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Copyright by Pegg Thomas 2009-2015


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Feb 7, 2011
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and LifeBird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

This book came highly recommended by a writer I both admire and respect. For that reason, I gave it every chance and read more than half of it before shutting the cover for good last night. I have never read a book or article by Anne Lamott other than this one, I know nothing about her personally, but this book turned me off completely. She talks about God and going to church, yet ridicules evangelicals and snidely refers to the Lord as "she". The book contains vulgar language including taking the Lord's name in vain and the use of the F word.

As far as writing content, I found nothing in here that I haven't found in other books. Anne Lamott believes in seat-of-the-pants style writing. In the first two thirds of the book, there was nothing much except the repeat of "listen to the characters" and how to do that. She uses examples from a class she teaches, usually by mocking the students, and her humor throughout tends to be derogatory in nature.

The book overall is well written and easy to follow, but the content did not appeal to me or encourage me to keep reading. I would have shut the cover much sooner except for the respect I have for the person who recommended it.


Linda Yezak said...

Her book is highly recommended in many writing circles, but I'd heard this about her before and wasn't interested. The only thing we have in common is being pantsers.

After awhile, all the craft books begin to sound alike. The one truly different one I found was Chila Woychik's recommendation: Steering the Craft. There is some overlap of familiarity to it, but Ursula K. LeGuin takes writing instruction a step farther--like an advanced text. I'm glad I found it.

Renee Ann said...

I so agree with you about this book! I'm always amazed when folks rave over books--both fiction and non-fiction--that leave me cold. And I agree with Linda, after a while the craft books all began to sound the same to me. I'll have to check out the one she mentioned!

Adam Blumer said...

Thanks for your review on this book. I had also heard of this book and was curious. Now I know not to bother. Thanks.

Melissa said...

Thanks for the link to your review and for your offer. My library copy came in the same day as my BBB post. ;)

by Pegg Thomas said...

Dang. Can't even give it away...