Box, Brown, Grimes, Hart, Peters, Wiehl... Ah, sweet mysteries of life, at last I've found you... at your favorite book store or Amazon.com.
by Anne Lamott
"This is a hell of a book, tough and wonderful. A heartbreaker and a heart-mender." — Martin Cruz Smith, author of Gorky Park and The Golden Mile
Anne Lamott, best known for nonfiction, including popular books on writing (Bird by Bird, 1994) and spirituality (Traveling Mercies, 1999), returns to fiction and some familiar characters with a follow-up to two earlier novels. In Rosie (1997), the title character was a child trying to cope with her mother's alcoholism. In Crooked Little Heart (1998), she was grown into 13-year-old tennis champion discovering boys, dealing with self-doubt, and managing continued tensions with her mother. In Lamott’s latest, the Northern California-set Imperfect Birds — an unstinting observation of teenagers and of parents who find it hard to strike a balance between a mother’s unconditional love and a stepfather’s tough love approach to discipline — the former tennis star is now 17, and while she withstands well enough the pressures of school with good grades, her hidden life allows for drugs and alcohol, body image and boyfriends. As her mother Elizabeth sees it, "Rosie had a secret life now, was putting together her own tribe, finding her identity there, and it was great to see, and it hurt like hell."
Elizabeth, now a recovered alcoholic with a subject-to-change propensity for emotional meltdowns, tries to give her daughter freedom to experiment, even knowing that drug deals go down in the affluent town’s central square, and that the kids – why can’t they be like we were? — are drinking, carousing, sexually active, and defiant. But when events ultimately force the issues in this promising packs-a-wallop work, Elizabeth finds herself reevaluating whether her leniency and trust have been the best ways to go. In a bit of psychobabbled advice, a friend says to Rosie's mother, "You need to tell me all of your unsaids, Elizabeth," before harshing her Marin County mellow in further and more pointed Bay Area-speak: "You've been using your sincereness in counterfeit ways." Now that was better left unsaid as an unsaid.
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