Book Review: Almost Everything: Notes on Hope

From my Goodreads review:

Almost Everything: Notes on Hope by Anne Lamott
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ah, Anne Lamott. I love her so.

Almost Everything is classic Lamott, witty, comical, heart-wrenching, and honest to the point of breaking.

Her very first words tell the whole story: “I am stockpiling antibiotics for the apocalypse, even as I await the blossoming of the paperwhites on the windowsill in the kitchen.” Yep, that about sums it up. [Also, I just noticed that the Goodreads blurb uses this same quote. Oops. Must be relevant.]

Lamott is the master of the struggle between despair and hope, walking the fragile line between the loathsome cynic we find lurking within our skin, and the bright-eyed and hopeful child that we’re trying desperately to turn that beast into. She is a great guide on the journey, when everything within us is clinging to the easy path, to the hate and judgment that comes so naturally in our world of 24-hour news and idiocy.

I think I’ve read three or four Anne Lamott books before this one. The only gripe I have with her–and this book seems to have ramped it up a little bit further–is her insistence on how damaged we all are. I concede that too many of us are chewed up and spit out by our childhoods, but I wasn’t one of them, and I suspect I’m not alone. Life is rough everywhere, indeed, but we weren’t all quite as mutilated as Ms. Lamott thinks we were. This is no deal-breaker; I love her anyway. But it does rub me a little every time she goes there, which is often.

Overall, this is another quick and glorious read that made me a little bit more human. Again. I feel like I need regular refresher courses, and Anne Lamott is one of my faithful go-tos. Thank you, ma’am, for delivering up the reminders I need to remain hopeful in the face of unhopeful circumstances, and for reminding me that I am privileged and blessed, and that not all of us have been spared the ravages of a hellacious upbringing.

View all my Goodreads reviews

Also, I love Anne’s voice. So strong and clear and unapologetic. I get the impression (I’m aware that I’m delusional) that she sits down one day and decides it might be a good day to put a quick book down on paper.

Tap, tap, tappity-tap-tap. Tap.
“Well, now that that’s done… maybe a cup of tea.”

Poof. Mind-boggling. Some day I’m going to write a book in an afternoon. Wait for it.


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