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Parnassus Book Reviews

Book Review by George R. Pasley


May 24, 2007

Ketchikan, Alaska - Anne Lamott never disappoints, and her new book proves the point.

The prelude to GRACE (EVENTUALLY): Thoughts on Faith tells about a horrible time in her pre-Christian life, when she was dumped by her lover and, as she puts it, "still drinking."

jpg Grace (Eventually)

In the story she meets up with her ex, spends the night with him, and then gets physically ill when he leaves his apartment to go back to his new girlfriend. But on his nightstand she discovers a book: The Only Dance There Is, by Ram Dass.

There was nothing new in the book, but it was told by a vulnerable person, with humor, and she could not put it down. It was one step on the way to finding Jesus. So Anne's latest book, told with the memory of another book, is about learning how to dance- how to walk with God, and learn the steps of grace.

The best thing to do is first remind you that if you have any sense of humor at all, you will laugh with Anne. The second best thing to do is tell you to lay aside any predilections you have towards holiness. They will only get in the way of appreciating Anne's writing, and if you appreciate her writing, you will be on the path back towards a wholesome sort of holiness.

The final thing that I can do is give you a snippet. After describing how her son, at the age of ten, weaned himself from sleeping in his mother's bedroom by sleeping on the floor every night, slowly moving out of her bedroom, down the hall, through the living room and into his own bedroom, just a few feet at a time, over a period of weeks, Anne writes:

"That's me, trying to make any progress at all with family, in work, relationships, self-image: scootch, scootch, stall; scootch, stall, catastrophic reversal; bog, bog, scootch. I wish grace and healing were more abracadabra kinds of things; also, 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.

"I suppose that if you were snatched out of the mess, you'd miss the lesson: the lesson is the slog"

Anne is particularly and uniquely adept at learning the lessons of grace. When she writes the lessons, she goes one step better. Every word is graceful. Enjoy!

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