Literature: Lamott’s Imperfect Birds

Title: Imperfect Birds // Author: Anne Lamott // Publisher: Riverhead Books // Pub. Date: April 6, 2010 // 288 p.

Anne Lamott’s new novel, Imperfect Birds, was one of the books I took along with me on my recent road trip. I’m a fan of Lamott’s nonfiction and was curious about her new book, even though I wasn’t sure I’d find its subject matter appealing. In Imperfect Birds, Lamott revisits the lives of two of her most endearing characters—Elizabeth and Rosie. Here, these two return as a mother continuing to fight for her sobriety and a teenage daughter who masterfully deceives her parents—and herself—as she cycles through the process of drug abuse, addiction, and recovery. Lamott employs her characteristically laugh-out-loud writing style to explore the consequences of teenage drug addiction, a problem that devastates hundreds of thousands of young people, families, and communities each year. Lamott’s quick-witted narrator kept me afloat as I read this book, which could have been a downer due to its subject matter. I found out in the process of reading it that I didn’t need to be a parent of teenagers or somehow otherwise be connected to teenage culture to enjoy the story. Ultimately, this novel is “about how incredibly hard it is to know and communicate the truth,” as Lamott says in an interview. And that’s something all of this book’s readers will understand.

To read my full-length review of Anne Lamott’s Imperfect Birds on the About.com Contemporary Literature website, click here.

Photo credit: Riverhead Books

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