Andi's Reviews > Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son's First Year

Operating Instructions by Anne Lamott
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Jun 18, 08

Read in June, 2008

Hold your hats, folks. I’m about to get all “over-the-top” in this review.

I needed this book right now, with all it’s one-lines that make me laugh out loud. You should have seen me last evening, lying in the grass outside my church (it was only in the 70s yesterday, and today, with a light breeze - perfect grass lying weather) and laughing like a maniac. I’m sure all the Amish people who came by in their buggies must have thought I was nuts.

So this book is the journal that Lamott kept during her son’s first year of life. It’s a story of love and fear - all that stuff that comes with a kid, I assume - and is so honest, so so honest. And funny, really funny.

Take this, for example:

November 22 - I wish he could take longer naps in the afternoon. He falls asleep and I feel I could die of love when I watch him, and I think to myself that he is what angels look like. Then I doze off, too, and it’s like heaven, but sometimes only twenty minutes later he wakes up and begins to make his gritchy rodent noises, scanning the room wildly. I look blearily over at him in the bassinet, and think, with great hostility, Oh, God, he’s raising his loathsome reptilian head again.
When I go over to the bassinet to pick him up, though, he looks up at me like I’m Coco the clown - he beams, and makes raspberries, and does frantic bicycle kicks like he’s doing his baby aerobics. Then I feel I can go on.
I’ve never been so up and down in my life, so erratic and wild. My body is slow getting back to normal, except for my butt and thighs. I have to keep remembering the line about the little earth suits and that I am a feminist, because the thighs are just not doing all that well. I lay in the bathtub yesterday looking at them, thinking of entering the annual Hemingway write-alike contest with a piece called, “Thighs like White Elephants.”
And then part of me thinks, Hey, who fucking cares.

That voice, that sarcastic, bitter but ultimately beautiful voice is what I love about Anne Lamott. I’m going to give this book to every friend of mine who has a kid - which is most of them - so that they don’t feel so alone when they think their baby has a reptilian head. And I’m going to remember this book when I hold their babies and wonder what goes on in those little brains.

The only sad part about having finished this book is that now I’m out of Lamott books to read. Annie, get writing would ya?
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