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Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son's First Son Paperback – April 2, 2013
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“[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.”
About the Author
Anne Lamott is the New York Times bestselling author of Help, Thanks, Wow; Small Victories; Stitches; Some Assembly Required; Grace (Eventually); Plan B; Traveling Mercies; Bird by Bird; Operating Instructions, and the forthcoming Hallelujah Anyway. She is also the author of several novels, including Imperfect Birds and Rosie. A past recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and an inductee to the California Hall of Fame, she lives in Northern California.
Sam Lamott is an inventor, designer, entrepreneur, and artist who lives in San Francisco.
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That being said, I could not live in my child's pocket the way she does. Is it because it was just her and her son? I had four children so I would have completely lost my mind trying to micromanage them the way she does her only son. I can understand she had real and valid concerns for her son, Sam, becoming a father at 20 but she just goes too far.
As the memoir goes on, I grow to dislike her a little. She lets his life overtake hers. There were many examples of her trying to bribe the children to stay close to her. She interviews them which would really have put me off. When the mother takes the grandchild to visit her family, Lamott quizzes her son about how she expects the child to have changed in his absence. Please give him a chance to breath.
I read this for my book club and it will certainly lead to some interesting discussions.
There is a brief section when Anne goes to India and is at last free of the invisible restraints. Once again, her writing shines.
I did notice that even Anne has fallen prey to American affluenza. She wrote proudly of burying Jax in Christmas presents--grandparent excess. The illness runs deep in all of us. Anne as mother-in-law is a less sympathetic character. I wouldn't have wanted to be Amy, but you feel Anne TRY so hard to keep her nose out.
They make it through the year with Jax healthy and strong and the relationship between her son and his baby mama still very tentative.
Not everyone likes Lamott's somewhat edgy style and I suppose not everyone finds her funny. Since this book is typical Lamott, anyone who dislikes her writing generally will not like this either.
I, however, did enjoy this book this book for what it was - basically a month by month (sometimes day by day) exposition of her feelings about being a grandmother to Jax, mother to Sam and (in effect) mother-in-law to Amy, Jax's mom. I agree it's not her best book, but it still shows flashes of her amazing ability to come up with creative ways to express what others would probably deem mundane occurrences. She uses hyperbole to good, comedic effect, particularly in talking about what a genius her grandson is (mind you, the book covers only his first year of life!)
I smiled, I sighed, I shared her stress. I agree that her trips to India, as well as the trip to Europe toward the very end, are the least interesting parts of the book and I am not sure why she included them, other than because it's the story of Jax's first year and she took these trips during that time period.
I miss Lamott when she hasn't written anything for awhile. I appreciated this "fix."
I'd love to hear more about Jax, Sam, and Amy, but suspect that their privacy will now take precedence over my curiosity. So, I hope Lamott can soon find another topic for her non-fiction writing.