Thursday, May 7, 2009

Read This Book: Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott

I've been in a book reading funk lately. I just can't seem to find anything engaging that I am crazy about reading which is a really big deal for me because reading ranks right up there with breathing and eating for me.

I'm probably a bad Christian for admitting this, but I don't usually like books about faith. I like hearing people's stories about how they "found" God, but I can't ever manage to get through a whole book about finding faith/peace/happiness because I find myself in the literary version of a diabetic coma from all the sugary sweetness. That is a gross over generalization about those types of books, I know, but I simply talk myself out of reading them before I even get a chance to pick them up.

But my friend Dewde (who I trust not to give me a sugary sweet Christian cupcake-book) gave me this book when I was in the hospital with Traveler and once my baby haze wore off and I could stay awake long enough to read I picked it up.

And wow. This book.

Traveling Mercies
is a book about a journey to faith and finding God, but Lamott's voice is so raw and honest and real that it isn't for the easily offended. In one breath, she admits to saying or doing things that "would make Jesus want to drink gin straight out of the cat dish" while at the same time inspiring the reader by her unconventional methods for finding God in these trials and the ways in which her faith grows throughout them.

The language is a little spicy (though we all know that doesn't exactly bother me) so it's not your typical ladies Bible study book on faith, but somehow the grit and the grime of a real, honest, imperfect life serve as a stunning mosaic against which the grace of a loving God is able to shine.

Traveling Mercies
is so good and true and real that I'm pretty much at a loss for words about why you should read it. I feel like a girl with a crush who finds herself stammering and stuttering and speechless when faced with the object of her affection. I have such a huge writer-crush on Lamott and her book and so I'll simply say this:

Read this book. You won't be sorry you did.

(And also thanks Dewde for sharing it with me. You were right about waiting until I could laugh without endangering the stitches from my C-section!)


kellymac said...

Love that book! She has two more that carry on the same theme - "Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith" and "Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith". I've read one of her novels, "Blue Shoe" (well, listened to the audiobook) and enjoyed it as well.

Anonymous said...

This *does* sound really good!
As soon as I get my next Border's coupon, it's mine! ;)


dewde said...

Officially my favorite Christian book with F-bombs. Hands down. And that part where she describes her car making a that "bad sound", as if its engine wanted to fall out of its vagina, dude. I was in tears. But then in other moments in the book I was in tears for different reasons.

Glad you enjoyed it. I wish I was as honest as Anne. She makes me want to be a writer.


Brooke Burt said...

YES! I love this book as well. Another one you might want to try: Blue Like Jazz by Daniel Miller--amazing!! Both these books truly changed the way I look at spirituality.

Brooke Burt said...

Sorry, I meant Donald Miller!

Peanut said...

I'm always looking for something good to read. And sometimes squeaky clean is just too clean for me. I've put this one on hold at the library!