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Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son's First Year Paperback – Mar 8 2005

4.6 out of 5 stars 112 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor; Reprint edition (March 8 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400079098
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400079094
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 1.5 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 204 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 112 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #21,384 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

The most honest, wildly enjoyable book written about motherhood is surely Anne Lamott's account of her son Sam's first year. A gifted writer and teacher, Lamott (Crooked Little Heart) is a single mother and ex-alcoholic with a pleasingly warped social circle and a remarkably tolerant religion to lean on. She responds to the changes, exhaustion, and love Sam brings with aplomb or outright insanity. The book rocks from hilarious to unbearably poignant when Sam's burgeoning life is played out against a very close friend's illness. No saccharine paean to becoming a parent, this touches on the rage and befuddlement that dog sweeter emotions during this sea change in one's life. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Magazine columnist and novelist Lamott ( All New People ) captures both the poignancy and comedy of her first year as a single mother in this wonderfully candid diary. Her quirky humor steadily draws the reader into her unconventional world as she describes her friends and neighbors in northern California, her participation in a local church, her experiences as a recovering alcoholic and--best of all--her infant son, Sam, born in 1989. She covers maternal emotions from rapturous bliss to bare fury ("In the middle of the colic death marches, I end up looking at the baby with those hooded eyes that were in the old ads for The Boston Strangler "). Throughout, she airs her strong political and religious beliefs. And when her best friend, Pammy, is diagnosed with terminal cancer, Lamott conveys her anguish with the same depth of feeling and sense of the absurd that characterize her observations about her son, God, recovery, writing, Republicans, men and life as usual. Even non-parents will enjoy this glowing work.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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By A Customer on Dec 20 2002
Format: Paperback
A friend gave me this to read since I am almost 4 months pregnant with my first child. The first few pages I couldn't help but think, "should I really be reading this", but then I couldn't put the book down. The authors complete honesty can actually be shocking at times. At one point in the book when she is particularly frazzled she says she now completely "understands child abuse". I found this frightening, and throughout the book was somtimes surprised that she would even admit to certain things she was feeling, but she was just being honest - like it or not. There are certain lows that the author reaches in the book that I hope I never have to experience, but if I do have these thoughts at least I'll know I'm not alone! The author has issues, she is a recovering drug addict and alcoholic and throughout the book she struggles with mood swings and depression. Even though I couldn't really relate personally to some of her struggles, I still enjoyed the book. It made me laugh, and at times it even made me uncomfortable but rather than scaring me about my future motherhood I think I'm actually better prepared now. Having an infant at home is obviously not all wine and roses and Anne somehow makes you feel like if she can handle it, then so can you. It won't be easy and you'll need people to lean on, but it will all turn out alright. Her fears and sometimes her agony about raising her son are universal.
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Format: Paperback
I have long been a fan of Anne Lamott's work and I have been a mom even longer than that... and so I opened the cover of this book pregnant with expectations. Lamott came through again. My own brood has flown the nest by now, that first incredible year is but a memory... but oh, forever a vivid and undiminished one. I found mirror pieces throughout her account as I recalled those nights of unutterable exhaustion, those days smeared with baby food spatterings, charged with squeals and squalls, and my own speech turned to a weird kind of baby babble. More, I remembered searingly those moments of holding my own, holding them so that no whirlwind or storm might have torn them from my arms, breathing in the sweet fragrance of their baby skin, knowing for the first time in my previously self-centered life... I would die for these little beings. Gladly.
Lamott captures uniquely all of these motherly emotions and experiences, the good and the uproariously less saner ones. She nails down perfectly the doubts and the frustrations and the madness and the sheer amazement of it all.
"It's mind-boggling that my body knows how to churn out this milk that he is growing on. The thought of what my body would produce if my mind had anything to do with it gives me the chill. It's just too horrible to think about. It might be something frogs could spawn in, but it wouldn't be good for anything else. I've had the secret fear of all mothers that my milk is not good enough, that it is nothing more than sock water, water that socks have been soaking in, but Sam seems to be thriving even though he's a pretty skinny little guy. I'm going to have an awards banquet for my body when all of this is over."
Lamott's talent is to take the everyday and wrap it in a self-effacing humor that is refreshingly real.
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Format: Paperback
You'll need to keep a box of Kleenex handy for this book because you'll either be laughing so hard tears stream down your face or you'll be sobbing over the tragically sad and tenderly touching passages.
Anne Lamott writes about her first year of single motherhood and her magnificent yet extremely trying baby boy, Sam. She's brutally honest about the good and the bad. If you have fluffy powder blue and pastel pink images of parenthood, brace yourself for some shattered illusions. Her nutty family, endearingly loyal friends, eccentric church congregation, and Marin County community of slightly off center characters create a real pageturner. Anne Lamott takes us on a privileged journey into her very peculiar mind. Despite what she claims in one paragraph, it really is a fun place to visit. Also woven through the story is the sorrowful tale of the failing health of her best friend. Be prepared to gobble this book up in one sitting.
_Operating Instructions_ is an uncompromising story from the true trenches of parenthood. There's no idealized "What to Expect..." nonsense here. Also, Anne is a Christian but is a radical, liberal, defiant one. For those of you who have somewhat narrow ideas about what it means to be a Christian, take a look at Annie...she'll twist your mind around like a pretzel. Some people may find Lamott's leftwing politics and theology offensive. Also, parents should be warned that this book contains very coarse language.
I first read this book when I was still single and had no children. I was hooked! Years later when I was pregnant with my son, I pulled it back off the shelf and used it almost like a reference book...a glimpse of things to come!
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Format: Paperback
This was the first of many enjoyable Anne Lamott books which I have read, and it is still my favorite. As far as I am concerned,it gets to the heart of what it means to be a sleep-deprived mother who nonetheless must move forward through each day, finding humor, meaning, and maintaining sanity. With each page I laugh, I cry, and I sigh, and find something with which I can relate. I, too, have entertained evil thoughts in the middle of the night when I have to get up to nurse for the umpteenth time, or wondered why my child is so angelic when people come over to admire her, yet give no indication that she is the very reason why I can barely put one foot front of the other because of fatigue. Anne's network of caring friends reminded me that it is indeed friends who brought her through all of her rough times of single-mom, post-addiction motherhood, and that friendship has many purposes, meanings and depths. She randomly (with divine guidance?) stumbled into her fine caring church one day and saved her life, or perhaps I should say that God and those fine people helped her save it. Whenever I wish to read a book for pure enjoyment, never want it to end, and want to risk waking up my husband with my laughter, I reach for Lamott. For those of you easily offended by swearing, please don't take offense at what you may find here. Anne is a deeply religious woman who loves God with all of her heart, but has taken a different, more difficult path from most to get where I wish that I was. How can one fault someone who was on the cover of "Today's Christian Woman" this past year? A white middle-aged woman? In dredlocks? Please run, don't walk, to get this book. Stongly consider grabbing her other favorite of mine, "Travelling Mercies", if you wish to find out more of what happened earlier in her life, what happened to Anne and Sam after "Operating Instructions", or if you are on your own faith walk (aren't we all in one way or another).
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