From January 22nd: Stitches – A Handbook on Meaning, Hope, and Repair [NF] – Anne Lamott
I’ve been meaning to read this book for at least three years. It came out in 2013, but I hadn’t heard of it until 2015, because that would have been when I read my first Lamott book, Bird by Bird, her treatise on writing [one of my favorite books]. I finally picked it up, for no reason other than it had been on my list. It’s quite short and overall an easy read, with Anne’s rambling sort of storytelling, idea-weaving method. At times it is magical, yet others difficult to follow. I haven’t read any other of her work and [probably] unfairly, I had high expectations for Stitches simply because Bird by Bird blew me away. My expectations for that book were an unknown entity when I read it; for this book, my expectations were known.
I’ve discovered my sensibilities match up well with Anne’s, which is why this book didn’t push me any direction, instead just propped up what I was feeling already. Without shortchanging the book, because its message is good and important, she basically writes that in the face of tragedy and trauma, there aren’t really answers and the only thing we can really do is show up for each other and be together.
One of my favorite quotes is, “What if you wake up at sixty and realize that you forgot to wake up, and you never became the person you were born to be, and now your hair is falling out?”, mostly because I sort of feel that way at 35: one night after I stopped drinking and smoking daily, I woke up, drenched in night sweats, unable to breath, with an anxiety I’d never known: I’ve done this to myself –am I going to be able to pull myself out of it?
I woke up, drenched in night sweats, unable to breath, with an anxiety I’d never known: I’ve done this to myself –am I going to be able to pull myself out of it?
Overall it was a very self-soothing read – surprisingly natural when you consider the subject of this book and the ideology Anne is sending us toward with her message. I’m certain there are many people for whom this message is deeply important and moving; for myself, I feel like I arrived at the end of the book over the last three years without reading it. And still, I find the message tranquilizing.
 I generally enjoyed it and also can’t believe I fancy myself enough to criticize the author of one of my favorite books!