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Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son's First Son Hardcover

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover; 1st edition (March 20, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159448841X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594488412
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.8 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (107 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #265,023 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Lamott burst onto the literary scene in 1993 with Operating Instructions, her achingly honest account of her son Sam’s first year of life, endearing herself to single mothers, parents, and even nonparents. She is set to do the same thing now for grandparenthood, as she and Sam explore their first year with Sam’s son, Jax. When Sam announced that he and recent girlfriend Amy were about to become parents, Lamott reacted as only Lamott could, with a joyful “Oh, yes!” followed by a fearful “Oh, no!” After all, at fiftysomething, she was too young to be a grandmother, and at 19, Sam was too young to be a father. But tell all that to Jax, who is, of course, the Perfect Baby. That his parents’ relationship is less so is a source of constant consternation for Lamott, who tries to fix things in her own inimitable and irritating way. Funny, frantic, and frustrating, Lamott enthusiastically embraces this new chapter in her life, learning that she is a wiser grandparent than parent who, nevertheless, managed to produce one pretty remarkable son. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Best-selling Lamott will delight her avid fans and attract new readers among fellow grandparents as she goes on a national tour and makes media appearances. --Carol Haggas


“[Lamott’s] crisp writing and self-deprecating honesty ring charmingly true.”

“[Some Assembly Required is] full of Lamott’s trademark neurotic spirituality, and it’s one Lamott’s fans will want.”
The Washington Post

“Wonderful . . . [with] Lamott’s trademark sharp wit and self-deprecating humor . . . Like so many of Lamott’s books, [Some Assembly Required] leaves readers with new insights.”
—The Associated Press

“[Lamott’s] typical combination of astuteness and wit . . . As always, Lamott’s ‘raggedy faith’ is central to her, and whether you share her concerns or not, you appreciate her candor.”

“The story of one year in a woman’s life, a year that happens to include the arrival of a blanket-bundled gift for Lamott and her longtime readers.”
San Francisco Chronicle

“[Some Assembly Required] highlights the trademark humor we've come to expect from Lamott, with laugh-out-loud one-liners that are both self-deprecating and wise … a welcome addition in the larger Gospel of Lamott.”
Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Funny, insightful, irreverent…filled with humor and the author's quirky faith…Bound to do for grandmothers what the earlier book did for mothers — bring them insight and sanity in the midst of chaos.”
The Denver Post

“Anne Lamott’s singular gift for bringing readers into the intimate circle of her life flows effortlessly in this new memoir, mixing the absurd and sublime with her usual alchemical genius…you’ll be seduced by the darkly comic tone, self-deprecating wit, and relentless honesty; she somehow makes the bumps and joys of her life intensely relatable. She can capture the bliss and beauty of tiny emotional events in a few perfect words, then skewer her own worst impulses with brutal hilarity.”
Bust Magazine   
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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 look forward to reading more of Anne's books.
Jean Marlene
If you're a fan of Anne Lamott, and have followed her non-fiction over the years (especially Operating Instructions) you will love this book about her new grandson.
K. Niles
And two weeks later I am still fired up about it, still deeply uncomfortable when I think about it, still shaking my head over the utter nuttiness of this woman.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

86 of 87 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer VINE VOICE on March 21, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I read Anne Lamott's book about her son Sam's first year of life (Operating Instructions) back during my first year of motherhood. So, in some twisted and narcissistic way, I had it in my head that her son Sam was about the same age as my son--as that is when I became aware of him. (It could also have been a persistent "mommy brain" notion that never quite left me.) So it was with a bit of a shock when I saw Lamott's new memoir, Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son's First Son. "How could little Sam possibly have a child?" I marveled to myself. Of course, Sam isn't 7 like my son. He is 19. (Still pretty young to be a father but certainly within the realm of believability.) Always wanting to find out "how things turned out" in any story, I eagerly started the book--excited to catch up with Anne and Sam's life since we last spent time together.

Within a few pages, I was reminded of just why I love Anne Lamott. She has a brutal honesty about herself and her life that is both self-depreciating, amusing and authentic. She writes from her heart, and she isn't afraid to show us all aspects of herself--from her neurotic and selfish sides to the spiritual and open searching soul she works on so assiduously. Her writing is never fancy or condescending. Rather, it is heartfelt yet with a sly irreverence and joking tone that always lets you know she is aware of her frailties and flaws. I'd love to have her as a friend.

The subject of her son's first son is fraught with all kinds of emotional minefields that challenge Anne in a myriad of different ways. Not only does she struggle with the idea becoming a grandmother at the age of 55, but her son's complex and volatile relationship with his girlfriend Amy adds a tricky new dimension to Anne's relationship with her grandchild Jax.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By AudreyLM on March 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is the humble offering of an ardent and longtime Lamott fan for the title of the (hopefully) inevitable memoir of Jax's son's first year. And for the lesson I always learn from Anne in the most delicious, hilarious, brilliant possible way: Life is not perfect. People are not perfect. Most important, WE are not perfect, and we do need to settle for less perfection in life than we had perhaps hoped for. The good news is that we never need to settle when it comes to spiritual connection, a lesson always reinforced for me by Anne Lamott. I loved Operating Instructions (and all of Anne's books) and was thrilled to download this one right away on Audible. It was an absolute joy. Very dear to hear both Anne and Sam's voices and I am filled with gratitude to both of them for sharing their journeys so transparently. And Anne, BLESS YOU for being you, fears and joys and schadenfreude and all, because it goes a long way in helping me to accept being me. Because this book is not really about Jax, and this review isn't really about your book. The book is about you and the review is about me, as everything we write is ultimately about ourselves. But because your "story" is so much like mine (well except for the brilliant successful writer part!) I can read about you and learn about me. Which is also why I love memoir.

So I have three thousand favorite lines from this literally laugh-out-loud funny book but because I listened to it rather than read it I can't go back and repeat them here. Anyway I wouldn't want readers to miss the chance to enjoy each gem yourselves. One very awesome line I do remember is attributed to Anne's friend Tom: "Either you learn to live with paradox and ambiguities or you will be six years old for the rest of your life." Ain't it the truth. I don't always like paradox and ambiguity but I like being my age and hope I live long enough to read the next installment of Lamott History.
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43 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Timothy J. Bazzett on April 16, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I know a lot of people are probably gonna just write me off as a grumpy old man who doesn't like babies, but here goes anyway. What we have here is lots of smarmy, baby-love kinda stuff, peppered with Lamott's usually entertaining and enlightening trademark take on faith and religious beliefs, i.e. Christian doctrine mixed with Eastern beliefs, helped along by semi-sacriligeous statements from her Jesuit pal, Tom, who cooly couches his instruction in casual profanity and vulgarisms. It's not so much that I object to any of this; it's more that she's used it all before. In SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED, a journal of her grandson's first year, Lamott seems to be simply recycling much of what she's already written, particularly in her other "baby book," OPERATING INSTRUCTIONS. She has begun to parody herself, which makes for - Sorry, Anne - a pretty ho-hum, eminently skimmable read. And the e-mails, interviews and monologues contributed by son Sam (and [grand-]baby Jax's mother Amy) do little to relieve the yawns. I've always liked Lamott's essays and musings in the past, but this 'journal' just seems redundant, and then all over the place, as she tells of her trip to India, a book tour, and then another trip to Europe. And okay, Annie - I get it already that walking the dogs is a great way to meditate and sort things out. I do it it too. But you must mention walking the dogs about fifty times in here. I concede there are still a few chuckles and ah-ha moments here and there, but I soon found myself wondering, Is it possible to overdose on an author? Well, yeah, I think it is, because this particular book? I do not like it, Sam I am.
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