Anne Lamott is known for her perceptive and funny writings about spirituality. Readers and listeners of all ages have followed her faith journey through decades of trial and error (sometimes more error than Annie wanted), and in her new book, she has coalesced all she knows about prayer to three essentials: Help, Thanks, and Wow. It is these three prayers - asking for assistance from a higher power, appreciating all that we have and all that is good, and feeling awe at the beauty of the world around us - that can get us through the day and can show us the way forward.
In Help, Thanks, Wow, Anne Lamott recounts how she came to these insights, explains what they mean to her and how they have helped, and explores how others have embraced these same ideas. Insightful, funny and honest, Help, Thanks, Wow is the everyday faith book that new Lamott readers will love and longtime Lamott fans will cherish.
©2012 Anne Lamott (P)2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
I picked up the book even though I wasn't sure about the prayer part and I'm glad I did. In less than two hours Anne Lamott gives us a succinct, funny, and all-inclusive tale about her journey from "fine china" prayers to the three that are more of the paper plate variety and probably more effective. Written in an authentic style, Lamott unapologetically shares her take on approaching god whether she is a mountain, an armchair, or some other external power we can talk to. Her breathe of knowledge about all types of spirituality is evident in the content and readers can be comfortable with her version of truth regardless of where they are in their spiritual journeys. She is honest about who we are as people and as a society yet, in the end, states we are "mostly decent." For me the hope and charm of this book is that I finished it and could say, "Yeah, I do that and can probably do a little bit more of it." While I cannot say Lamott is the best narrator in the world, she is acceptable and there is something special about her reading her own work. If you are looking for a short, touching read that helps you move along toward a little bit of change in a non defensive way, this book is wonderful.
I could and might listen to this several times. I believe that everyone would or could get something out of this little gem!
It is very personal and human.
I didn't really enjoy the author's voice. I might have enjoyed reading the book on my own even more. But the overall message and points were so good that I got over it.
The whole book speaks to the human experience and there was a particularly touching story the author shared about a boy coming to learn about the realities of death and that his mother would likely die before him.
Highly recommend if you are interested in spiritual life, regardless of religious affiliation.
Anne Lamott is a streetwise funny liberal Christian operating in a piety-free spiritual zone. "Help me not to be such an ass" is just one example of her take on prayer. It is a refreshing break from the mega-church prosperity gospel that preaches dogma straight out of the Republican playbook where Jesus is a CEO and "consider the lilies of the field they neither toil nor spin" is some kind of misprint. Lamott doesn't seem to believe in a God who will help you pray and grow rich. She talks about the God of pet owners suffering with their dying cats, parents of children with brain cancer, nature lovers trudging through life with Lou Gehrig's Disease, and alcoholics struggling to stay sober one day at a time. This book is infused with the spirituality of storefront Alcoholics Anonymous meetings where strugglers pray to a higher power of their own choosing, NOT one forced on them by a TV preacher. Early on, Lamott makes it clear that she doesn't care what you call God. She explains that some people call their higher power Howard having presumably heard the Lord's Prayer in an A.A. meeting and recited: "Our Father which art in Heaven, Howard be thy name ..." Names don't matter. Piety doesn't count. Being a nice person is beside the point. The important thing is to make honest contact with a power greater than yourself. This is a book about prayer for people who understand the old saying: "Religion is for people who don't want to go to Hell. Spirituality is for people who have already been there." But beyond the gritty lefty slant to Lamott on prayer, there is a commitment to telling the truth about life no matter how painful and of finding little ways to ask for Help when you're in trouble, give Thanks when you get a break and occasionally say Wow when the Universe gives you glimpse of beauty.
The Book Snob for Paris Life Magazine.
I hope I'll reread this every year. Such excellent, simple concepts. Help, Help, Help! Thanks, Thanks, Thanks! Wow! I find myself doing better at this now. And I appreciate that Anne asks questions. Thanks Anne, for giving me permission to ask questions and just be myself in prayer, while reminding me of the essentials of my faith.
Book blogger at Bookwi.se
I am not an Anne Lamott devotee. So I do not read everything she writes. But I have read enough to know that she is a very good author and one that looks at spiritual realities from a different perspective.
So one day last month I was tired of all of my audiobooks I had been listening too and looked around to find another. I noticed that with my member discount at Audible, Help, Thanks, Wow was under $5. So I picked it up.
I had resisted previously because it is so short. In audiobook it is barely 90 minutes. In paper it is listed as 112 pages. But it must be a gift book sized pages.
However, for $5 I thought it was worth picking up.
I listened to it two days after listening to Palmer Parker’s Let Your Life Speak. The two books, although not at all similar in subject had a similarity in spiritual direction. Both emphasized that the Christian life is not striving after looking good or being respectable.
Instead the Christian life is about being sinful, selfish people while also attempting to know Christ. Anne Lamott can be an acquired taste. She does not feel the need to wrap things up nicely. She knows the value of a bit of swearing at the appropriate time. She refers to God as she pretty frequently, she does not think that only Christians have spiritual insights.
The point of the book is that behind all of our pretense, most of the time we are praying one of three prayers, Help, Thanks or Wow. Each of these prayers come to use even if we are not comfortable with prayer, because they are part of who we were created to be.
I want to emphasize that this is a short book (and I think overpriced in Kindle and Hardcover). But it does have wisdom. Anne Lamott deserves her place as one of the Evangelical gadflies. And I think with time she has earned her a place of wise elder as well as gadfly.
Originally posted at my blog, Bookwi.se
Anne Lamott's reading interpreted and augmented the her basic book on prayer.
The concepts behind the book are basic, but Lamott's inimitable style brings good perspective to the topic.
Short and excellent - a great listen with the author's dry and unfettered delivery. I wonder if Anne Lamott and Patti Smith are friends . . . they should be! The beauty of the brevity here is that I will re-listen to this book and get more from it. Anne may come from a Christian background, but her content reaches across all defined/undefined belief systems. Enjoy!
Thoughtfully written and lots of meat for spiritual practice. Only downside was the reader's monotone performance.
A different narrator.
Not read in such a monotone.
Monotone. It sounded like a computer voice at times.
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