Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year by Anne Lamott
Reviewed by Ginny!
The most honest, wildly enjoyable book written about motherhood is surely Anne Lamott’s account of her son Sam’s first year. A gifted writer and teacher, Lamott (Crooked Little Heart) is a single mother and ex-alcoholic with a pleasingly warped social circle and a remarkably tolerant religion to lean on. She responds to the changes, exhaustion, and love Sam brings with aplomb or outright insanity. The book rocks from hilarious to unbearably poignant when Sam’s burgeoning life is played out against a very close friend’s illness. No saccharine paean to becoming a parent, this touches on the rage and befuddlement that dog sweeter emotions during this sea change in one’s life.
Synopsis from Goodreads.
What I drank prior: my friend came over after an extended trip to catch up and I drank a cocktail thats malibu, vodka, crnaberry juice, and a little bit of lime. Tis tasty. I had a few. Also a shot and a half of malibu cause I was a shot and a halg short of being drunk enough to write. You’re welcome, it was a sacrifice I was willing to make.
Spoiler-free Drunk Overview: this doesnt fit what I normally review mostly because a lot of nonfiction doesnt wxactly fit our normal review pattern. That being said the book was sweet and I wanted to talk about it in more detail that the weekly update would have let me. This follows a year of Annie Lamotts life after she had her son Sam. It is sweet and saf anf surprising in the way life can be.
Spoiler-free Thoughts: its always a relief to realize that people share the feelings youve buried deep within yourself. Ive never been pregnant, I have no childrenn and yet the feelings she wrote about did end up striking a chord. Thetes a lot of focus on the beauty of life closely followed by moments of self pity so strong that yiu want to step through the pages to tell her to get over herself (I could use that myself fairly regularly – unfortunately ill just have to keep telling myself that).
Characters: there’s anne and her son Sam. A whole cast of friends and family who I won’t really get into here. I foudn Anne to be a little difficult at times. First there’s a lot of weord descritpoons. She refers to her sons “sexy pouty lips” on a number of occasions and its clearly a book of its timea given a few jokes about the ‘homosexuals’ she clearly was supportive but its with a 90s understanding rather than current day. She had an amazing cast of friends and family thT stopped by to help.
Plot: lol. Theres bo plot. This was a journal that was published. But thats the beauty of this book. You arent looking dor the plot twist. Theres no foreshadowing. Its life. Things happen that you never could have foreseen and shitty people and wonderful people all exist.
Writing Style: there’s a number of tangents. Honestly, Ive tried to keep a journal annumber of times in my life and never succeeded but none of those journals seemed like this
World Building: eh. Its the real world…
Other thoughts: Honestly this was a sweet read. I have a nephew coming soon and this made me so much more excited for what he’s going to be.
What to pair it with: lol its gotta be some sort of mocktail right. Fuck it. This is a mimosa. A full blooded mimosa its simple but leaves you refreshed and ready to face your day and whatever if holds. I know this book won’t be everyone’s cup of tea vut it was quick and mostly joyful.
Rating: 4/5. Anne is clearly a good writer and it wiuld have been enjoyable even with a different focus. Her thought pattern is very interesting.