cover image Almost Everything: Notes on Hope

Almost Everything: Notes on Hope

Anne Lamott. Random House, $22 trade paper (307p) ISBN 978-1-984827-60-9

Lamott (Hallelujah, Anyway) shares wisdom on truth and paradox in this comforting book of reflections inspired by the current social and political climate. “In general, it doesn’t feel like the light is making a lot of progress,” she writes. Each brief essay explores a theme or topic such as hope, love, or faith with Lamott’s customary optimism. In the opening essay, “Puzzles,” she sets the stage for the book by considering the physics of light, which is both particle and wave, as an example of how paradox can be the seed of truth. “Almost every facet of my meager maturation and spiritual understanding,” she writes, “has sprung from hurt, loss, and disaster.” Fans of Lamott will find her deeply personal, honest yet humorous style on full display and those same fans will also recognize some familiar material, such as the “bird by bird” story that she uses to encapsulate the writing life. There is no doubt of Lamott’s brilliance, but this collection rings of speed rather than depth, with some of the essays (“Bitter Truth” and “Hands of Time”) reading like series of aphorisms and lacking narrative cohesion. Though the book is clearly written to capitalize on the present political moment, its brevity makes it a useful introduction to Lamott’s work and philosophy for any interested novitiate.[em] (Oct.) [/em]