Reading this book brought back vivid memories of my first years as a mother. Now that I'm deep in my childrens' teen years, it is soothing to remember the early struggles mixed with the sheer wonder of their existence. Lamont's bracing honesty gives me constant comfort when I wonder whether I'm doing it right. The answer is who knows? Nobody can say because there is no roadmap.
This is a classic--possibly the most hilarious mother-of-young-infant memoir written, seasoned with philosophical insight.
Boycott this book. Seriously. Anne Lamott's commentary about her son's circumcision (and HOW DARE she approve of circumcision and masquerade as a feminist - does bodily integrity apply to women only!?!) has to rank as among the most ignorant that I've ever read. To Lamott, circumcision was the preferred option over keeping her son intact (primarily) for aesthetic reasons (She offers up a few other red herrings - "it's easier to clean" or "it will prevent penile cancer" but is clear that looks alone were the reason she opted to mutilate him). As if somehow, a man choosing to have his daughter's clitoral hood removed for aesthetic grounds would justified in doing so. Well, f*ck you, Miss Lamott! Seriously, as an intact male, and someone who advocates genital integrity for ALL humans (male, female, trans alike), how could you??!?
This book was gifted to me while I was pregnant and, yes, single. Just as Anne is in this memoir. I read it and cried. I read it and laughed. I read it in the bathtub and got bubble residue on it. This book got me through the worst parts of single-adult-mom-pregnancy... when people would ask me about the father or tell me how happy he must be, I just laughed inside and thought of how Anne dealt with that. I admire her ability to selflessly share what was, for me, one of the toughest, defining times in my life. When she talks about how she "REALLY" felt hearing her baby cry or bounce off the bed accidentally... so many of these diary entries I experienced later and thought, "Well she got through this!" Even if I hadn't shared this experience with her, I would adore this book for it's honesty and it's pacing, which walks you through the ups and downs of a new mom's life. Not the Mommy-and-Me-Yoga life... but the real nitty gritty of why it's wonderful and terrifying to be a mom doing it all alone.
I loved this very funny journal.
Operating Instructions was the first book I read by Anne Lamott and it remains one of my favorites (I also love Bird by Bird). It's about Anne's first year as single mom to her son Sam. For the most part the book is hilarious but there is also a sad element when Anne's best friend copes with cancer. Just like life sometimes; happy and sad events at the same time.
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