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Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope, and Repair
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Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope, and Repair

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3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  4,336 ratings  ·  649 reviews
“Lamott’s …most insightful book yet,Stitchesoffers plenty of her characteristic witty wisdom…this slim, readable volume [is] a lens on life, widening and narrowing, encouraging each reader to reflect on what it is, after all, that really matters.”—People

What do we do when life lurches out of balance? How can we reconnect to one other and to what’s sustaining, when evil an
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Hardcover, 112 pages
Published October 29th 2013 by Riverhead Books
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28th out of 28 books — 3 voters


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Community Reviews

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Sarah
Annie, I love you, but I'm gonna keep it real - cause I think that's what you'd want. I've been a fan of your books for years, and a fan of yours ever since I saw you speak near my hometown in Oregon about 15 years ago. I was a cranky teenager, there with my mom, and we both came away swooning. You were so honest, so funny, so smart and compassionate and wise. "Bird By Bird" was my everything as a young writer, and "Operating Instructions" made me laugh and cry and hug my mom and my best friend ...more
Terry Lucas
When I read an Anne Lamott book, I always want to call someone and read it aloud. The writing in this book paints pictures and grabs your heart and shakes it.
Diane S.
Many of us who grew up on the fifties and sixties will find it easy to relate to this book. Told to get over things quickly and that what happens in the family, stays in the family we grew up repressing many of our feelings. Anne, was an emotional child who felt things intensely and was told that she was over emotional. A view she had a hard time living with but one that lead her to books and fostered her love of them.

This is a sort of how to feel book, or an it is okay to feel book. Some of us
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Reid
Another book of wit and wisdom from an author for whom this has become a cottage industry. What Anne Lamott does is, in my experience, quite unique: she bares her soul and invites you to heal along with her. Lamott is a damaged person and does not shy away from revealing just how damaged she is. But her assumption (correct as far as I can see) is that we are all broken, too, and that nothing is more healing than sharing that with one another.

Of course, if one comes to pick nits, they are easy to
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Erika
Anne Lamott would be my dear friend in another life. Or, maybe she is... Even if we have yet to formally meet.
She writes about the pain of losing friends; hyperventilating over children (over imagined fears); teaching children via coffee filters and wishing someone had told her that life is hard. Who wouldn't want to take a long walk with her? The next best thing is this: reading her books to remind you that you are not the only crazy person who thinks about deep questions and doesn't know wheth
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Kelly Hager
It's not surprising that this is a brilliant book. I haven't read anywhere near all of her books yet (I think this is my second nonfiction of hers and I've read one of her novels) but I've been incredibly impressed by everything I have read.

I do wish this book had been longer and that things had been explored a little more. However, anything by Anne Lamott is something to be celebrated and this book is absolutely no exception.

The thing I loved most about this book is the fact that it doesn't res
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Res
Sorry, just couldn't do it. I've heard great things about Anne Lamott, but by page 4 I was gritting my teeth.

I think the thing that killed it for me is the sense that the tragedies of the world are happening to her. Katrina, 9/11: happening to her. Tragedies that her children endure: happening to her.

And then I hit this sentence on Page 5: "But what if your perfect child becomes sick, obese, an addict or a homeless adult?" I think my mother thinks my fatness is something that happens to her. A
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Tracy
I love Anne Lamott and read all of her non-fiction as soon as it comes out. I was slightly disappointed in this one (although a "not so great" book by Anne Lamott is still much better than most books out there) - I felt like it was kind of all over the place. I love the stories that she tells, and there weren't enough of them in this book. I would definitely recommend her earlier works to someone who hasn't read her before, but perhaps not this one; die-hard fans will still like and appreciate i ...more
Shari
This reads less like a book and more like the transcript of a talk (one could easily read this entire thing over a cup or two of coffee) and having heard Anne Lamott speak, I appreciated it in that sense. Her writing always seems to find its way into my life at the right time. I’m not sure I’ll pick this up when I want to dip into her writing (that’s what Traveling Mercies is for), but it still contains the essence of what I love about her.
Elisa
This was my first Anne Lamott & I truly loved it. Refreshingly frank & honest. I felt like much of it really rings true. My mother died 6 months ago & this book was sent to me by one of her best friends. A great read for someone healing from life's hard blows.
Cornmaven
I love Anne Lamott. I eagerly awaited this one. I was sad that it was so thin. I was sad that it seemed disjointed, not that life itself is nothing if not disjointed. I didn't understand the shirt story, how it fit into the whole thing. At least it didn't fit for me.

There are some good truths in it, good quotes. Except for the one by Augustine - good quote, but I think he was a big misogynist so I think I would have picked a different guy to use. :-)
Gary Anderson
I'm a long-time admirer of Anne Lamott's writing and outlook. While Stitches features her appealing trademarks, it also seems shallower and less insightful than her other recent books in this genre. It pretty much boils down to "Sometimes life is hard. You can get through it though." I can never dislike an Anne Lamott book because I respect her reflective capacity so much, but I like this one a little less.
Bob Henry
I really enjoyed Anne's last book, "Help, Thanks, Wow" but this book, "Stitches" has such a beautiful, vulnerable and real way of engaging the reader's heart. In about 100 pages, Anne leaves you wanting more, but wrestling with the reality of life. She has weaved the hope, the challenge to see, and a heartfelt reality throughout. It was just what I needed to read - a balance of "gravity and grace."
Christa
This was my first book by Anne and I was looking forward to reading it. As humans, we all deal with brokenness to varying degrees. Many of us have been conditioned in our lives to just deal with it by ignoring it or working around it and move on. That doesn't always work. Whether the brokenness is in our lives or in the life of someone we love, it is hard to know what to do. We often focus on the why's and when we don't often get answers we are stuck in the pain and brokenness not knowing how to ...more
Knitme23
Impulse by at Northshire with Julie during the visit to Lyle. Granted, I read it in bits over a few weeks, but right from the start it felt perfunctory and repetitive. Ironically enough, I wondered if Lamott was stitching together (ouch) bits from her other books and essays to create a patchwork quilt (again) of a book. I was, frankly, disappointed. It is a far cry from "Help, Thanks, Wow,"--equally short but moving and reflective--or "Traveling Mercies." I'll reread it soon, and maybe see the e ...more
Karen Ashmore
After reading almost all of Lamott's books over the years, I almost feel that I know what examples from her life she is going to use to illustrate her point. But I am always awed anew at her command of language and how she can turn a seemingly innocuous incident into a strangely delightful metaphor that would have never occurred to me. In Stitches, she addresses this with ways to respond to grief and handle life's challenges. It truly is a handbook of meaning, hope and repair.
David
not much to it (96 small pages) but since I'm often kvetching about authors repeating themselves, in fairness I am rating what's here rather than how much of it there is. Spoiler alert would be that I don't think she arrives at a breathtakingly new conclusion guaranteed to bring you a sense of meaning and hope sturdy enough to withstand the (I hope few) tragedies and (likely many) minor disappointments that arrive unbidden in every life.

Uses a lot of personal stories to illustrate her themes suc
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Becky Roper
Anne Lamott writes as one who knows some difficult life situations (drugs, alcohol, etc) and has enough of a dry sense of humor to keep this little (short) book from being maudlin. It has a lot of quotes, and borrows from more than one philosophy to give you some things to consider on the subject. I did like the metaphor of stitches and the idea that life is doing a lot of patching. Favorite quote: We are all just walking each other home.
Naomi
Anne Lamott draws our attention back to the sacred in the mundane, the ways grief can be a gift, and how we can help one another with mercy and grace. This is a fine volume for personal reflection, but would also be wonderful in an adult spiritual study group approaching the issues of suffering and difficulty and grief, and as part of a spiritual writing group in making and writing sense of our lives.
Rebecca Waring-Crane
Maybe I enjoy reading Anne's work because my family of origin was slightly less dysfunctional than her own. The formula outlined sure sounds familiar: "I love you. Now here are the rules." Or perhaps I've read so many of her non-fiction titles that I feel we are old friends chatting over tea again. There is comfort in that.

But more accurately, reading Stitches reminded me again that Anne Lamott does what other writers simply cannot do. She makes me aware of a slightly embarrassing truth: there
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Susan Corl
When does it take weeks to finish a 96 page book? When you read a book by Anne Lamott. As with "Help, Thanks, Wow," I read each chapter over and over to let them wash over me. There is so much truth and wisdom in each little book. She makes me laugh, cry, and nod my head all at once, and that is tough to do. I was never so sad as when I finally reached the last chapter, which starts like this--"The search is the meaning, the search for beauty, love, kindness and restoration in this difficult, wi ...more
Tena
This book touches my broken places. I tear up when I read any of her books, but I also feel like I'm not alone. :)
Sarah Bliss
This is the sort of book you might give or receive as a gift. It's beautifully made, slim, packed with nuggets of encouragement. Anne Lamott is a wise woman, and a talented writer of poetic prose. That said, this is not her finest work. She writes of times of intense emotion, and especially of pain and grief, with the peace of having survived them and learned from them. Maybe if I were in such a time now I would find that view from the other side comforting, but as it was it just felt kind of di ...more
Leslie Reese
I keep reading books by Anne Lamott because she writes with sensitivity and compassion and faith. She's also darn funny. (“I know God enjoys hearing my take on how best we should all proceed, as I’m always full of useful advice.” ---she writes on page 67--- “I’m sure God says either, ‘Oh, I so love Annie’s selfless and evolved thoughts,’ or else ‘Jeez. What a head case.’”)

Times like these require writers like her who wonder how we're all dealing with anguish, grief, and despair without giving u
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Emily
Anne Lamott speaks to my soul.

In her phenomenal book, Help Thanks Wow: Three Essential Prayers , Lamott focused on how we communicate with the Almighty. In Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair, she muses on healing and wholeness.

Drawing on some truly horrific recent events, including the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, she asks universal questions that billions of others have wrestled with. "Where do we even begin in the presence of evil or catastrophe -- dead or deeply lost childre
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Jen
I liked this book better than Help, Thanks, Wow. It's about how to accept tragedy in our lives. Pretty great. Pretty short.


"So you-I-stuck to the family plan for a long time, because your success made everyone else so happy, even if you made yourself frantic and half dead trying to achieve it. You couldn't win at this game and you couldn't stop trying. At least it was a home to return to, no matter how erratic, which is better than noe home."

"This is also the bad news, not because your heart wil
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Signora
If I had to give this book my own sub-title, I would call it The Spiritual First Aid Kit! It certainly belongs in any First Aid Kit prepared to deal with the pain that life can bring. And as Anne isn't afraid to point out...life does deal us some blows...disappointments, fear, rejection...things that make you cry out, "WHY???" But most of the time, there isn't an answer, so what do you do?

Anne provides some tools. Through anecdotal stories and unashamed candor, she tells it like it is for her...
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Arlene Allen
Another small gem from Anne Lamott, one of my very favorite authors. She isn't afraid to show us her wounds and scars in order to help us deal with our wounds and scars. She doesn't make me feel bad for being crazy. This volume deals with loss and hope, in an entirely different way than Naomi Levy. She is in your face, Levy is poetic. Yet this volume kept me thinking for hours about my own traumatic losses last year and had me hoping that Lamott was right. We can make something beautiful out of ...more
Julie
Not my favorite Anne Lamott book, but still contains some gems on how to make sense of this awful condition called life. My feelings about this book are skewed a bit, as I finished it after a particularly hard day and was looking for something a bit more...I don't know what I was looking for. I liked this book well enough, and will give it as a gift to a couple of people I have in mind.
Marcy
Anne Lamott shares life with us, hers and others...Anne begins, "It is easy to sense and embrace meaning when life is on track." Authentic life, however, is filled with sorrow. "The equation is: life, death, resurrection, hope." What Anne is saying is that no matter what befalls us, death of a loved one, fire, Alzeimers, each one of us can wake up, living "stitch by stitch," asking help from good friends, taking walks, following routines, giving help to others, and get our lives back together. L ...more
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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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“Some people have a thick skin and you don't. Your heart is really open and that is going to cause pain, but that is an appropriate response to this world.” 11 likes
“But what if the great secret insider-trading truth is that you don't ever get over the biggest losses in your life? Is that good news, bad news, or both? . . . . The pain does grow less acute, but the insidious palace lie that we will get over crushing losses means that our emotional GPS can never find true north, as it is based on maps that no longer mention the most important places we have been to. Pretending that things are nicely boxed up and put away robs us of great riches.” 10 likes
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