The BUZZ: Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace was released last month and is already a bestseller and #1 in the Kindle store for essays and spirituality. This is Lamott’s 9th work of non-fiction.
The GIST: This new book from Lamott – a collection of fresh essays and some old favorites – does not disappoint. In these 24 pieces, Lamott shares her struggles and triumphs in living with loss, staying sober, parenting, being a daughter, forgiveness, faith, and family. Lamott has tackled these subjects before, always with her trademark mix of humility, humor, wisdom, and startling honesty. The book’s sections – Companions, Families, Airborne, and Ground – encompass essays ranging from dealing with a spandex-wearing rival grade school mom, to coming to terms with a critical mother, to losing a dog, to losing a dear friend. Although Lamott relates her own stories, we can see ourselves in them or grow our perspective because of them. Reading her feels like having a good friend share with you her deepest wishes and fears and assure you that, no matter what, everything will be all right.
The WRITING: Lamott is beloved by millions because she is down-to-earth, yet she is able to inspire. She is willing to be vulnerable in her essays and to learn from her mistakes and to admit her flaws. We can relate because we have been there, and Lamott is willing to describe just how good or bad that place may be. Her writing is a balm, whether she makes us laugh at how ridiculous it is to be human, or makes us cry as we grieve with her over the death of a loved one. It is refreshing and inspiring when a writer speaks her truth, no holds barred. It is lovely to witness with her sparkling moments of grace.
BUY or BORROW?: Buy. This book was given to me as a gift (thanks, Carolyn!) and it is a treasure. It will stay on my nightstand for a dose of wisdom or a good laugh, depending on what’s needed on any given day.
Forgiveness is release from me; somehow, finally, I am returned to my better, dopier self, so much lighter when I don’t have to drag the toxic chatter, wrangle and pinch around with me anymore. Not that I don’t get it out every so often, for old time’s sake. But the trapped cloud is no longer nearly so dark or dense. It was blown into wisps, of smoke, of snow, of ocean spray.