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58 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best modern writers around
Lorrie Moore has long been a favorite writer of mine. Her short fiction, which has appeared regularly in THE NEW YORKER and elsewhere, is unbeatable. Her humor is sharp, her descriptive powers awesome, and her stories (almost) always feel as though they actually go somewhere.
One of the best pieces in "Self-Help" is probably the first Lorrie Moore piece I ever...
Published on March 9, 2002 by Catherine S. Vodrey

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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More like 3.5 stars
I love Moore's writing, but this volume is inconsistent. When it's bad, it's simply melodramatic, and when it's worse, it hardly makes any sense.

However, "Self-Help" is worth buying for the wonderful "How to Be an Other Woman" which catches Moore at her best, teetering on the razor-thin border between hilarity and pathos.

"How to Become a Writer" is...
Published on January 9, 2005 by bluwhisper


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58 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best modern writers around, March 9, 2002
By 
Catherine S. Vodrey (East Liverpool, Ohio United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Self-Help (Paperback)
Lorrie Moore has long been a favorite writer of mine. Her short fiction, which has appeared regularly in THE NEW YORKER and elsewhere, is unbeatable. Her humor is sharp, her descriptive powers awesome, and her stories (almost) always feel as though they actually go somewhere.
One of the best pieces in "Self-Help" is probably the first Lorrie Moore piece I ever read. "Self-Help" was published the year I graduated from college, and I think a college friend gave me a copy of "How to Become a Writer." Note the "become" instead of "be." Moore acknowledges the process involved in writing and lets her readers know that writers are not sprung fully-formed from the head of Zeus or anyone else. Listen to this beautifully assured, resonant, yet hilarious passage from "How to Become a Writer":
"First, try to be something, anything, else. A movie star/astronaut. A movie star/missionary. A movie star/kindergarten teacher. President of the World. Fail miserably. It is best if you fail at an early age--say, fourteen. Early, critical disillusionment is necessary so that at fifteen you can write long haiku sequences about thwarted desire. It is a pond, a cherry blossom, a wind brushing against sparrow wing leaving for mountain. Count the syllables. Show it to your mom. She is tough and practical. She has a son in Vietnam and a husband who may be having an affair. She believes in wearing brown because it hides spots. She'll look briefly at your writing, then back up at you with a face blank as a doughnut. She'll say: 'How about emptying the dishwasher?' Look away. Shove the forks in the fork drawer. Acccidentally break one of the freebie gas station glasses. This is the required pain and suffering. This is only for starters."
Moore likes to do that--throw in references like Vietnam, then spin things around a little so that it comes out funny. One of my favorite Lorrie Moore bits had to do with a woman who said something awful before she could stop herself--Moore described the blurted insult as being "a lizard with a hat on." Wacko as that sounds, you still know exactly what she means. That is her great gift--she makes life sound wacko and off-kilter, but you completely, utterly GET IT anyway.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Moore wears a funny heart on her sleeve, January 8, 2000
By 
Wes Saylors Jr. (Boone, North Carolina) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Self-Help (Paperback)
I want to be loved like Lorrie Moore loves a man. Her characters say some hilarious things, but if you pay really close attention to how they feel (the way Ms Moore writes about how they feel), you'll find some of the most passionate writing going. When a Moore character falls in love, they're not fooling around (though they may be, in fact, fooling around in an extramarrital way). They mean it. And it is this passion, combined with an almost hyperintelligent wit, that makes Self-Help the terrific reading experience it is. I'm a Moore junkie ... and this book is where it all started.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an amazing debut, March 28, 1999
This review is from: Self-Help (Paperback)
For me, Lorrie Moore's short stories have always been the literary equivalant of Kristin Hersh's songs. Both of these profoundly gifted women create chilling, personal revelations that give me goosebumps. Both explore the strange and sad parts of life that keep us awake at night, staring at the ceiling and thinking "why?" And both make me want to stop writing because I will never even approach their genius. Lorrie's peculiar style of telling a story backwards is especially endearing in this debut collection of faux "advice" stories, in which she mocks the genre of self-help. Absolutely not to be missed.
p.s. Please *ignore* the review below from TGA@BIGPOND.COM.KH, as it is actually referring to Lorrie's most recent book, Birds of America (the "sick baby" story is "People Like That are the Only People Here.")
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lorrie Moore has helped me love women more, September 1, 1999
This review is from: Self-Help (Paperback)
How's that for a self-help book. Moore's prose is brilliant; her style, unrefined and beautiful. I like this collection because it has the edge too much editing can kill. Read this book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the equivalent of comfort food, August 11, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Self-Help (Paperback)
This book is totally a put on your favorite pajamas, sit in your favorite chair with ice cream and read cover to cover then rush to have coffee with an old friend kind of book. I love love it. I read it every year. I discovered it around the same time I started writing and this book brings me back to that time when I felt I had so much to say but oh! how to say it. I read "Ahmal and the Night Visitors: A Guide to the Tenor of Love" in a collection of young writers and was so touched by the lush feeling of the world she was in and the thoughts she was having. I think of that story often. I certainly recommend this book to women- it saves the cost of long-distance gosspiy, weepy, funny phone calls to old friends, and has the same warm effect.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars True Talent, October 25, 2005
This review is from: Self-Help (Paperback)
Basically.....read anything by Lorrie Moore, you won't be disappointed (unless of course The Nanny Diaries was one of your favorite books).
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You. Go. Girl., June 7, 2001
By 
Amazon Customer "klofton" (Chapel Hill, North Carolina United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Self-Help (Paperback)
Looking for something strong, vulnerable, funny, different, and as existentially confused as you have the pretension of imagining yourself, you find this. Here. This odd little flimsy awkwardly-colored book. It doesn't even have the snobbery of girth or weight. And, paging through the pulpy pages, you slowly start nodding. Yes. Yeah. You. Go. Girl. If we all could find a voice of pathos and verve echoing the ingenuity and authenticity of Moore's, this might not be such a miserable mess of a culture. I can't overemphasize how precious this book is. Men might admire it, but women will lift it over their heads and holler. You. Go. Girl.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read for students of literary fiction, March 21, 2007
This review is from: Self-Help (Paperback)
This and other Lorrie Moore books were favorites of almost all of the women in my MFA (creative writing) program, as well as of many of the men. We all started with Anagrams (one of my all-time favorites), then moved on to this, then Birds of America. I noticed that people who enjoy cheesey romance novels don't like this book because it portrays love in a way that's painfully familiar, lifelike. Moore is hilarious and tragic and so brutally honest she'll give you road rash at the same time that she makes your creative self blush and feel elated.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Book!, September 6, 2010
By 
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This review is from: Self-Help (Paperback)
I read this book for my contemporary literature class this semester. I absolutely love it! Moore's use of 2nd person perspective may be unusual, but it is masterfully used. Her stories are rich with descriptive, poetic metaphors, and are incredibly compelling! I will definitely be purchasing more of her work.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Encounters with The Self, October 26, 2009
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This review is from: Self-Help (Paperback)
I'm rather late coming to the fiction of Lorrie Moore but, definitely better late than never. A recent short story by Moore in The New Yorker (from her newly published novel) finally got me into her tailwind that's been in the atmosphere since her first book of short stories, "Self Help," was published in 1985. In some ways, these idiosyncratic stories of the-self-in-transition may even be more timely now in the 21st century than they were in the 80s. I think we as a culture are more ready to see the The Self as a fragmented, ambiguous entity that has to continuously struggle to keep up the facades of the old traditions that, for example, either hobble women or have simply outlived their old definitions.

Moore writes with an intensity and originality about women (and men) grappling with the fallout of postmodernity. It's been said, and sung, that there is a thin line between love and hate and all the relationships in "Self Help" come under the microscope and are found to partake of both. A sense of alienation and melancholy pervades the protagonists of "Self Help" as they are swept along on the vicissitudes of emotions that are never less than complex and laced with the mystery of growing pains and the pains that diminish us as we grow older. Moore writes about mothers, daughters, lovers, husbands, and, ultimately, about women as creative people at the mercy of never-ending stages of transition. If Alice Munro is the great modern classicist of the short story, Moore is the next-generation's candidate for writing of a more experimental nature, mirroring the increasing fragmentation of our world where the biology of women is at right angles to their need for self-expression. These stories do not provide easy closure on the fate of any of the protagonists, but in their courageous free fall and protracted states of inquiry lie their snippets of liberation and moments of epiphany.
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Self-Help
Self-Help by Lorrie Moore (Paperback - March 13, 2007)
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