- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: Riverhead Books; Reissue edition (Sept. 2 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1573223425
- ISBN-13: 978-1573223423
- Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.2 x 20.3 cm
- Shipping Weight: 318 g
- Average Customer Review: 45 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,007,037 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Blue Shoe Paperback – Sep 2 2003
|New from||Used from|
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
"Messy, brave and weirdly lovable...a substantial literary pleasure.”New York Times Book Review
"Moving and funny, fetchingly irreverent and soulful, Blue Shoe is an absolute joy."Chicago Sun-Times
”Everybody loves Anne Lamott...[she] writes with an emotional shorthand that’s instantly decipherable and funny to anyone who’s had childrenor parents.”The Christian Science Monitor
"Irresistible...Lamott has created a work full of shaggy, truthful charm."San Francisco Chronicle
”Glorious...After reading Blue Shoe, you feel as if you had sat on the kitchen floor and talked with the author late into the night about your mothers, your bodies, your lovers, and God. And that, in a nutshell, is the minor miracle of Lamott’s writing.”The Atlanta Journal Constitution
”Philosophical, honest, and poignant, Lamott writes about real life and how it goes on, through good and through bad.”Boston Herald
”The novel’s effect on the reader is profoundly springlike: It is tonic.”Minneapolis Star Tribune
"Anyone who's ever had a heartacheor a familywill relate to Anne Lamott's poignant novels."Rosie Magazine
"Blue Shoe is a gift you will want to give yourself."St. Louis Post-Dispatch
About the Author
Anne Lamott is the New York Times bestselling author of Help, Thanks, Wow; Small Victories; Stitches; Some Assembly Required; Grace (Eventually); Plan B; Traveling Mercies; Bird by Bird; Operating Instructions, and the forthcoming Hallelujah Anyway. She is also the author of several novels, including Imperfect Birds and Rosie. A past recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and an inductee to the California Hall of Fame, she lives in Northern California.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
BLUE SHOE by Anne Lamott is a rambling story of a woman's search of her own identity and answers to questions about her childhood. It was my introduction to the writings of Anne Lamott, which came across to me as somewhat poetic and ethereal yet at the same time grounded in a dark reality.
Mattie Ryder is not having a good life. She's having a hard time letting go of her ex-husband Nicky, who she is constantly finding herself in bed with, despite the fact that he's living with another woman. She suffers consantly from depression, is barely making ends meet, and her relationship with her mother is not what she would have wanted. Her best friend is her brother Al, until one day she meets a man named Daniel at her front door step, who has come to help her exterminate the many rodents living in the walls of her house. Her life was "running on empty" until she meets Daniel, and together they form a bond as best friends and soul mates. It doesn't help that he is yet another man in a relationship, yet she finds herself falling in love with him.
In the meantime, Mattie's two children are adjusting to life without Daddy, and the signs of their maladjustment are everywhere. Harry is rather headstrong and demanding, and poor little Ella has already started to chew on her wrists to the point of bleeding. She is not even five years old. Mattie sees in her children many similarities to her own childhood, when she and her brother Al were neglected by their parents, both of whom were too busy with their own dysfunctional lives to see to the needs of their children. Al and Mattie go on a journey of discovery, as they slowly uncover the truth behind their parents and what really happened all those years ago. This truth tears them apart, and threatens to break away the little bit of sanity that is holding Mattie together.
Mattie and Al are also dealing with an aging mother who was once a feisty woman involved in nearly everything political and socially correct, helping those that were less fortunate than they were. Isa is starting to lose her memory, and her behavior patterns are driving Mattie up the wall. When in the past they weren't the best of friends, things were certainly not getting any better. The idea of putting Isa into a home is a thought that scares all of them, knowing how independent Isa had always been, yet Mattie and Al can no longer expect their mother to live alone without the fear of something bad happening to her. When they hear reports of their mother wandering the streets in her nightgown, they know something is terribly wrong. Isa, on the other hand, thinks they are out to get her and has no sense that she is ill at all. Each time they are at the doctor's office, Isa's mind is lucid and she seems to turn around miraculously. It's an enigma that has Mattie stumped.
While I loved the characters that Anne Lamott created in BLUE SHOE, I found something lacking. By the end of the book, there was no resolution to any of the problems encountered by all of them. Things were left hanging, as if there should have been a next chapter but it was missing. There was somewhat of a happy ending to an extent, if that could be said, but even that was lacking. I also felt that her descriptions of weather patterns could have been somewhat more effective, but for some reason I felt they were overly done. I know she was trying to use them to help show Mattie's moods, but they felt disjointed to me, as if they were not necessarily part of the story. Having said all that, I think the book was worth reading because of the fully developed characters and the story line. It was a complex story of a dysfunctional family, filled with dysfunctional friends and situations. I think if she had added a different ending, I would have been satisfied. However, at this point I would give it a 3.5/5 rating. It was good enough for me to prompt me to try another book written by Anne Lamott. From reading other reviews, this was not considered her best book, and I believe it. I can see the potential in her writing and I would gladly read another.
I found myself laughing out loud in some places and I ALMOST want to give away the funniest line in the whole book... but lets just say this: its when Angela and Mattie are discussing Mattie wanting to (jokingly) end her life. Angela's line is brilliant: I may borrow it someday. Who knows, perhaps tomorrow!
I also admired Lamott's usage of metaphor... it added her signature flavor as the story unfolded. She also frequently labeled people as "beautiful" or "stunning" and then described them microscopically. Putting together the pieces I thought, "That is what YOU see as beautiful?!" (Pauline as an example.) Very thought evoking.... sneakily thought evoking!
On the weaker side, I found myself longing for more depth: didn't really know much of Mattie beyond the surface. Perhaps that is Lamott's intention: for the reader to create more of the character ourselves? Given that the book covers more than 4 years of Mattie's life, I can understand that individual characterizations may lose something if the author doesn't want to write an encyclopedia-length book.... nonetheless, I longed for more insight into Mattie's responses to all the events which took place. There was some picture painting and I would have appreciated one or two sentences more in these snapshots. It could have made all the difference in the world.
I was curious about Abby... and then decided, "Its Mattie's book, not Abby's book" and then I realized there was no particular feeling of closeness with Mattie either, for that matter.
In one respect, this book is sort of like watching a few seasons of television's "thirtysomething" with a more eclectic, weathered by life California cast. I enjoyed "thirtysomething" so I consider that a positive thing.
If the thought of that makes your skin crawl... then don't start with this one.... check out "Bird by Bird" also by Lamott to get a taste of her style which I found to be consistent in this novel.
I find it especially appealing that the main character in this book is a Christian woman who "normal".... meaning flawed, angry and out of control at times, lustful with a menagerie of friends and a truck load of skeletons in her closet and in her surrounding closets.
A refreshing way to retreat from my own family skeletons in order to get to know Ms. Lamott's characters.
Want to see more reviews on this item?
Most recent customer reviews