One of the few progressive Christian writers with a national voice, Anne Lamott's work (Bird by Bird, Operating Instructions) ranges from the meditative to the hilarious. Blue Shoe falls somewhere in the middle of that range. A slow, thoughtful novel, rooted in the domestic routines of child-raising, Blue Shoe follows the newly separated Mattie Ryder as she moves back into her childhood home, recently vacated by her elderly mother, and undertakes the renovation of her entire life. Her best friend Angela has left the San Francisco Bay area to move in with her new lover, Julie. Mattie's ex-husband, Nicky, has settled so quickly into a steady relationship with a young woman named Lee that it is clear they were involved during his marriage to Mattie. Nicky and Mattie's two children are displaying signs of emotional disturbance (Lamott is at her best in describing the quietly weird behavior of young children). And to add to the mix, Mattie's mother is falling into a senile dementia characterized by pleading phone calls and wacky assertions of independence. All Mattie wants is a little more money, a decent boyfriend, and for her philandering father to rise from his grave and solve all her problems. Is that so much to ask? Some of the action in this novel could have been compressed, and the major subplot involving Mattie's father fails to excite, but the strengths of Blue Shoe--humor, unflinching characterization, and keen observation--more than compensate for its weaknesses. --Regina Marler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Memoirist and novelist Lamott (Operating Instructions; Crooked Little Heart, etc.) brilliantly captures the dilemma of a divorced woman from the so-called "sandwich generation" in her latest, a funny, poignant and occasionally gut-wrenching novel that tracks the efforts of Mattie Ryder to cope with her divorce, find a new man, deal with her mother's aging and restore the emotional equilibrium of her two young children. The divorce dominates in the early going as Mattie continues to sleep with her sexy but egotistical ex-husband, Nick, even though his new romance with a younger woman is clipping along at a sprightly pace. Meanwhile, Mattie grows close to a married friend named Daniel, who also feels a romantic pull although he's happily married. Mattie's feisty mother, Isa, ages precipitously and becomes increasingly disoriented, leading to a series of calamities. Mattie's touching relationships with her kids, two-year-old Ella and difficult but sensitive six-year-old Harry, become the emotional anchor for the novel, and narrative momentum is provided by the gradual unfolding of a family secret, which reveals the infidelities of Mattie's late father. Most of the comedy is of the domestic variety, and Lamott continually displays her gift for finding the right combination of humor and small but significant revelations in ordinary moments. The ensemble cast is another major strength of the book, providing a backdrop against which Mattie, Daniel, Isa and the children emerge as powerful and memorable individuals. Lamott has explored similar terrain in her earlier works, but the scope and freshness of this novel could make it a breakout work for her.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
This book is the best example of the worst writing that I've ever had the displeasure to read. It was disjointed, meandering and totally unsatisfying. Read morePublished on May 28 2012 by Agnes D Dorken
I enjoyed the beautifully written descriptions of the lead character's surroundings. It was interesting to note the degree of self-centeredness for her. Read morePublished on July 12 2004 by Liz
I found that the book was easy reading and it didn't really have any point to it at all. I wouldn't recommend it. Read morePublished on June 1 2004
Anne Lamott's name should be Anne Lament because that's all her characters ever do. We enjoy reading about flawed characters because it reaffirms our own imperfections in life,... Read morePublished on March 10 2004 by "calicocat23"
I sat down with Anne Lamott's new character Mattie Ryder, and she let me know that it's perfectly fine to be flawed. Read morePublished on March 3 2004 by Erin Rhodes
Mattie Ryder is a middle aged divorced mother of two who loves her children, loves her parents, loves her friends, and loves her dog. Read morePublished on Feb. 24 2004 by David B. Tomko
Anne Lamott's Blue Shoe reminds me of a California version of Seinfeld, only with children. Both Blue Shoe and Seinfeld are about average people dealing with the minutiae and... Read morePublished on Feb. 23 2004 by David Ley