Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott is another collection of personal essays that take place in the early days of George W Bush’s presidency, shortly after 9/11 and before America once again went to war. Reading Lamott’s books out of order can be a bit disorienting. In this book, I’m reading about a single mother raising a teenaged son but in a previous book I was reading about Sam making the author a grandmother. However, because so many of the people in Lamott’s life remain on the page, reading her essays is like coming home to family.
I suppose I especially feel this way because the author’s humor is so much like my mother’s (and my own, needless to say). I’ve said this in other reviews I’ve written about Lamott’s nonfiction and I’ve also mentioned that her strong Christian faith, which informs so much of her life, never sounds forced or makes the reader feel judged. She is, if nothing else, humble, her humor self-deprecating, and her candor never discomforting.
If Lamott is perhaps more neurotic than I consider myself, I do recognize myself in her shifting self-acceptance. With age come body changes and it’s fun to read how a trip to the beach means taking “the aunties” out in the sun, comparing herself with other people who have aged with more or less grace. I can’t imagine many aging with more humor, regardless. But it isn’t all about the lightness of living. There are times when Lamott shares stories of sadness, confesses her struggles with acceptance, expresses anger and even outrage at what is happening in the world.
Yes, reading Lamott feels like visiting a good friend or even family, getting to know them, and yourself, all over again. Lamott will always be someone I want to return to over and over again.