With the trademark wisdom, humor, and honesty that made Anne Lamott's book on faith, Traveling Mercies, a runaway bestseller, Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith is a spiritual antidote to anxiety and despair in increasingly fraught times.
The world is a more dangerous place than it was when Lamott's Traveling Mercies was published five years ago. Terrorism and war have become the new normal; environmental devastation looms even closer. And there are personal demands on Lamott's faith as well: turning fifty; her mother's Alzheimer's; her son's adolescence; and the passing of friends and time.
Fortunately for those of us who are anxious and scared about the state of the world, whose parents are also aging and dying, whose children are growing harder to recognize as they become teenagers, Plan B offers hope in the midst of despair. It shares with us Lamott's ability to comfort, and to make us laugh despite the grim realities.
Anne Lamott is one of our most beloved writers, and Plan B is a book more necessary now than ever. It will prove to be further evidence that, as The Christian Science Monitor has written, "Everybody loves Anne Lamott."
Plan B finds Lamott wrestling with mid-life hormones and weight gain while parenting Sam, now a teenager with his own set of raging hormones. Her observations cover everything from starting a Sunday school to grief over the death of her beloved dog, Sadie; lamenting the war to bitterness over her relationship with her now-departed mother.
As she tugs and pokes out the knots in a slender gold chain necklace, it becomes a metaphor for letting go and learning to forgive. "…any willingness to let go inevitably comes from pain; and the desire to change changes you, and jiggles the spirit, gets to it somehow, to the deepest, hardest, most ruined parts." Its her willingness to show us the knotted-up, "ruined parts" of her life that make this collection of sometimes uneven essays so compelling.
"Everything feels crazy," writes Lamott, adding, "But on small patches of earth all over, I can see just as much messy mercy and grace as ever…." Lamotts essays will serve as reminders to readers of the patches of messy mercy and grace in a chaotic world.--Cindy Crosby