Thursday, January 14, 2016

Book Review : Bird by Bird

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott is the funniest book I've read in a long time. Though if you're not a writer you may not appreciate Anne's humour. She particularly makes fun of a writer's tendency to go from one extreme to another. Either writers think they have written the next best seller or they think, if they are depending on an income from writing, that they are facing financial ruin and this can be about the same piece of work. The speed in which writers travel between these two extremes also lends itself to amusing anecdotes.

The content of Bird by Bird comes from the writing classes that Lamott taught. These classes encompassed all the important things writers need to know about the writing life. Things like it's ok to write bad first drafts, write short assignments, if you're feeling overwhelmed just write one scene, tune into your surroundings – physical and emotional, care about telling the truth and other practical advice for initiating a writing project. Anne also wrote about her experiences with editors, writing partners and the publishing process.

I was surprised by some bad language in the book especially when Lamott clearly goes to church. She also referred to God as 'she' a couple of times but I didn't let either of these distracted me from what is otherwise a very good book. Lamott brings a helpful perspective which encourages writers to not take themselves too seriously.

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2 comments:

Paula Vince said...

I have this one on my shelf too. I really enjoy it, for all the reasons you've said.

Susan said...

Thanks Paula, glad you liked it.

My favourite anecdote is when she receives the paperbound copy of her book a couple of months before publication on pg. 211-212. I tried to read these couple of paragraphs out loud to my husband but I was laughing so hard by the end I couldn't finish.