cover image Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair

Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair

Anne Lamott. Riverhead, $17.95 (112p) ISBN 978-1-59463-258-7

Lamott's (Help, Thanks, Wow) latest inspirational title explores how we can find significance in the face of pain or disaster. Readers are guided by an older, wiser Lamott than we met 20 years ago, when Operating Instructions was published. This narrator is not afraid to say that she has learned a few things, and that there are not "shortcuts to wisdom and self-knowledge%E2%80%A6 . I so resent this." This is also vintage Lamott: funny, brilliantly self-deprecating, and insightful. Characteristically, she ruminates about needing help to get through life, and about finding your family in a group of people who love you and who are not necessarily your blood kin. Indeed, faithful readers may be disappointed by the extent to which Lamott reprises earlier themes%E2%80%94as in Traveling Mercies, Lamott here quotes C. S. Lewis on forgiveness and says it is best to start with something small; she rehearses a vignette she previously told in a novel. Still, Lamott succeeds at using "some of Christianity's language and symbols" to offer spiritual truths that will reach beyond a church audience, and the delights of this new offering outweigh the frustrating repetitions. (Oct.)