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Blue Shoe by Anne Lamott
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Blue Shoe (2002)

by Anne Lamott (Author)

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I've decided that while I'm quite a fan of Anne Lamott's non-fiction work, I don't tend to like her fiction books, and this one is no exception. Lamott is at her best when she's writing about her own struggles with faith and her writing, but while reading this book I was conscious the entire time that I was reading her writing. The story itself was decent enough, but I never had a moment where I was able to be absorbed into the story. I was quite aware the entire time I was reading words printed on a page, instead of being told a story. I'll look forward to Lamott's next non-fiction work, but I think I'm not going to try any of her stories again for awhile. ( )
  Stormydawnc | Jun 23, 2014 |
this book tries to tackle a bit too much, but so much of it is so elegant that it's mostly easy to forgive. parts of it are a little too choppy, which i understand represents what's happening to these characters and their family, but i think it was a little overboard in places.

one thing that really, really rang untrue to me is the way yvonne responded - even with 25-30 years of knowledge - to abby's rape and subsequent ruined life by yvonne's own lover. if i understood it right, abby is her daughter, so this lack of feeling around this is simply impossible.

i'm not sure why it should bother me, but why is this not called *the* blue shoe? there must be something to that that i'm missing...

it made me laugh that there's this part in the book where a character is talking about his favorite book, revolutionary road by richard yates (also one of my favorite books) and he says: "'It's about loneliness,' Noah said. 'All these people in families, trying to connect and love each other, but they can't get it to work. It's about sad lies. You need to read it. Everybody should. It's the best book in the world.'" (i left that last bit in because i agree with most of it; if it's not the best, it's up there.) but i laughed at the rest because of course this is an exact description of what blue shoe is about as well, and like the insecure main character in the book who is actually doing an okay job, lamott went and pointed to a book that does a better job than hers at what she's trying to say.

so i guess that while i liked this book and thought much of it was really well done, if you want to read a book about this topic, she'd tell you to read revolutionary road instead.

that said, here's a nice line of hers that really stuck out for me:

"It was not facing what life dealt that made you crazy, but rather trying to set life straight where it was unstraightenable." ( )
  elisa.saphier | Apr 2, 2013 |
I love Anne Lamott. 'Why don't you marry her?' you ask? "Grow up", I say, eyes rolling.I do really appreciate her writing though, and her aggressive TMI biographical style and thoughts on faith and writing. Also, it is because of her writing and the writing of several other authors that I stumbled back to faith. Which is why I was so disappointed with Blue Shoe. ( )
  Tpoi | Aug 10, 2011 |
The plot is essentially good with nearly all of it believable, and populated by real characters dealing with issues of significance to me - and many others too, I imagine.
So why didn't I like it more? I think it's because there's just too much happening. Too many events, described in minimal detail with very little background and context. Kind of like you'd get in a letter from a friend who'd witnessed the action.
That's not to say it was a lousy book, by any means. I didn't even seriously think about abandoning it part way through. I liked very much the story of Mattie's relationship with her aging mother; perhaps because I'm going through the same thing myself. ( )
  oldblack | Apr 3, 2011 |
I am a big fan of Anne Lamott as a person and a nonfiction writer in Bird by Bird in particular, but I can't say the same for this novel. It is not terrible, and it is imbued with some of the philosophic sense of her nonfiction. I didn't mind reading it, which I did slowly as I ate breakfast before heading off to work. It is kind of a diary of how the protagonist faces her daily life, and she is likable, so the book it likable. I missed a sense of drama, and I think the elements of the story are there to make for drama. But somehow it is all blunted a bit. In the beginning of the book there are a lot of cases where a scene starts but never finishes, as the book swiftly moves to another scene. This improves somewhat as the book goes on. But the drama simply never builds. ( )
1 vote solla | Jan 25, 2010 |
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Mattie Ryder is a marvelously funny, well-intentioned, religious, sarcastic, tender, angry, and broke recently divorced mother of two young children. Then she finds a small rubber blue shoe, the kind you might get from a gumball machine and a few other trifles that were left years ago in her father's car. They seem to hold the secrets to her messy upbringing, and as she and her brother follow these clues to uncover the mystery of their past, she begins to open her heart to her difficult, brittle mother and the father she thought she knew. And with that acceptance comes an opening up to the possibilities of romantic love.… (more)

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