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Blue Shoe (2002)

by Anne Lamott

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,1251712,278 (3.18)25
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)
  1. 00
    Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates (MaryHeleneMele)
    MaryHeleneMele: Anne Lamott’s Character recommends this book.
  2. 00
    Canvey Island by James Runcie (jhedlund)

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» See also 25 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
Mattie and her two children move into her mother's old house after her husband leaves her. Blue Shoe is the story of how she knits together a new life for her family. Anne Lamott is an essayist I have followed for about 15 years. She's written other fiction but it just didn't grab me. This one did. It's just a nice story told in a very nice way. ( )
  susandennis | Jun 5, 2020 |
A bunch of deeply flawed and unlikable characters in search of a plot that never comes together. What happens to Isa? What happens to Noah and his mother? Do Mattie and Daniel ever get married? Frustrating. ( )
  mojomomma | Jul 3, 2019 |
I love Anne Lamont’s writing. I remember reading her columns in Slate and being enchanted. We both grew up in Marin County, went to adjoining high schools about a year apart. When she mentions Samuel P. Taylor park, I know exactly where it is.
I like her style, her politics, her theology and experience of church. But. (There’s always a But) This novel had annoying flaws - so much smelling and s l o w movement. I lost patience with the heroine. One more description of Lewis’ complexion and I was going to rip the page out.
Still, it was a Brave book, to describe a mother’s slow decline and how (sensing)
our parents’ secrets (has) have consequences. Angela has such good advice: what a friend! So I read to the end, came out richer for it, but I like her non-fiction better. ( )
  MaryHeleneMele | May 11, 2019 |
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." ( )
1 vote overlycriticalelisa | Apr 2, 2013 |
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