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Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  19,528 ratings  ·  939 reviews
From the New York Times bestselling author of Hallelujah Anyway and Help, Thanks, Wow, a spiritual antidote to anxiety and despair in increasingly fraught times.

As Anne Lamott knows, the world is a dangerous place. Terrorism and war have become the new normal. Environmental devastation looms even closer. And there are personal demands on her faith as well: getting older;
Paperback, 352 pages
Published March 28th 2006 by Riverhead Books (first published 2004)
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Average rating 4.05  · 
Rating details
 ·  19,528 ratings  ·  939 reviews

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Nov 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: spiritual ragamuffins
On re-reading this, I am finding much more to like. She's definitely the kind of girl who wouldn't go to the bathroom with a toothpick at a barbecue, and I like that...the oh fucks, the shitty days, the raw admittance of real struggles, past and present. Like teeth grinding while quitting cocaine and bad boyfriends all the way to grief over losing a pet but also wanting to gather a small pile of stones just in case you need to resort to the Old Testament stoning method for a moody, rebellious ...more
Mar 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: almost everyone who's ever felt human
I love Anne LaMott. In fact, on my trip to northern California next weekend to the Mt. Hermon Christian Writer's Assoc. I am bugging out on Sunday to drive a rental car to Marin County to attend her church and just MAKE her be my friend and read my book. Our lives run parallel, only I realized it before she did as she got off her duff sooner than did I.

We are both single moms. We both share recovery from addiction. We both have memorable hair, hers in dreadlocks, mine sticking straight up from
Jul 14, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who are interested in authentic spirituality
Shelves: essays
I read this book on a binge. Started it and couldn't put it down, the reading equivalent of a bag of chocolate chip cookies in front of the T.V. I've read her other books and still think Bird by Bird is the best book on writing I've ever read, but this one kinda snuck up on me. At first, I thought it was just going to be some funny bits, some thoughts on spirituality, and some ranting about Bush. Then, when Lamott suggests that she'll finally be able to forgive W. when they're sitting side by ...more
May 30, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommended to Sarah by: Jill
Overall, so well written. Maybe Lamott should have let some time pass before publishing her anti-Bush rants. One, it's so bitter. Two, it dates the book. Three, it takes away from the more lovely, insightful essays. Example: my favourite essay is "heat" (chapter 9). In it Lamott reveals all that's annoying about being a parent.

Ex: "One reason I think we get so angry with our children is that we can. Who else is there that you can talk to like this? Can you imagine saying to your partner, "You
Feb 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Anne Lamott is sort of off her rocker. And I love her so very much for this. Whereas so many Christian writers seem pulled together, even in the worst of times, Lamott is not. She struggles like the rest of us. She cries. She yells. She says things she doesn’t mean (and says mean things she does mean). She has no idea what she’s doing most of the time. Yet she still manages to practice a very real grace to those around her. She loves deeply, and practices real forgiveness. She is ...more
Jan 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think that Anne Lamott may be my favorite author right now. This is the second book I have read and I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Since I believe in God, I love reading books by other believers who aren't ashamed of their faith. Anne Lamott is such an author, but her books are by no means preachy or self-righteous. Instead, she writes with humor and honestly about her struggles with every day life as she tries to survive in these crazy times, raise her teen-aged son and be an authentic ...more
Lisa Allender
May 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
"Bird By Bird" was recommended to me by the fabulously talented Pearl Cleage, when I encountered her after her appearance(to promote her, at-that-time-upcoming book, "What Looks Like Crazy On An Ordinary Day") at Agnes Scott's Lit Fest. I believe this was in 1997 or 1998.
I read the book with excitement, and Anne Lamott(as well as Ms. Cleage) are favorite authors to this day.
"Plan B" was published in 2005, just a short time after the 2004 election.
Let me give you the first few lines of "Plan B".
Dec 20, 2008 rated it it was ok
This book was at times funny, engaging, and earnest. I enjoyed the author's honesty and willingness to take on SOME topics - around parenting, for example - that are rarely broached. Over all, however, I found it a self-indulgent, obsessive endeavor on the part of the author.

The stories were held loosely together by the "faith" thread - but Ms. Lamott didn't engage thoughtfully or analytically with the topic of faith. It just happens that she's a member of a church and the community of her
May 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
I suppose it's a little strange that I would really like this book given it's spiritual overtones, but Anne Lamott's unique blend of humor, observations on relationships and life in general ("Everyone has been having a hard time with life this year; not with all of it, just the waking hours"), not to mention her caustic comments about Bush even as she struggles to love him because her faith insists on it, should win over just about everyone. She can have you moved to tears as she describes the ...more
Sue Bridehead (A Pseudonym)
Reading this book made me feel good. It's funny and honest and sprinkled with profanity, but in the end, every essay is life-affirming and love-affirming.

She's so good, she made me consider going to church sometime. That's no small thing. I am a non-religious but open-minded person who gets very bored during sermons. Bored, or alienated.

The last time I tried out a Christian church -- the first time since high school -- the guest speaker spent 45 minutes telling us we were God's chosen ones,
Feb 05, 2010 rated it liked it
Anne Lamott is very witty. I'd love to have her as a friend/mentor. While I appreciated many of the insights offered in this book, I was a bit turned off by the politics. She wrote the book during the Bush administration's reign, and she was pissed off and terrified, and so was I...but I don't think it's productive to turn Bush into the scapegoat. Reading this book now, her demonization of Bush feels dated.
With that said, I plan to read more of her works because I think she has the wonderful
Apr 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
I love Anne Lamott. Traveling Mercies was hilarious, observant, and honest. This has all of these elements as she continues to reflect on little moments in life. This one just didn't quite blow me away the same way. I would still recommend it though. Check it out.
Aug 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Anne Lamott captures some powerful truths in this book...I hope I never forget the section below...

"What are you supposed to do, when what is happening can't be? When it's all too scary and weirdly fascinating and grim, and the old rules no longer apply? I remember this feeling when my mother was in the last stages of Alzheimer's, when my brothers and I needed so much more to go on than we had -- explanations, plans, a tour guide, and hope that it really wasn't going to be all that bad. But then
May 05, 2010 rated it did not like it
It seems that not even Anne Lamott can write a book as good as Traveling Mercies.

Of course there remains the beautiful nuggets of truth scattered throughout. And it wouldn't be a Lamott book without a very good helping of irreverence; which, surprisingly, can be freeing and comforting.

However, though this book reminded me what I first experienced in Traveling Mercies -- that it's OK to not be OK -- something here felt unfinished, or maybe even forced. Where Travling Mercies said, "Here I am, as
Kari Yergin
Jun 23, 2014 rated it liked it
I listened to this one, too. I like her writing much more than I like her reading. I love her stories and some of her words are so wise, but I got really sick of the her passionate but dated complaints about Bush.

"We figured out that ppl who make farting noises and weapons out of doritos should not determine what we do and don't do in class. There's a lovely hasidic story of a rabbi who always told his ppl that if they studied for the torah they would put scripture on their hearts. One of them
♥ Ibrahim ♥
Mar 01, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: spirituality, writing
Anne Lamott writes so beautifully; she is a queen of her writing craft. However, she strikes me always as bitter, angry and sarcastic, and as such it is hard to glean much spirituality out of her books. I have often wished to be "blessed" by her writings as I do always by books of the Buddhist Thich who comes across so gentle and penetrating to your soul. It is funny I can take the writings of a Buddhist monk and Christianize them and feel nourished, but the Christian writings of A. Lamott I ...more
Aug 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
While I'm not Christian I find her faith wonderful and inspiring. She despairs at what I despair at, and rejoices at the same things I rejoice at (often her son and politics for both). I love Anne Lamott as I have since reading Operating Instructions
Annie Norman
Apr 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I engulfed this book in one sitting. I’ve heard so much about Anne Lamott and enjoyed her writing even more than I expected to. She is raw and honest. I laughed out loud, grieved with her, and was inspired to love deeper.
Apr 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
Irreverent, provocative, stream of consciousness essays on life, politics, and faith.
Jan 29, 2014 added it
I like her meanderings and thoughts on being.....a woman,a Christian, a failure,a success...I just like it~!
Dec 31, 2007 rated it really liked it
uber quick read- but entertaining with some nice nuggets of truth thrown in as well. very stream of consciousness style which is easy and enjoyable, and often skim-able.
Rendi Hahn
I've only read one other book by Anne Lamott (Hallelujah Anyway), which was written more recently, and I liked it very much. I picked this one up at Goodwill - published in 2005, it is planted firmly in the context of the U.S. invasion of Iraq and the presidency of George W. Bush. Anne Lamott was not a fan of either. And while in some ways this dated the content, in other ways it paralleled so closely the times we are now living in the post-Obama era. Anne is blunt, irreverent, hilarious, ...more
Aug 03, 2019 rated it it was ok
This is not a book about faith. It is more of a loose collection of reflections on the author's life that the editors were determined to cobble together into a book.

Lamott has a mostly new-Age perspective (along the "divine spark is within you" and "God is nature" variety) so not much insight there. She is often downright mean about others, especially her mother and the people on the cruise.

It's just a depressing collection of baggage. A sentiment that is repeated throughout: "These are such
Oct 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
A while ago our home group read Grace Eventually by Anne Lamott and I liked it quite a bit, even though most of our home group didn’t. Anne is a woman after my own heart (and she says Don Miller is after hers as well, so it’s all good!). She writes: “I have a lot of faith. But I am also afraid a lot, and have no real certainty about anything.” My good friend Heidi was thinking about me when she visited the dollar store, saw Plan B on the shelf and bought it. I’m so thankful she did!

Plan B is
Sep 22, 2007 rated it it was ok
"There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground" (Rumi, quoted on p. 37)

"I could feel something tugging on my inside sleeve, which is the only place I ever hear from God: on the shirtsleeve of my heart" (60).

"Archbishop Carlo Maria Martini of Milan wrote the 'full of grace' is the passive: grace is something Mary has received, and the phrase is in the distant past tense, so it really means something like, 'You have been loved for a very long time'" (63).

"Laughter is carbonated holiness"
Danyelle Read
Apr 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I fall 'in like' with Anne Lamott each time I begin anything she's written, there is so much promise, so much that is kindred for me in what she writes, then, by the end of whatever it is that I am reading, I have already separated myself from her, as easily as a butterfly separates from a flower, thanking it for the nectar, more than ready to move on. This book gets a 5 because of the writing and the content - an amazing mix of humor, insight, devotion to an inclusive spiritual Christian path, ...more
Aug 03, 2011 rated it liked it
Just a few passages that struck me:

The Church of 80% Sincerity (109-110)
-80% sincerity is about as good as it's going to get. So is 80% compassion. 80% celibacy. So 20% of the time, you just get to be yourself.
-This is contrary to everything society leads us to believe - that it's 100% or nothing
-In the Church of 80% Sincerity, everyone has come to understand that unconditional love is a reality, but with a shelf life of about 8 to 10 seconds. Instead of beating yourself up because you feel it
Jan 15, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: christian
mostly I'd have to say this book was disappointing, but I think it was because I suffered under false pretenses to start it. I'd been told it was a Christian book, and made the mistake of expecting a Christian book like others I'd read. definitely not. most of the time, barely Christian. her faith seems a little more new agey/ unitarian than Christian sometimes. I appreciate her embrace of the imperfections of humanity, and her message about grace is always important, but I don't know how much I ...more
May 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
i'm biased with my stars, because the book is probably 4 stars, but Annie being Annie makes it a full five. although they'd be sort of odd company, i think of her and Madeleine L'Engle as the two women who have done more for me to embrace my faith and get comfy with it instead of bristle at all the stuff that comes with it that makes me feel squidgy and annoyed. i do love her earthy, authentic words about life & faith intersecting in all its messiness. for this girl who grew up in a very ...more
Bookmarks Magazine

Traveling Mercies chronicled Lamott's slow journey toward faith. Now in her 50s, Lamott still insists upon sugarcoating nothing in this enlightening update. She combines brilliant sparks of wit, self-deprecating humor, wisdom, and appreciation in these 24 essays, previously published in Salon (see for an excerpt from Plan B). If some have a moralistic bent, they rarely proselytize; instead, they inquire into Lamott's own, and sometimes naughty, truths.

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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
“Hope is not about proving anything. It's about choosing to believe this one thing, that love is bigger than any grim, bleak shit anyone can throw at us.” 507 likes
“It's good to do uncomfortable things. It's weight training for life.” 423 likes
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