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Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son's First Son
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Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son's First Son

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3.54 of 5 stars 3.54  ·  rating details  ·  8,908 ratings  ·  824 reviews

In Some Assembly Required, Anne Lamott enters a new and unexpected chapter of her own life: grandmotherhood.

Stunned to learn that her son, Sam, is about to become a father at nineteen, Lamott begins a journal about the first year of her grandson Jax's life.

In careful and often hilarious detail, Lamott and Sam-about whom she first wrote so movingly in Operating Instructio

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Hardcover, 272 pages
Published March 20th 2012 by Riverhead Hardcover
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Nancy
In the end, it's really all about her.

Okay, I get it: it's a memoir. I hate it when I have nothing nice to say about a memoir, because I feel like I'm being mean to the actual people IN the memoir, and three of the main characters in this memoir are very young: Lamott's son Sam, Sam's girfriend Amy, and their little boy. Lamott's memoir is subtitled "A Journal of My Son's First Son," but irritatingly, it is hardly that; rather it is a journal of a weirdly self-absorbed and controlling grandmothe
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Carrie
I won this book as an Advance Reader Copy on Goodreads. Thank you for the opportunity.

I really, really wanted to like this book. I read Anne Lamott's earlier book, Operating Instructions, and loved it. It was a raw, intimate tale of a woman raising a child on her own, and the community she built around her. It was a messy, honest account of Lamott's own, personal story.

Some Assembly Required, on the other hand, feels like Lamott is telling someone else's story. Her 19-year old son and his girlfr
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christa
You know who Anne Lamott is, she’s that great great aunt who had a tiny but bright blip in your life and she opened some windows, taught you a few things and made you look at dreadlocks differently. But here it is, almost Christmas, and you know it’s time to make that annual drive to her house, a museum of eccentricities with two too-many animals and ugh, the dread. Two hours in the car and this intrusion in a day -- where really you didn’t have any other plans -- is heavy. Before you even twist ...more
Melissa
This book does a lovely job highlighting the dazzling selfishness of grandparents, god love them. This is a phenomenon that I've had ample opportunity to witness firsthand since the birth of my kid. In Lamott's case, she may have slightly more reason to be overbearing since her son was 19 when his kid Jax was born, but that still doesn't entirely excuse her. She has an extremely hard time letting the child's parents, otherwise known as not her, call the shots. At times it gets painful to read ab ...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
I’ve been following Anne Lamott’s life since she had her son and published Operating Instructions, a book about all the struggles and difficulties and amazing experiences she had as a single mother. I followed Lamott through Bird by Bird, a book that is sold as a writing instruction manual, but that is really more of Anne Lamott’s life. I pursued Lamott through Traveling Mercies, a book about her unexpected dive into Christian spirituality, and continued through Plan B and Grace (Eventually), a ...more
Doreen
Dec 29, 2011 Doreen rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: elle
A sweet, careful gem of a book, I believe it's a worthy read for any grandparent. Anne Lamott is honest about her neuroses and shortcomings, and the reliance she puts on faith to help see her through the unexpected pregnancy of her young son's girlfriend and their joint efforts to raise and love the baby. Most importantly, she accepts great personal responsibility for how she chooses to behave, an inspirational trait for any circumstance, and tries to be understanding of others' personal motivat ...more
Jennifer
In the interests of full disclosure, I received a giveaway copy of this book via Goodreads, AND Operating Instructions is one of my all-time favorite books.

On that note, I liked this book, but I wanted to love it. Since Operating Instructions, I've developed a love-hate relationship with Lamott's authorial voice. When she nails it, oh, does she nail it, but sometimes she's just so....herself (as she would admit). Her 19 year old son and his girlfriend have a baby, and echoes of her memoir of sin
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Heather
I love Lamott's honesty, particularly her refusal to hide or gloss over moments of insecurity and selfishness. Her voice is beautifully, gloriously human. But I have mixed feelings about this book. This text felt more emotionally distant than her other books, perhaps because the most pressing conflicts are between her son and his girlfriend, and her Great Challenge is learning NOT to get involved in the conflicts. While refraining from action is a very difficult thing to do in life, it does not ...more
David
Saw the author and her son do a reading from this recently, which was hilarious. Very enjoyable book about the first year of life for her grandson, the child of unmarried 19-yo son Sam and his 20-yo girlfriend Amy. I liked it just a bit less than Operating Instructions, re Sam's babyhood. Still very funny and insightful, but......

(a) probably shouldn't have read them back to back -- like any writer, she has only so much material, and some of her go-to themes (my small congregation is fantastic;
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Tracy
May 26, 2012 Tracy rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2012
You know, I think I'm just not in the right life space for Anne Lamott. I've enjoyed her nonfiction books in the past (her fiction doesn't really do it for me), but I found myself skimming a lot of this book with a sense of irritation.

Right now, in my life, there is a lot that needs to get done. And Anne is all take a walk, have a thought, call a friend, take a nap. Sometimes she mixes up the order, and sometimes she does a few of these things simultaneously. Sometimes she throws in going to ch
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Su
I have always had a love/hate relationship with Anne Lamott's work. On the one hand, she has written some beautiful stuff about faith, and her writing on parenting is, at its best, refreshingly honest and very funny. But there is always a thread that runs through her writing, of her self-involvement, her unresolved body issues (in one book, when child Sam tries to wheedle something out of her by calling her, "thin mommy," I just cringed), her anxiety. Sometimes she does a wonderful job of walkin ...more
Stephanie
I'm really not sure what star rating to give this book. I would say that about 70% of it I ADORED - and when I started it, I really thought I was going to love the whole thing unconditionally.

About 15% of the book, though, especially in the travel sections (as she spends time on vacation in different parts of the world), didn't seem to particularly fit the rest of the book, thematically - and the section in India, in particular, I found kind of painful. It really felt like it was taking a LONG t
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Jennifer
I read an interview where Anne Lamott says that Some Assembly Required is her favorite book she has ever written. It tells the story of her nineteen year old son becoming a father and gives an account of the first year of his son’s life. She writes tenderly about her enormous love for her grandson and writes honestly about her strong urge to hop in and control this sometimes precarious situation. I can relate to how she describes the urge to control things through the veil of making suggestions ...more
Peggy
I was so excited to read another Anne Lamott book; I've been a fan since Hard Laughter. What a disappointment this book was! One would THINK it would be about her first grandchild; but, no, it was all about Anne and the bag of neuroses she drags around. Yes, she had an unhappy childhood. Many people did. At 55, it's time to move on ...

She does adore her family and her writing is wonderful. However, I felt like I was stuck in an elevator with Debbie Downer.

If she were my mother/mother-in-law, I
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Janet
If you're hoping for another Operating Instructions experience this is not it. Classic Lamott-isms but this story is not hers to tell - it belongs to her son and his girlfriend. Heard Lamott speak last week where she revealed that her publisher was responsible for pushing the idea of this book which she initially turned down because she thought it would be "exploitative" - she was right and should have stuck to her guns.
Gregg
I just love Anne Lamott! She's one of my favorite writers. I always enjoy her nonfiction work much more than her fiction, and I always recommend listening to her books read by her.

This book deals with her son Sam's becoming a father, while still just a teenager himself, and her becoming a grandmother at an unexpectedly early age. Well, needless to say, she falls in love with her new grandson Jax at first sight. Then comes the challenge of letting her son and his girlfriend parent the new baby w
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Deb
I wanted to love this book. I love Anne Lamott--her self-deprecating humor, her love for Jesus, her body issues. I love seeing her in person when she does readings of her books. But I just don't like this book. She's supposedly struggling with her son becoming a father at a very young age but I'm not sure there was much of a struggle nice she fell in love with young Jax the second he was born. The biggest struggle seems to be to keep her mouth shut. And I know from personal experience that chall ...more
Laurie Davis
I wanted so badly to love this book. I have loved all of Anne Lamott's non-fiction, and have some interest in the particular subject matter of this one, and was so interested to get to know Sam as a young adult. But, unfortunately, I found it tedious. It really just needed more editing, I think. Tiny little sections, over and over again, about feeling very needy for the baby and for some sense control in the situation, were just too many. I loved the journals of India, but kept trying to figure ...more
Emily
Impossible to put down. Lamott writes clearly, beautifully, with self-deprecation, humor and raw, painful honesty. She does not sugarcoat or idealize, ever, but she is attuned to the beauty of the divine leaking through this messed-up world. The crossroads between these two makes for a vision of heavenly grace stripped of sentimentality, which is to say, heavenly grace. Reading her accounts of the heartbreakingly lovely quotidian makes me more attuned to the little blessings in my own life. "Nat ...more
Renee
In Some Assembly Required, Anne Lamott enters a new and unexpected chapter of her own life: grandmotherhood.

Stunned to learn that her son, Sam, is about to become a father at nineteen, Lamott begins a journal about the first year of her grandson Jax's life.

I listened to this book on audio read by the author (with snippets from her son Son) writes about the complex feelings that Jax fosters in her, recalling her own experiences with Sam when she was a single mother. Over the course of the year, t
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Molly
Let's get this straight: this wasn't a journal of her son's first son. This was a journal of neuroses, mostly of becoming a grandmother, but also of controlling others' lives and trying to keep that patter tamped down as best she could. I might have been charmed had I not read it as a mother with young children myself, which put me in a different perspective.

I read Operating Instructions a bit before I was pregnant with #1 and appreciated it, and now I'm reading this a bit before I have #2 and a
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Molly Westerman
A worthwhile read, not fantastic. I suppose it suffers from the inevitable comparisons with Lamott's earlier memoir Operating Instructions, to which it is a sort of sequel, and which is fantastic, and also just a very different kind of book.

Some Assembly Required, taken on its own merits, is an interesting and sometimes-beautiful reflection on one rather neurotic person's experience of new grandmotherhood. (It is not, like its predecessor, hilarious.) The author's relationship with this new role
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Aileen
I come to Anne Lamott as a fan and faithful reader. Her past books have been mordantly funny and self-deprecating. She recognized her self-absorption, and seemed to have built herself a great network of friends who would willingly, gently puncture her self-absorption.

I don't know what happened.

This book disappointed me in so many ways. Her black-humored self-absorption seems in this book to have turned into epic narcissism. And yet she's self-aware enough to recognize it as narcissism and offer
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Ciara
i loved anne lamott's operating instructions. it's one of my favorite books about being a new parent. i was hoping that this book would recapture some of that same magic. it purports to be a diary-style memoir of her grandson's first year of life. lamott's son sam took up with a lady & fathered a child with her at the tender age of twenty. due to the young age of the parents & lamott's tight single mom/only child relationship with her on, of course she was going to be as heavily involved ...more
Barb
I'm so glad that Anne Lamott is just a little older than I am. She goes through life's transitions just a little before I do and then sends me wisdom so that I'm better able to handle it when my time comes. (And not just with Operating Instructions--The Blue Shoe gave me wonderful reassurance that I wasn't the only woman taking care of a crazy little mother.)

In any case, reading the newest installment in her life was a joy. She tackles normal human interactions honestly--admitting that there are
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Lynne Spreen
I love Anne Lamott's writing, and she's almost exactly my age, so it was interesting to see how she's navigating the grandmotherly waters.

She's so self-effacing and flat-out hilarious, but to be honest, this wasn't my fave Lamott book. She's kind of meddlesome! Okay, this is her first grandbaby of her only child, and the kids are really young. Way too young to be parents. It would be hard to find the middle ground between trying to support them and stay the heck out of their biz. Rough balancin
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Susy
I love Anne Lamott so it's hard to be critical of anything she wrties, but I felt that this book was a stretch. Operating Instructions, which is a memoir of her son's first year, was brilliant. She made motherhood real and used herself as a perfect example of imperfection in navigating the waters of first time parenthood. Now she finds herself in a new role, grandmother, well before she thought she'd get that title. Her son is not quite 20 when he became a dad. I get how she feels; I would have ...more
Kim
I was deciding between three and four stars for this one, and I think because I adore Anne Lamott so much, I rounded up to four. This book is written in a similar journal-ish style to her wonderful book Operating Instructions, but I guess nothing for me will ever live up to the fabulousness of that book. There were parts of this book that were so sweet and tender I almost wanted to cry, but then there were also long stretches that got a little slow for me. But I am very glad I read it - and it i ...more
Jane
I love Anne Lamott's books, and I think my favorite so far was Operating Instructions, a journal of her son's first year. This book is a journal of this son's son's first year...her grandson't first year. She fills it with Jax, the grandson, interviews with Sam, her son, and observations from Amy, Jax's mom. My husband David is away, taking care of his dad in California. So I am alone and have room to be loving and generous; it's pretty easy when I'm not called on to be genuinely, actually eithe ...more
Nette
Easy to read, very funny in parts, often touching, but also profoundly irritating. The sections featuring the words of her 19-year-old son are excruciating, because, well, he's 19 and kind of a ninny. And I got really fed up with the constant phone calls to her wise friends who are always ready with a pithy metaphor or an apt Bible story. (Lamott's friends do NOT waste time talking about Trader Joe's mac-and-cheese or "Dancing With the Stars": it's all Buddha and Jesus and life and death. That m ...more
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The first time I... 1 8 Apr 08, 2013 09:34PM  
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Anne Lamott is an author of several novels and works of non-fiction. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, her non-fiction works are largely autobiographical, with strong doses of self-deprecating humor and covering such subjects as alcoholism, single motherhood, and Christianity. She appeals to her fans because of her sense of humor, her deeply felt insights, and her outspoken views on topics such ...more
More about Anne Lamott...
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son's First Year Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith

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“I was reminded of the Four Immutable Laws of the Spirit: Whoever is present are the right people. Whenever it begins is the right time. Whatever happens is the only thing that could have happened. And when it's over, it's over.” 36 likes
“It is a violation of trust to use your kids as caulking for the cracks in you.” 22 likes
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