I bought this book to read with my book club. I probably would not have chosen it on my own.
This is the first book by Anne Lamott I read - or I should say ATTEMPTED to read. And it will be my last. I absolutely hated this book. I'm an avid reader, and I can not remember the last time I started a book and didn't finish it. Normally, I feel compelled to read a book to the end, even if I don't like it, thinking there must be something redeeming about it. I kept pushing myself to finish this one, but just could not get into it. I can't recall another book that I have started and left unfinished in the last 20 years.
This book is about a divorced woman dealing with her family relationships. Her family is highly dysfunctional. Every character in this book is dysfunctional... Beyond that, they are just plain weird. I couldn't relate to any of it. The main character is just the most whiny, awfully depicted person I've ever read about! I could clearly see why this couple was divorced, though. They were a pair of nut jobs. It's a story about nothing... It just goes on and on. I will never be able to read another Anne Lamott novel. This was just so bad!
I'd love to get this book off my bookshelf, but I have to be honest... If you're considering reading this, just choose another novel instead!
I enjoyed this book. I really didn't know what to expect and was pleased with what I got. The book is about a woman with two children who gets divorced. It goes through dealing with ex husband's new life and trying to move on and find love of her own.
The quasi-spiritual undertones bothered me not because they were spiritual but because they were quasi, as was most of the book. The blue shoe was nice little symbol, but it never grew strong and robust. Not much at all developed, actually. I found this nice little book bland in every aspect, from the character undevelopment to the writing style to the vocabulary. Maybe I'm not the choir it was preaching to.
Memoirist and novelist Lamott brilliantly captures the dilemma of a divorced woman from the so-called "sandwich generation" in her latest, a funny, poignant and occasionally gut-wrenching novel that tracks the efforts of Mattie Ryder to cope with her divorce, find a new man, deal with her mother's aging and restore the emotional equilibrium of her two young children.
The divorce dominates in the early going as Mattie continues to sleep with her sexy but egotistical ex-husband, Nick, even though his new romance with a younger woman is clipping along at a sprightly pace. Meanwhile, Mattie grows close to a married friend named Daniel, who also feels a romantic pull although he's happily married. Mattie's feisty mother, Isa, ages precipitously and becomes increasingly disoriented, leading to a series of calamities.
Mattie's touching relationships with her kids, two-year-old Ella and difficult but sensitive six-year-old Harry, become the emotional anchor for the novel, and narrative momentum is provided by the gradual unfolding of a family secret, which reveals the infidelities of Mattie's late father. Most of the comedy is of the domestic variety, and Lamott continually displays her gift for finding the right combination of humor and small but significant revelations in ordinary moments. The ensemble cast is another major strength of the book, providing a backdrop against which Mattie, Daniel, Isa and the children emerge as powerful and memorable individuals.
Anne Lamott never disappoints, and Blue Shoe is no exception. Maybe it isn't Grace (Eventually) or the journal of her son's first year (which had me laughing and crying almost simultaneously) but her writing alone draws me to works. Enjoy!
Memoirist and novelist Lamott (Operating Instructions; Crooked Little Heart, etc.) brilliantly captures the dilemma of a divorced woman from the so-called "sandwich generation" in her latest, a funny, poignant and occasionally gut-wrenching novel that tracks the efforts of Mattie Ryder to cope with her divorce, find a new man, deal with her mother's aging and restore the emotional equilibrium of her two young children.
I really enjoy Anne Lamott. Her writing makes me laugh out loud one moment and brings tears to my eyes at the next. This is the story of Mattie, recently divorced but still occasionally sleeping with her ex-husband, trying to love her mother as she ages and begins to struggle with dementia, trying to raise her children with grace even as they drive her crazy, trying to reconcile her love for her now deceased father with the incredibly bad choices he made. Mattie's actions aren't always believable for me, but the moments of grace she experiences make her story worth it.
"It was not facing what life dealt that made you crazy, but rather trying to set life straight where it was unstraightenable."
"Then the pastor, as if reading her mind, said that it took time to know God's will; that even Jesus didn't arrive at 'Thy will be done' quickly, or He wouldn't have spent so much time in the garden."
Another great novel by Lamott! Her characters remind me of people I know, just trying to do the best they can with what they have. She can find the humor in most any situation, but has a depth of understanding for the human frailties of her characters. And I love the fact that the characters in this book have faith in God that things will work out.
Anne Lamott is writes of "everywoman"...or at least I identify with her main characters much of the time! She creates character's who bring voice to the neurotic parts inside all of us. Enjoyable characters, joys and sorrows of everyday life with all its changes and challenges with just enough introspection and soul to make it work!
From the book jacket: Mattie Ryder is marvelously neurotic, well-intentioned, funny, religious, sarcastic, tender, angry and broke. Her life at the moment is a wreck: her marriage has failed, her mother is failing, her house is rotting, her waist is expanding, her children are misbehaving, and she has a crush ona married man. Then she finds a small rubber blue show - nothing more than a gumball trinket - left behind by her father. For Mattie, it becomes a talisman - a chance to recognize the past for what it was, to se the future she always hoped it could be and to finally understand her family, herself and the ever-unfolding mystery of her sweet, sad and sometimes surprising life.
Mattie Ryder is marvelously neurotic, well-intentioned, funny, religious, sarcastic, tender, angry, and broke. Her life at the moment is a wreck: her marriage has failed, her mother is failing, her house if rotting, her waist is expanding, her children are misbehaving, and hse has a crush on a married man. Then she finds a small rubber blue shoe---nothing more than a gumball trinket---left behind by her father. For Mattie, it becomes a talisman---a chance to recognize the past for what it was, to see the future as she alwys hoped it could be, and to finally understand her family, herself, and the ever-unfolding mystery of her sweet, sad, and sometimes surprising life.