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Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers Hardcover – Deckle Edge, November 13, 2012

4.6 out of 5 stars 926 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Inspiriting, trenchant, and funny, best-selling Lamott takes an imaginative do-it-yourself approach to spirituality in her disarming and stirring essays. Unabashedly emotional yet practical and sharply attuned to the absurdities and tragedies of life, she focuses on prayer in this mighty little volume, defining it as “communication from the heart to that which surpasses understanding.” If you are uncomfortable addressing God, Lamott suggests praying to “the Good.” The point is to make contact with “the Real, with Truth, with the Light.” To take a moment to focus and breathe. She cites three basic themes. Asking for help, she writes, “is the first great prayer.” Giving thanks is essential, and not only when things are going well. One also benefits from summoning gratitude for hard truths and tough challenges. “Wow” is the joyful expression of wonder in response to astonishing moments great and small. With a stand-up comic’s snap and pop, candid and righteous Lamott tells hilarious and wrenching tales about various predicaments that have sparked her prayers and inspired her to encourage others to pray anytime, anywhere, and any way. --Donna Seaman

Review

“[A] prayer manual for people who wouldn't be caught dead reading prayer manuals... anybody who gets it as a holiday gift will likely just say, 'Thanks. Wow.'” —Publishers Weekly

“A refreshingly simple approach to spiritual practice in a pint-sized reflection on prayer... Lamott manages to deftly convey the idea that in trying to control things, we've largely lost our ability to see the good and the miraculous in everyday life... there's more here than meets the eye.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Charmingly irreverent.” —MORE Magazine

“Filled with Lamott's unique brand of humor, wisdom and profound spiritual insight... She has a gift for putting into words what it means to accept and ultimately embrace the beauty, mystery, and pain that is life.” —San Antonio Express-News

“Practical and poetic advice on prayer.” —The Oregonian

“An imaginative do-it-yourself approach to spirituality...With a stand-up comic's snap and pop, candid and righteous Lamott tells hilarious and wrenching tales about various predicaments that have sparked her prayers and inspired her to encourage others to pray anytime, anywhere, and any way.” —Booklist
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 102 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Books; First Printing edition (November 13, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594631298
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594631290
  • Product Dimensions: 4.8 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (926 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,578 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Deanokat TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Over the last several years I've gone through some very difficult times in my life. But about two years 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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
*****
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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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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.
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