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All New People

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3.59 of 5 stars 3.59  ·  rating details  ·  1,168 ratings  ·  89 reviews
With generosity, humor, and pathos, Anne Lamott takes on the barrage of dislocating changes that shook the Sixties. Leading us through the wake of these changes is Nanny Goodman, one small girl living in Marin County, California.. With generosity, humor, and pathos, Anne Lamott takes on the barrage of dislocating changes that shook the Sixties. Leading us through the wake...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published December 17th 1999 by Counterpoint (first published 1989)
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Ayla
When I first started this book - during the first chapter or two, I thought I had made a mistake. Two mistakes, rather. The first mistake I thought I had made was choosing this book to read. Second, I thought I had prematurely declared my love for Anne Lamott after having only read Bird by Bird and watched her speak in a bunch of YouTube videos.

I wasn't immediately pulled into the story. There is no clearly defined plot. The book is more of an exploration of characters, of snippets of memories o...more
Meen
Dec 07, 2008 Meen rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Meen by: I either got it at a yard sale or on $1 clearance at Page & Pale
Shelves: own-it, fiction
This was just lovely.

Simple and sweet and real. I want to read more of her stuff now. I love when just out of nowhere in the middle of the narrative there's a phrase that just leaps out at you and you have to close the book and find a pen so you can either underline it and dog-ear the page or write it down in your reader's notebook (you all have those, right?) in the case of library books. It's just a beautiful combination of words that may not even have much to do with the sentiment of the surr...more
Josh Barkey
It annoys me that this is titled "a novel." First, because the detail is too endlessly personal (and the protagonists name too obviously a derivative of the author's) for this to be anything other than memoiric. And second, because NOTHING HAPPENS. I mean, it's brilliantly written and jam-packed with nuggets of truth and wisdom, but it comes off as more a ramble on real life. I guess I've been too influenced of late by my reading of Robert McKee's "Story," in that I find myself less patient with...more
Jill
I adore this quirky, wise, early novel from Anne Lamott. Like much of her fiction, a child is the pivotal center and the oracle of true observation. Through Nanny Goodman's eyes we see flawed, humorous, wise, and courageous adults plow through a marginal life in the turbulent 1960's. This marvelous story is "Secret Life of Bees", meets "To Kill A Mockingbird" meets "Charms for the Easy Life**", but 100% Lamott.

This book is one of the treasures in my library -- I loved it so much I tracked down a...more
Julie Ehlers
Like a lot of people, I've read far more of Anne Lamott's nonfiction than her fiction. On the fiction front, I've read the three "Rosie" novels, all of which I liked, none of which I loved as much as I loved Bird by Bird or Operating Instructions or even the book review column she used to write for Mademoiselle, which was how I was first introduced to her writing. I tried to get a copy of All New People way back then, but it was out of print until her nonfiction took off, at which point her earl...more
Mary Novaria
This is an early novel (1989) of Anne Lamott's and it is a complete joy. They always say to write what you know and the reader gets the sense that, although this is a work of fiction, Lamott has an extreme empathy for Nanny--likely born of personal experience.

Funny, heartbreaking and heart warming, young Nanny Goodman grows up in the sixties across the bay from San Francisco amidst quirky adults with some pretty grown up problems: alcholism, depression, separation, infidelity, unplanned pregnanc...more
Jen Hirt
Like most people, I came to this book having first read and admired Lamott's essay "Shitty First Drafts" and her book Bird by Bird. And like most people, I tend to agree that her nonfiction is better than her fiction. But what I admired about this quiet character study were the occasional brilliant lines that are pure Lamott. In other words, they are what you read for.

First line: "I am living once again in the town where I grew up, having returned here several weeks ago in a state of dull tormen...more
Phyllis
As I read this book I ached with nostalgia for my old hometown before the town voted to build the industrial park and the two malls. We used to live off a country road where you had to wait if you were unlucky enough to drive through when the farmer was crossing his cows. Now the road has been widened and the traffic sped up accordingly. I even had a drunk Uncle Ed and an older brother. The author captured the sense that the world was changing much too fast and that change was causing huge disru...more
Cynthia Archer
I have to say that I love Anne Lamott's way of looking at the world and would read anything she writes. I have read much of her non-fiction books, and I really looked forward to reading this fictional story. It, as with everything she writes, it is filled with beautiful words and feelings that seemed genuine and strong. It is not a plot driven story, but focuses rather on the characters, which she portrays as struggling and effected by the era in which the book takes place. The 60's were a chang...more
Laura
I liked this book, but I didn't like it as much as the other books I've read by Lamott.

The novel begins with Nan Goodman coming back to her hometown after the death of her father and her painful divorce. She goes to see a hypnotist who has her think back through all of the painful and shameful moments of her life, back to her earliest memories. Then, he has her step into each scene as an adult and comfort herself as a child. This helps her to view the events of her life not just through a child'...more
Kricket
This is just the Lamott I needed. I can’t believe I let so much time go by before reading this, but maybe I knew all along that I should save a couple of her novels for this era when all she is publishing is the same cute essays over and over and over (see my review of Grace Eventually.)

This one is a slow moving, quiet, luscious reflection on the main character (Nanny, as always, layered with Annie) and her growing up years in Marin County during the sixties. There are so many familiar aspects...more
Patrick Flanigan
There is no story to speak of. This is a book about people. Every character in this book is a real person with flaws, which probably stems from the fact that this is a largely autobiographical novel. It is absolutely beautiful, painful, real, and raw.
Anna
I love a lot of Anne Lamott's descriptions of people, and in this book many of the descriptions are coming from a pre-teen girl, whose father smells "like a good clean goat." Very enjoyable. Always fun to read books that are set near somewhere I've lived, and this was no exception, giving an interesting picture of Marin in the 60's when gentrification was beginning to take place in a small railroad town. I got a bit of a scattered feeling as I was reading this one, having to go back a few pages...more
fleegan
This book is pretty wonderful. The characters are so real. And she writes so well. There's pain and humour and wonderful, wonderful sentences. I love great sentences. An example:

"I am living once again in the town where I grew up, having returned here several weeks ago in a state of dull torment for which the Germans probably have a word."

Another exemplo:

"In a way I've never quite understood, the veil tore an inch for me that day, like it does every so often, when in the midst of all that is mun...more
Karen
A beautifully written and deeply flawed novel. The problem here, I think, may be that Lamott has written and fictional memoir and is trapped in her own device. The lyrical and moving writing doesn't measure up to the plot. Did I say plot? While it is widely accepted that a literary novel needs not have a plot in the same sense that, say, a mystery does, it is also expected that there is some sense of mounting tension that warrants the ending of the book. This is rather like the first three quart...more
Adrian
checked this out because I enjoyed so much her book 'Operating Instructions' about the birth and first year of her son. Her fiction was very readable (good use of language) but wasn't particularly interesting. Not sure if I'll read anything else by her or not. I did like the thought behind the title: one character says something along the lines of 'why do we fret so much over our perceived problems? in a hundred years, there will be all new people here. it's not so important.' When I lived in Io...more
Virginia Albanese
Didn't see much special about this book. Had the author recommended to me. I will try another of her books, since did like the style of writing.
Cindy
Not really a fan of Ann Lamott so not quite sure why I bought this book, probably a good deal at a yard sale. But it was an interesting enough quick read for a lazy Sunday. Nanny is growing up in a town near San Francisco in the 60's, turbulent due to readily available drugs, fathers leaving their families, her own family a mess with a depressed mother, a workaholic father, a stoned older brother, an uncle who fathers a baby with her mother's best friend. Gee...sounds like a real laugh fest, doe...more
Jessica
I didn't go into this book with great expectations - and therefore I wasn't all that surprised when it failed to live up to Traveling Mercies, Bird by Bird, Operating Instructions, etc.

I wasn't surprised by the characters in this book - there's always a group of weepy women from Marin County, California, someone who attends a black presbyterian church, someone who plays tennis, someone with unruly hair, and there will be someone with a drinking problem. We've heard this story before....but I th...more
LB
Disappointing, as I am a huge fan of Lamott's nonfiction. The book did not move me, did not speak to me, the way her other work has. Maybe because her fiction seems as if it were culled directly from her own life (and not heavily disguised), I felt I had already heard the story she was telling. I did relate to Nanny's constant sense of shame--whether she felt it as embarrasment over her family, or vicariously through the family memebers themselves; and also I resonated with her hopeless efforts...more
Karen
Another main character I enjoyed so much. Our introduction to her through a hypnosis session was a bit odd, but it helps create a context for the rest of the novel to come. Right away it gives you get a sense of the struggle she's had in the past and is wrestling with in the present. I loved the source of the book's title--basically a character is stating that in the scheme of things, we should get some perspective on our problems and live more in the moment, because frankly in a hundred years o...more
Heather
Let me start by saying I love Anne Lamott. I have read most of her nonfiction books but this is my first try at one of her novels. I wasn't sure what to expect and was a little disappointed by the downbeat nature of the opening chapters. But it turned out to be a delicate, warm story about a loving family dealing with the turmoil of 1960's California. If you've read her nonfiction you will recognize Lamott and several of her family members and friends in this story. A slim, enjoyable novel that...more
Joseph
Occasionally overwritten, when compared with Rosie, but overall some very good insights into the human condition and the relationship between family members. What keeps her from being too gothic or baroque is her overall fondness for her off-kilter characters; she never demeans or insults them for their flaws and indeed emphasizes their essential humanity. You can see the importance of her spiritual faith in her work overall, not just this novel, for she clearly views humans as flawed but deserv...more
ruzmarì
I remember hearing Lamott read from this when I was a senior in college. Maybe it was the synchronicity - the book talks in part about one character during her senior year in college, during a time of lies, errors, and self-delusion - but it really resonated with me then. I didn't love it but I responded very strongly. A compelling read with a specific demographic. Maybe someday I'll be far enough beyond my own lost period to be able to read it again, and find more in it than a vindication of my...more
Olga Hebert
Nanny's uncle says it is a shame that people worry about their lives so much because "in a hundred years--all new people." This is an older Anne Lamott novel (1989)but it does not seem all that dated. Maybe that is because I grew up in the 60's with parents who were politically active and always somewhat depressed. In any case, Anne Lamott is a wonderful writer in my opinion. She has a way of capturing the little details of time and place. I swear that I could smell eucalyptus as I read the book...more
Maggie
This was a refreshing book to read. I love her style. The subject matter is harsh-the lives of the main characters are all too real in their strengths and weaknesses. I also have always appreciated the give and take relationship her characters have with God. Wondering, hoping and sometimes stunned disbelief in the face of a life twist-but always coming back to cultivating a relationship with God-and one that looks different for every person.
Jack Kooyman
I found myself getting lost and just plowing through pages at least a few times while reading one of my favorite authors. That said, I think it was an okay story. I am not sure what I was expecting other than something more and a coming together of the various elements and characters in the story to pull it all together in some fashion. I either missed it or it just didn't happen . . . which is probably more like real life anyway.
Lisa
I liked this book; for me it was something of a trip down memory lane for the era of the 60s and 70s, but also depressing to read some of the struggles of the characters. They do overcome much and learn much; however I am not sure they learn enough, and soon enough!- pretty realistic for most people of that time and economic class, probably, struggling with their issues. It's a pretty realistic slice of life.
Jo Ellen
I just never got caught up in this book. Nanny, Casey, their lefty parents, Uncle Ed, Aunt Peg, Natalie, Lynnie, Maddy, Pru, Wino John -- all walking around with their own very real pain. They just never really pulled me in. Maybe it was a bit too elliptical? See what you can do with the symbolism of the railroad yard -- which gets swallowed up by condos -- and the birds and the brilliant bay?
Rachel
Anne Lamott is one of my favorite authors, but this book didn't do much for me. It has a strong setting, and it has some themes, but it didn't have much plot or character development. If you are going to read anything by Anne Lamott, I would recommend Rosie or Blue Shoe or maybe Operating Instructions, but not this one unless you are particularly interested in a portrait of Marin County in the 1960s.
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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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“...why do we make it all seem like a crisis, over and over again? Why do we worry it all to death, like dogs with socks or chew-toys? 'Look at it this way...In a hundred years? - All new people.” 2 likes
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