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Rosie by Anne Lamott

Rosie (original 1983; edition 1983)

by Anne Lamott

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539818,630 (3.76)18
Authors:Anne Lamott
Info:Viking Adult (1983), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 275 pages
Collections:Your library

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Rosie by Anne Lamott (Author) (1983)


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Rosie may be the title character of this book, but it's really about Elizabeth: the orphaned daughter of alcoholics, a young widow after her husband Andrew dies in a car crash, Elizabeth raises Rosie in the Bay Area, making a family out of her friend Rae, and her boyfriend, James. Despite her own worsening alcoholism and her lack of a vocation, Elizabeth is a good friend to Rae and a good mother to Rosie.


One day she would write a book about the love and patience that bind one person to another after all the glinty romantic stuff has worn off. (9)

"Do you really believe what you're saying?"
"Of course I do. Otherwise I would be saying something else." (Elizabeth and Rae, 81)

"There's something great and useful I could be doing, and that I don't know what it is hangs over me like some major errand I know I'm meant to do." (86)

Love is details. (133)

It didn't occur to her to give it time, to play it by ear, to forgive him his trespasses. (137)

"I think you can learn to have a loving attitude, like you learn a sport or an instrument." (James to Elizabeth, 151)

She wanted to get quickly to wherever she was going, wanted to wake up already there. And on some non-conscious level she sensed that something in her had to play itself out - had to snap or hit rock bottom - before she would admit defeat, and change. (160)

To her, [James and Rosie] were real, authentic, flesh and blood, she did not quite have this sense about herself. Is Elizabeth the woman washing the dishes, or the mind that hovers above this woman, watching her wash the dishes? (253)

"It is always better to be kind." (Elizabeth to Rosie, 264)

What does it take for you to save yourself? (267) ( )
  JennyArch | Sep 30, 2015 |
I really enjoy Lamott’s writing. Her style is clear and cohesive and she writes in a friendly manner. I first encountered her in her nonfiction [Bird By Bird] and [Travelling Mercies] and appreciated her values and the way she made me think about my own. So when I received a copy of “Rosie”, I was ready for a good read, and was not disappointed. However, I only give this a 4 star rating because of the type of live her character leads.
In some ways, Elizabeth leads my fantasy life: she does not need to work, so she spends her days reading and dabbling in the garden. With the death of her husband, tho, she falls into alcoholism instead of dealing with her anxieties. It was very frustrating for me to read chapter after chapter of her waking with a hangover, her fears of repeating the mistakes her own alcoholic mother made, of her promises to stop, to be a better mother. I wanted to shake her & tell her to get a grip, find something meaningful to do with her life. When James gets involved with her, I wonder what he sees in her—what’s to love about a drunk? Is it just because she is movie star beautiful? Her daughter Rosie is really the star of the book—as she is the star of her mother’s life—even tho she isn’t the main character. She is inquisitive, creative and self-reliant. It is easy to empathize with her struggles to deal with her mother’s alcoholism. However, her encounter with a child molester was an unnecessary element in the story. I’m getting tired of the way every recent book dealing with a young girl includes an episode of molestation. I know statistics say it happens to 1 out of 3 girls, but it seems like every author feels obliged to include such a scene to show how “real” the story is. And while the event serves to show how assertively Elizabeth deals with the issue, it wasn’t required as a crisis turning point in her life. In fact, Elizabeth has more emotional reaction to the hit-and-run death of their dog and near miss of Rosie.
Despite my dissatisfaction with parts of the story, I’m still hanging on to my copy. ( )
  juniperSun | Mar 11, 2011 |
Engaging characters and tender story line about women, children, parents and friends and the pain of being an alcoholic ( )
  Tifi | Jun 21, 2010 |
Rosie is the story of obsessive, alcoholic woman and her young daughter. Although the reviews on the back of the book claim that the novel is witty and memorable, I found both mother and daughter (and plot) to be boring. ( )
  JGoto | Sep 18, 2009 |
This has been my first excursion into the world of Anne Lamott, and I'd describe it as a qualified success. The book was definitely enjoyable, with interesting characters and a modern setting. In fact it was set very much in my lifetime. When Rosie's mother put on music, it was music I've played too: Ry Cooder, Dylan's "Blood on the Tracks". It was amusing, but not too artificially so...reading it was a bit like listening to a friend who is wittier and more intelligent than me tell me about their life. The only negatives were that the child's voice seemed somewhat precocious and that the story's ending seemed a little unrealistically optimistic to me (but is that a consequence of my pessimistic nature?). ( )
  oldblack | Sep 6, 2009 |
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if there are any heaves my mother will(all by herself)have
one. It will not be a pansy heaven nor
a fragile heaven of lilies-of-the-valley but
it will be a heaven of backred roses

my father will be(deep like a rose
tall like a rose)

standing near my

swaying over her
with eyes which are really petals and see

nothing with the face of a poet really which
is a flower and not a face with
which whisper
this is my beloved me
(suddenly in sunlight

he will bow,

& the whole garden will bow)

---e.e. cummings
This one is for Abby Luttinger, Warren Wallace, Mary Lowry, Pam Murray, and Leroy Lounibos, whose love and input were central to the writing of this book.

And for my brothers John and Steve, and my mother, and her family, and my father, and his family, and the Schleigers.

And for the people who let me live with them while I was writing this: Carol Adrienne in Petaluma, and her family, Gunther, Sigrid, and Charles. Pat Gomez, and her family, John, Margaret, Grammy Perett, and Stephanie. Doris, Amelia, and Lucy Wallace in New York. Sharon Weld and Sally Wood in Cambridge. Someday I'm going to make it all up to them.

And for Lyn Atkinson, Jack Erdmann, Don Sherwood, and Joanne Greenbaum, kind and gorgeous people.

And for Michael Fessier and Sylvie Pasche, my writer friends.

And for Cork Smith, Elizabeth McKee, and Ann Brebner.

And for Robert Filipini and Gordon Wallace and Larry Barnett, and Alan Ruder.

And for Norma Campbell, Dierdre Campbell, Zoe Barnett, and the Wetzells, who have made me smarter.

And for the gang at the Lakeville Marina---Phyllis, Leon, Linda, and Grace; and for Rosalie Wright, B.K. Moran, and Jon Carroll.

And for Megan and Betty and Lowell and Adele and Susan . . .

This one is for my friends, again.
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There were many things about Elizabeth Ferguson that the people of Bayview disliked.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140264795, Paperback)

In Anne Lamott’s wise and witty novel, the growing pains of motherhood are portrayed with rare humor and honesty. If Elizabeth Ferguson had her way, she’d spend her days savoring good books, cooking great meals, and waiting for the love of her life to walk in the door. But it’s not a man she’s waiting for, it’s her daughter, Rosie—her wild-haired, smart-mouthed, and wise-beyond-her-years alter ego. With Rosie around, the days aren’t quite so long, but Elizabeth can’t keep the realities of the world at bay, and try as she might, she can’t shield Rosie from its dangers or mysteries. As Rosie grows older and more curious, Elizabeth must find a way to nurture her extraordinary daughter—even if it means growing up herself.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:26 -0400)

As a woman's daughter grows older and more curious, she must find a way to nurture her extraordinary daughter --even if it means growing up herself.

(summary from another edition)

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