Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Book Review: Operating Instructions by Anne Lamott

Title: Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son's First Year
Author: Anne Lamott
Enjoyment Rating: ****
Source: Library Copy
This book would be rated: PG-13 for language

After reading Some Assembly Required, a journal of Anne Lamott's first year as a grandmother, I knew I needed to go back and read the source on which it was based, Operating Instructions, which is a journal of her first year as a mother.  The books are similar in many ways-- in both cases Lamott is completely wrapped up in this baby in her life, but she also manages to weave in the non-baby stories of that year, all in her characteristic confessional, self-deprecating style.

When I was a first-time mom, at 25, I thought that I knew everything. I'd read a whole bunch of books, and I'd wanted to be a mom ever since I could remember, and it wasn't until Bryce was actually here that I realized that it was harder than I thought it would be. Lamott, on the other hand, had a decade's worth of experience on me, and had already attained a measure of success in her life (unlike me), yet she seemed to approach motherhood with a sense of trepidation. Maybe it's because of that that she was able to see every fantastic moment with a bit of wonder. I expected all moments to be fantastic and was frustrated when they weren't.

I'm also happy to know that I'm not the only mom who has said bad words to her baby, thought he was evil and out to ruin my life, or wanted to escape completely some times. I think this would be a great book for all new moms to read, but it resonated equally well with me. I just wish she'd written about Sam's toddler years. I need to find someone else who is suffering through those years with as much humor and intelligence as Lamott shows here.


ellen said...

I enjoyed this book and have shared it with many a new mom.

Luisa Perkins said...

Anne Lamott is a national treasure.