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Blue Shoe

3.24 of 5 stars 3.24  ·  rating details  ·  5,792 ratings  ·  555 reviews
When single mom Mattie Ryder finds a tiny blue rubber shoe in her dead father's car, she decides to investigate how it got there. What should have been a little trinket mystery turns into the key to her relationship with both her parents. A comforting middle-age meditation.
Hardcover, 413 pages
Published January 1st 2003 by Wheeler Publishing (first published September 30th 2002)
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Oh my, oh my, oh my! I really don't know what to say about this book except ... oh my, oh my, oh my!

Anne Lamott is such an incredibly talented and honest writer, but this is a big unwieldy mess of a book. There are little gems in the writing, in the characterizations, and in the telling of this novel, which saves it, for me, from an "I hated it" rating. The problem is that it tackles too many storylines and ultimately doesn't do any of them justice. In the laundry list of conflicting narratives,
I wanted to like this book. It seems as though the author didn't herself have kids or else just didn't get it, because every part that had to do with the woman and her children seemed so off the reservation for me it just made the whole story completely unbelievable and contrived. Also the whole religion thing was not entirely consistent either with the woman's behavior or attitudes towards others, like she went to church with earphones on.
This book will not be taking space on my book shelves! I have heard good reviews on Anne Lamott's "Traveling Mercies" which is about her faith. So maybe she writes good non-fiction. This book is a novel and I don't think it is written very well. It just seems like a lot of drival to me. None of the characters are likeable. The main character, Mattie, is a recently divorced woman with 2 children. But she herself is extremely immature and not too bright. But I don't think this is the intent of the ...more
I was very disappointed in this novel, since I thoroughly enjoyed the author's Traveling Mercies and had been looking forward to this. Lamott has created a character essentially like herself only more neurotic and less funny. She then provided her with enough of a story for 40 or 50 pages and stretched it to a 320 page novel. It went on and on, circling the same old problems, only inching forward occasionally. The heroine made incredibly stupid choices and whined when the results were not happy ...more
Many times while reading this book I asked myself why I didn't just stop and start something I might like better. As it was recommended by a friend, I remained hopeful that there would be some redeeming value to the story. Please--at least give me protagonist that exemplifies some values and good judgment or at least learns something in the end. Lamott's lead character of choice starts right off with sleeping back and forth with her ex-husband (who is in a relationship with a pregnant girlfriend ...more
Okay, "didn't like it" is as bad as Goodreads gets, but believe me, I looked for a "hated it" button. I really HATED it! Mattie, the main character, is awful - self obsessed, but lacking any self awareness. A terrible friend, an awful mother, a lousy daughter - Mattie runs the gamut. Constantly praying (but virtually always just for herself - please, please, God, let my friend's husband leave her for me, etc.) and nearly constantly whining, Mattie is the most selfish character I have seen in qui ...more
I bought this book to read with my book club. I probably would not have chosen it on my own.

This is the first book by Anne Lamott I read - or I should say ATTEMPTED to read. And it will be my last. I absolutely hated this book. I'm an avid reader, and I can not remember the last time I started a book and didn't finish it. Normally, I feel compelled to read a book to the end, even if I don't like it, thinking there must be something redeeming about it. I kept pushing myself to finish this one, bu
Jennifer Lane
I wanted to like this book club selection but I found it too depressing and boring to finish. Here are a few comments from what I did read.

Mattie Ryder is recently divorced with two young children. Somehow she makes a living from modeling size 12 clothing for Sears? She's depressed from her divorce, and ruminates about her family, her children, and her friends. She sleepwalks through life, and the story plods along without much happening. When she finds a little blue shoe her father owned, the o
Jinni Pike
Blue Shoe was exactly OK. While there are some very lovely passages and I occasionally found myself pulled in to the plot, on the whole the book failed to capture my interest or elicit sympathy from me. The lead character Mattie changes moods so often it's hard to follow or relate to her. One second she's praying to Jesus and the next thinking about pouring Drano on top of her son's iguana. I understand this is a story about a woman in the midst of a crisis (or many, though each very "first worl ...more
I enjoyed this book. I moved through it, riding the emotional ebbs & tides it's characters created, filled with sorrow & erupting with laughter. It was hauntingly familiar. As I read it kept bringing back moments of Anne Lamott's own life as if excerpts from her memoirs in new flesh. As with Anne's writing the truth comes to you frankly and you take it as it is. That's how these character's lives are laid bare, in all their shame & all their joy, they are made awkwardly & endeari ...more
This is the kind of book that makes you think the publisher's assistant mistakenly sent a draft to the printer rather than the final manuscript. The characters are boring, the story just trundles along, there are random religious references, descriptions of some characters are clear, others not so, and the 'blue shoe' that the title refers to is a benign child's toy which plays an inexplicable role in the main character's psyche. The book reminded me of a writing assignment that someone would bl ...more
Amy Young
I'm torn. Anne can keep a story moving -- start reading and WHOOSH I'm caught up in it. Many of her characters are Christians and my problem isn't that they aren't the "right kind" of Christian (as if such a thing exists!) but that there is such a blatant disregard for some of the core beliefs. A little struggle with it, that's all I'm asking. Instead part of it has such a "I'm so cool, look at me, don't you want to be a Christian like me and not have those stuffy beliefs interfer with areas I d ...more
I read this book in 2 days on vacation...but I was not as impressed with this as I have been been with her nonfiction. This felt strangely like an excuse to write in the third person about her life. I adore her honesty and the way she can make me laugh but this was not her best.
Sylvia Valevicius
I read some reviews that were barely one star for this book. I am giving this book five stars because the writing craft is extraordinary! Period.

This is my first Anne Lamott book. I had heard of her but had never read anything of hers. After finding it at Goodwill, where many gems are donated by others and discovered and cherished by me, I read it in about a week, taking my time. Half way through the book, I stopped and ordered her 'Bird by Bird' from Amazon - a non-fiction about writing, itsel
"Hurt people hurt other people. That's the way it works."
- Blue Shoe

Anne Lamott is one of my favorite writers, but until this book I had never read any of her fiction. I first discovered Anne Lamott when my first daughter was born. Operating Instructions is a fabulous book. It is her funny, honest, sad, and optimistic account of her first year as a mother. She is a single mother, but her experiences of being totally in love and totally in over her head are universal.

A few years later, I read Tra
Aug 09, 2009 Alissa rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who's dealing with an older parent
Sometimes I love Anne Lamott more than others. I gotta testify that I'm uneasy with religion in general, and my uneasiness with Lamott's writing is directly in proportion to her ease with Christianity, which seems to be increasing over the years.

However. When I first read this book--about a woman raising her two kids and her mom, who has dementia (which is what Lamott's mother had)--I kinda hated the characters. The kids are especially galling. But I've been kind of stressed out, and when I'm st
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Carrie Crockett
Well . . . for me this was fine although not necessarily my search image of a good time. Lamott is obviously a fabulous writer, and what I liked the most about this novel was its wordsmithery. Lamott generously allows us to witness ways in which huge, detailed, believable murals of character can be affixed to the walls of our imaginations using very few (though apt) words. (I revere "Bird by Bird," and have now witnessed the application of the skills behind its writing!) What I didn't love about ...more
This is book was exactly what I was hoping for and more. It was a thoroughly enjoyable read - utterly lifelike in its peculiarities, and diverse, believable characters. It endears you to the main character and is full of unexpected turns. I found that I wasn't thinking or predicting what would come up - and even if I had, I would have been off - because it flows so easily.

Lamott writes with such a great humor - a blend of frankness, sincerity and realism. You can really believe the characters a
Julie Luekenga
I love Anne Lamott's writing but am a much bigger fan of her non-fiction than fiction. This story centers around a woman named Mattie, fresh from a divorce where her husband cheats on her with another woman. Ironically, this pain doesn't keep her from being the "other woman" in a marriage where her happy ending is she gets the woman's husband. The intrigue is provided as Mattie discovers the secret of her father (which is a little twisted), watching the decline of her mother, and her children as ...more
Maybe I just like Lamott's nonfiction better than her fiction. Maybe I had to pick it up and put it down too many times without enough long stretches of time to "get into it." My two complaints: disjointed narrative and more of a focus on turning pretty phrases than moving the plot forward. Once I DID get to sit down with it for longer stretches of time and the plot seemed to move forward more toward the end, I ended up liking it better. I'm having trouble with these "weak" women I read about--h ...more
This was terrible. I kept waiting for something interesting to happen. The best part was the end. And by that, I mean the fact that it was over. And I hated Mattie with a passion. She was self absorbed and a pretty terrible Christian.
I really enjoyed Anne Lamott's earlier books: Rosie, Hard Laughter, and Crooked Little Heart, but it became clear to me within about 20 pages of starting this book that she can only write one story, and I expect that it's also her life story. This book was the same as Hard Laughter, except the main character is 20 years older. There was also no real plot - you're at around page 250 before anything actually happens. I do find it amusing how every single one of her characters (in every book, not j ...more
Having read other books by Lamott, I picked this one off the library shelves. It's sort of an odd book - one of the reader comments was "kind of slow", and it is in a way. But it's all about families and the struggles that they endure. Mattie Ryder is the focal point of the book. She has an ex-husband, two young children, a dead father, a brother, a mother who's aging "badly", a lover or two (not simultaneous), a best friend who moved away, and some low paying jobs. She also has spiritual strugg ...more
Kristen Rudd
I always enjoy Anne Lamott's writing. I feel like it's impossible not to enjoy her writing. That said, I found this book slow-going. I think her strengths lie, not only in her way with words, but with her ability to write people honestly, to say what we all really feel. I found her characters in this book drove me bat-shit crazy, due to their piss-poor decision making, but I keep reading because they're written so honestly - such raw, broken, imperfect people like the rest of us. And THAT is wha ...more
Ask yourself a question. When you watch reruns of old SNL sketches, do you think that the churchlady bit isn't funny, and that the church lady just makes sense? Do you, further, judge people who make any mistake or are ever inconsistent? If so, you will not like this book, because you are a horrible person incapable of real human emotions.

For the rest of us, however, Anne Lamott has made a marvelous, charming novel about life, death, acceptance and family, with plenty of other things handled alo
Megan Anderson
Mattie Ryder adjusts to life with her children after divorce. Her life is falling apart around her: her house, her relationship with her mother and her children, her will power, and her finances are all failing. While Mattie tries to navigate depression and her real life, she finds a clue–a blue shoe–that serves as a key to unlocking her family’s past.

The author, Anne Lamott, wrote Bird by Bird, one of my favorite books about writing. I was excited to read a novel of hers for the first time and
Brenda Sorrels

I know that many writers have read Ann Lamott’s wonderful writing guide: Bird by Bird. My editor gave me a copy early on, and I have re-read chapters of it many times over the years. Lamott has scribed for magazines and teaches writing in northern California where she lives. She has also written six novels so I was excited when I found a copy of Blue Shoe at a book sale in Connecticut.
I wish I could say I liked this novel more than I did, because I really love Ann Lamott, but this story was a
Not my favorite of hers, but well written, of course.
(Don't I own this one, too?)
Deception, deception, deception. Hard to feel very sorry for many of the characters in this book, especially the protagonist. For all of the various reasons... cheating with another woman's husband, not leaving well enough alone, herself confused because her own father was pedophilic, in denial as to her own misconceptions of her mother, and the "need" to trundle her off into a home... hard to like the characters in this book, since all of them are deluded in one fashion or another or somehow at ...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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“It was not facing what life dealt that made you crazy, but rather trying to set life straight where it was unstraightenable.” 52 likes
“Mattie sat at the table, obsessing, orbiting around herself. She was sick of her worried, hostile mind. It would have killed her long before, she felt, if it hadn't needed the transportation.” 18 likes
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