read, December 20, 2012
Subtitled, "The three essential prayers," HELP THANKS WOW is an essay in book form that encourages the development of, respectively, humility, gratitude and wonder. Its memoir-ish, hard-knock musings are similar to those in Lamott's other nonfiction and more spiritual than directly faith or religion.

I read atheist Christopher Hitchens' Mortality recently, and a passage about prayer -- something along the lines that those who pray seek to suspend the laws of nature in favor of their own purpose -- resonated with the scientist in me. But it's not how/why I pray, or at least not how I want to, and Lamott comes closer here via a quote from C.S. Lewis that ends with:

"{Prayer} doesn't change God. It changes me."
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27 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "THE REWARDING POWER OF FAITH!", November 13, 2012
Bestselling author Anne Lamott chronicles an inspirational story about the power of faith as she defines the true, symbolic meaning of prayer in her world, and the rewarding results to more bright days of sunshine, and happiness. The author conveys how to get us through each day, while facing the challenges and ups-and-downs that life throws upon us, how the power of prayer can get us through the dark days of our lives, and the significance of appreciating the 'little things' in life that we are usually too busy to even notice. This refreshing, motivating book is a guiding light to spiritual practice as it uplifts, and tugs at the heart, page-after-page. Insightful, enjoyable, beautifully written, and Highly Recommended!
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30 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Deceptively Small Book, November 14, 2012
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When I downloaded Anne Lamott's latest book, I was instantly disapppointed by how short it was. But then I started highlighting text and realized that if I didn't stop I would highlight the whole book. For being a small book, it is so densely filled with Lamott's brilliant insights of the world, that I will probably have to read it again and again to get its full impact.

The thing that I love most about Lamott is her willingness to admit to her own failings, her anger, her frustrations, her sadness and, in the midst of that all, her love of God. She is more than inspiring. She is inspired.

It was Tennyson who said "There lives more faith in honest doubt believe me than in half the creeds." And Anne Lamott I think is the living embodiment of this. She is filled with doubt, not so much in God, but in herself and the world around her and that doubt causes her to turn to God as one would turn to a friend, grab their arm and say, "Is this the right thing?" or "Help me with this," or "Thanks for being there."

Anne Lamott's stories always fill me spiritually. And in this book she recognizes the power of stories. She writes, "Stories to tell or hear--either way, it's medicine."

Medicine that always needs a refill.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I really wanted to love it, February 28, 2013
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I'm sorry, but I really wanted to love this book. I love Anne Lamott and have read a lot of her stuff. I'm often moved very deeply by what she writes, and am fascinated by the depths she can reach with such simplicity. But she just didn't cut the mustard with this one.

I'm not sure who would appreciate this little book. People who don't believe in prayer really aren't going to be convinced by any of her arguments. People who question the reasons for prayer aren't really presented with anything new here. People who do pray and believe strongly in it will probably be so far beyond what she writes here that beyond loyalty to the author (and she really does have lots of loyal followers - deservedly so) would be the only motivating factor.

Though Lamott's casual style is one of the things we love about her, this one simply seems disorganized and repetitive. Instead of some of the deeply moving or even hilarious anecdotes we're accustomed to from her, she seems to gloss over references to real situations - often many in a single paragraph - and it left me confused and unfulfilled to the point of ending up a bit resentful of the shorthand or inside jokes or even what at times seemed to be cheap shots. For example, if I hadn't read her earlier thoughts on faith, I probably wouldn't realize the respect she has for her pastor. Thus, when she says that her pastor is paid to have faith, I wonder what assumptions are made about Lamott's view of the clergy by those who are reading her for the first time.

There's more than a bit of sorrow and pain in this book, and I hope writing it was therapeutic for this beloved author. I believe it was for her an act of prayer, and I know God hears and understands what she needed to say [Rom. 8:26-28].
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars UPPER CASE WOW!, December 5, 2012
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Somewhere in the pages of "Help, Thanks, Wow" Ms. Lamott calls Rumi her "general-all-purpose-go-to mystic." Anne Lamott is mine--although I perfectly understand that is the last way she would represent herself. Someone else here said she works as therapy for him. She does that for me too. Anne Lamott, unlike so many other spiritual writers, is one of us. She's here and now and flawed and crazy and also touched by something greater than all of us, something that is in all of us, and therefore she has tapped into the genius in herself. The difference between Ms. Lamott and most of us is that she has through sheer, sheer energy turned her craziness into spiritual activism. She never rests until she's found the perfect way to say useful, uplifting (in the non-snotty sense) things that tell us how we can better live in these crazy times. And she has committed her thoughts to the pages of her epiphanic books. It's like going to a support group meeting with only really, really smart people getting up and talking, except in this case they're all her. What a joy this book is. I'm giving copies to as many people as I can think to give them to.
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