I had the remarkable experience of seeing Anne Lamott at the Barnes and Noble in Edina. She read a little bit, then answered questions. It is striking how her physical way of speaking is exactly as her books are written; her actual casual way of talking is her actual writing voice. It was a great experience because I see her as my scout in parenting (along with my lovely sister-in-law), plowing just a few years ahead of me in her books. The first book I read of hers, Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year, came out the year my older son, was born. So, her book came out just as I was experiencing my son’s first year of life.
Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son’s First Son is a book about becoming a grandparent. As far as I know, I am not on that road yet, and hopefully not for a while, but the book had some great advice about giving up control as a child becomes an adult. This has not been easy for me, although I am cognizant of the need, and do my best, which in Ms. Lamott’s world is all anyone can do.
There is nothing ground breaking in this book, just an extension of her self-effacing humor, however, she has lost a little bit of the desperate slightly breathless edge her writing used to have. She has aged, mellowed and matured. While she is still able to laugh at herself, her life is more stable, and with that stability comes a calmer, more grace-filled person. I still enjoy her books but they don’t touch me in quite the same way.