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Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son's First Son Hardcover – March 20, 2012
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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.”
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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.
But enjoying these stories when it's a stranger telling them is something else.
At the surface, there is nothing special about Anne Lamott's new book, "Some Assembly Required." It is a journal of the first year of her grandson Jax's life. Anne's son, Sam, is nineteen when Jax is born and Anne details Sam's journey with his son and how Anne must force herself to let her son grow up and make decisions on his own.
Even though nothing particularly exciting happens to baby Jax that hasn't already happened to billions of babies everywhere, the joy is in the storytelling. Anne Lamott has always been one of my favorite storytellers. She is self-deprecating. She is unabashedly Christian and unabashedly uncouth. Yet even as a Christian, she visits ashrams in San Francisco and mosques in India. She searches for connection to God anywhere and everywhere.
She quotes John Muir who "once said that to see the face of God, you do not need to open a book or go to church or temple; you have only to go to Yosemite. And you are a part of the world's beauty. God, and the beauty of God's creation, and you complete the circuit."
She often says things that strike my soul in such a way I begin to wonder if we're all connected somehow, if we all share the same soul longings, the same soul fears and joys and if these things are what connect us all in the community of God.
She writes in regards to her grandson Jax, "I think about the idea of his having dual citizenship--a child of God and heaven, with a human life here--and how confusing that has always been for me. And what he is in for, because our spiritual and human identities coexist, the way light is both a particle and a wave."
The interesting thing in physics about wave-particle duality is that when you are looking for a wave you will find one and when you are hunting for a particle you will find that too. Both coexist together, but you can only see what you are looking for at the time.
I love how Anne Lamott makes me think.
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.
In "Some Assembly Required" she learns a lot about the challenges of "letting go". Her son, Sam and his wife, Amy have just had
A baby boy. It is all Anne can do to keep remembering her new place. She is not the mom, the baby is theirs, and Sam, Amy,
Jax are a new family. Anne is a part of the family too, but in a whole new relationship.
There are different scenarios in this book. One is when Anne takes a trip to India. This part shares a lot about the deep differences
Of their culture. She shares so beautifully I actually felt like I was with her among the beggars who she so badly wanted to give to.
Sam shares a lot about the amazement in the development of Jax. He is totally infatuated with the things Jax does.
This delights Nana but she trie desperately to keep her thoughts to herself when she knows a much better way.
Throughout the book, she shows what a great support system that rally to her cause, sometimes being perfectly blunt!
I related to many challenges she faced in this book, the "letting go" of your children so they can become who they are to become
Not who you want them to be
I think adults of all ages would enjoy this book and learn something new along the way!