A lot of the reviews I've read of this book from fans of Lamott's are rather harsh, so perhaps it works out in my favor that I'm going into this totally unfarmiliar with her work. As a newcomer, I really enjoyed it, even though it wasn't entirely what I was expecting.
Lamott has a unique, lyrical, absolutely beautiful style of writing that instantly draws the reader in. It's clear that she tries to see joy in everything and everyone (part of one essay is devoted to her- sucessful, I might add- attempt to stop hating George W. Bush) and that too comes across in her writing- nevertheless, she's not above the black humour that makes all of the great memoirists worth reading. So her style wins her lots of points.
As for content, it's a mixed bag. Most of the essays are wonderful, a few go nowhere and seem to have no real point. They're also divided into sections, often for no apparent reason- the only section with any continuous theme is "Samwheel", in which all the essays are about Lamott's son.
I think a big part of the reason I liked this book so much is that I see a lot of myself in Lamott. A Christian who sometimes struggles with her faith, is inspired by the Zen and Buddist spiritual leaders, is against the war in Iraq, and is pro-choice? That's me! So identifying with Lamott was no problem for me. It will, however, be a problem for the many conservative Christians who will pick up this book expecting to find something more akin to their own philosophy. Even I was a little confused by the fact that the books advertised itself as "Thoughts on Faith" but didn't seem to contain a large number of thoughts on faith- at least not any more than thoughts on politics, family, friends, or getting older. In the end, though, I thought it was a great book, and am looking forward to reading Lamott's other works, which if other reviewers are to be believed are even better.