In Some Assembly Required, Anne Lamott enters a new and unexpected chapter of her own life: grandmotherhood.
Stunned to learn that her son, Sam, is about to become a father at 19, Lamott begins a journal about the first year of her grandson, Jax's, life.
In careful and often hilarious detail, Lamott and Sam - about whom she first wrote so movingly in Operating Instructions - struggle to balance their changing roles with the demands of college and work, as they both forge new relationships with Jax's mother, who has her own ideas about how to raise a child. Lamott writes about the complex feelings that Jax fosters in her, recalling her own experiences with Sam when she was a single mother. Over the course of the year, the rhythms of life, death, family, and friends unfold in surprising and joyful ways.
By turns poignant and funny, honest and touching, Some Assembly Required is the true story of how the birth of a baby changes a family - as this book will change everyone who listens to it.
©2012 Anne Lamott, Sam Lamott (P)2012 Simon & Schuster
I'm a huge Anne Lamott fan, loved
There just wasn't much to the story. Her son got a woman pregnant, they fought all the time, Anne loved the baby so much and worries all the time. And, she is so very involved in her church. And, she goes on vacation, which sounds like filler for the book. It would have been more interesting to have some short stories, each of which focused on one topic, like the trip to India, or the baby's birth, or her son becoming a father, allowing for more story development.
Sam was a pretty good narrator, but Anne was not. She simply sounded like she was reading from a text.
I did come to care about Amy, Sam, and Jax, and wished there had been an epilog to tell me what happened next. Did they stay together? I also found the words and advice of her spiritual leaders delightful to hear.
Honest, funny, poignant, sad, and always a tiny control issue or two: Anne speaks what we all feel but are afraid often to admit.
Avid reader and foodie. I read mostly fiction but thanks to my awesome book club I am branching out and finding some great books!
Better story and different narrator. So basically, this would have had to be a totally different book :)
For starters I thought the material was terrible. Anne and Sam sure are self righteous! I didn't "like" any of the people in the book and I thought they all thought too highly of themselves. Even the self-deprecation was like "humble-bragging." Not appealing.
Sorry Anne but you are a terrible narrator. Flat and emotionless. Maybe a different narrator would have made this more palatable... but I doubt it.
One of the best books yet. My first Anne Lamott book and I was so glad it was read by her. That makes such a difference. I have a new baby myself (9 months) and loved the account of her sons first son. So many little things I remember and many emotions and thoughts that I also feel. Its great that she actually thought to get it all down. It would be a great gift for a new grandparent or parent anywhere!
Families are complicated.
Operating Instructions is very similar in structure - a journal of new parenting - but this book is a sweet follow up with some key differences. Anne is now a grandmother and shares her experiences, struggles, and revelations that come with a necessarily evolving relationship with her son, Sam.
Their voices. The book is a shared journal and so many of the passages are like conversations between the two.
This too shall pass.
Even though Anne Lamott is one of my favorite writers (and narrators), after reading some negative reviews, I was hesitant to give this book a listen. (Not being a parent myself, I was also concerned that I might not be able to relate to much of the book's subject matter.) As it turned out, I absolutely loved this book from start to finish. I think it's just as good as "Plan B" and "Grace (Eventually)", though a bit more narrowly focused. Lamott's signature off-beat observations and self-deprecating humor are both in top form, and there's an underlying warmth and poignancy that seems to be deepening with each book she writes. (Also, I really enjoyed the written/narrative contributions of Anne's son, Sam...he's articulate, funny, and has a "handsome" voice.) If you're sitting on the fence with this one, I say go for it...I'm so glad I did!
I have held Lamott in high regard as a writer for years, especially her non-fiction and memoirs. This book was not up to her usual standard, and I was very disappointed.
I think religion is one of self-choice, and Anne found Christianity years ago. It has been a part of her books since in a humorous, self-awareness-growth way, but this book I found overly-preachy for me. The story line is thin to non-existent; her choice of doing a diary approach accentuates this problem.
She reads it in pretty much of a monotone, with Sam reading some of his own words.
What a letdown.
Some Assembly Required reminded me all over again why I love almost everything that Anne Lamott writes. Part funny, part sad, part self-deprecating, part Jesusy, and oh so very earthy. I remembered why I love writing, why I love reading, why I love children and family, and why I love Jesus and how somehow all of those things go together. Absolutely worth listening to for anyone who is a fan of Lamott's work, or anyone who simply enjoys a well-crafted, very funny and poignant memoir.
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