Grace (Eventually):Thoughts on Faith by Anne LamottAnne Lamott is a prolific writer of fiction and non fiction works. Her works of Fiction includes but are not limited to the following books: Hard Laughter (1980), Rosie (1983), Joe Jones (1985), All New People (1989), Crooked Little Heart (1997) and Blue Shoe(2002).
Some of her non fiction writings include: Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year (1993), Home and Other Stories (1993), Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life (1994), Traveling Mercies (1999) and Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith(2005).
Grace Eventually continues where Traveling Mercies and Plan B left off, with Lamott raising her son, Sam, railing at the Bush administration, ministering to friends, loving Jesus, staying sober, getting older. I have to be honest this is the first of her books I have read, and I enjoyed it so much I bought the other two to find out what I had missed.
I love her gritty honesty about her life, her struggles as a single mom of a now teenager. I love her sharing her continued sobriety, and how difficult it can be at times to stay in recovery. I loved her stories of her friends, her relationships, her family. I even liked the story about the carpet man. I was a little amazed at her sharing her strong dislike of Bush and his administration, and yet I appreciate her willingness to write that down.
I want Anne to be my friend or me be her friend, except she lives in
There's grace in all of the essays, but it doesn't always make them light reading: "At Death's Window" is about helping a friend with cancer die; in "Dear Old Friend" she helps her aging Aunt Gertrud, who's outlived close friends and family, change her mind and keep her house and her independence; in "Samwheel" (that's the way her son pronounced his name when he was small), she narrates an awful fight with Sam that culminated in her slapping him. Some of the hilarious moments in GRACE (EVENTUALLY) deal with aging, including the phrase "the fanny pack of menopause."
Here are some questions to get us started in our book discussion. You are invited to write responses to them or to write your own thoughts ask other questions as well:
1. Did Grace Eventually live up to your expectations? Why or why not?
2. How much did you know about Lamott and her spirituality before you started reading the book? Were you familiar with the her platform, and did this influence your decision to choose the work? Did the book live up to your expectations of the author? Did it exceed your expectations? Why or why not?
3. What did you like or dislike about the book that hasn't been discussed already? Were you glad you read this book? Would you recommend it to a friend? Do you want to read more works by this author?
4. What do you think motivated Anne Lamott to share these particular personal stories? How did you respond to her "voice"?
6. Do you think Anne Lamott is trying to elicit a certain response from the reader, such as sympathy? How has Grace Eventually changed or enhanced your view of her?
7. In one of her chapters, "Wailing Wall," she writes that "anger is good, a bad attitude is excellent, and the medicinal powers of shouting and complaining cannot be overestimated." Do you agree or disagree and tell why?
8. One of the most controversial chapters of the book, tells about Anne helping a terminally-ill friend die. How did you react to this chapter? How does “Grace" fit into this or not?
9. She writes at one point "I prayed impatiently for patience, and to stop feeling disgusted by myself, and to believe for a few moments that God, just a bit busy with other suffering in the world, actually cared about one menopausal white woman on a binge." What are your thoughts about that?
10. "I wish grace and healing were more abracadabra kinds of things," she writes in one of her essays, "that delicate silver bells would ring to announce grace's arrival. But no, it's clog and slog and scootch, on the floor, in silence, in the dark."Do feel the same way about Grace and healing or do you feel differently? If so why?On September 24, Songbird will lead our discussion of the book Good Fences: The Boundaries of Hospitality by Caroline Westerhoff. (If you want to read an excerpt, Amazon has a feature on the page of the book to read some of the book to get an idea if you like it.)