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(Rosie Ferguson #1)

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  3,551 ratings  ·  298 reviews
In Anne Lamott’s wise and witty novel, the growing pains of motherhood are portrayed with rare humor and honesty. If Elizabeth Ferguson had her way, she’d spend her days savoring good books, cooking great meals, and waiting for the love of her life to walk in the door. But it’s not a man she’s waiting for, it’s her daughter, Rosie—her wild-haired, smart-mouthed, and wise-b ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published June 1st 1997 by Penguin Books (first published October 30th 1983)
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Jessica Though Elizabeth is definitely the main character and the book is told mostly through her perspective, a child is often the center of the world to a…moreThough Elizabeth is definitely the main character and the book is told mostly through her perspective, a child is often the center of the world to a mother, regardless of what else is going on. Rosie gives Elizabeth's life shape and color when there otherwise would be nothing for her to grasp onto. It's not all about Rosie, but it is. (less)

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3.66  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,551 ratings  ·  298 reviews

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Jul 13, 2010 rated it liked it
I love Anne Lamott's non-fiction - she's really funny. But after reading this early fiction for a second time (the first was many years ago) I was left wondering why I remembered liking it so much. Elizabeth is a whining, self-indulgent trust funder, who in spite of heavy drinking, reads the classics, cooks gourmet meals and has a killer garden. All else bores her to tears. A traumatic event at the beginning of the book is entirely glossed over and another involving Rosie and the neighbor is nea ...more
Kendra Parker
Jan 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Anne Lamott is an author who manages to creep under my skin in that way that some others have. Her writing becomes a part of who I am for as long as I'm reading the book and then part of her lingers forever after. I read this book many years ago and remember thoroughly enjoying it. But about six months ago I picked it up again and read it in one sitting. The characters stirred me.

Lamott can do more with her imperfect characters than most authors can do with their flawless characters. Every chara
Doreen Fritz
Aug 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
I approached this book with trepidation -- not usually liking books written about horrible childhoods. The title character's father was killed in an accident, and her mother is an alcoholic, and so the summary described Rosie as a precocious 9-year-old who is basically raising herself. But Lamott is such an excellent writer, I was very quickly absorbed into both the writing AND the characters. Rosie is indeed precocious, and her mother Elizabeth appreciates her and interacts with her - there is ...more
Leila T.
Oct 21, 2009 rated it it was ok
I read Lamott's "Operating Instructions" when my baby was a newborn. Then I read and fell in love with her "Bird by Bird". I really like Lamott's literal and bald-faced honesty; there is so much (for me) to relate to in her neuroses and human foibles, especially those that are never admitted to.

"Rosie", at the beginning, took my breath away with how much I related to its main character. A few chapters in, my interest is flagging. I think what I need is (a) more sleep, if only my child would let
Mar 12, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
CAUTION review contains spoilers!! In many ways, I loved this book. But in many ways, I didn't like it. Lamott is a good writer. She is not the greatest novelist on the planet, but "Rosie" is what I might call a good modern novel, when a lot of modern novels today are junk. Lamott portrays life the way it is, even when we don't like what life really is. Her style of narrative often mirrored well the way that we take in the world--through senses. She is a sensory writer, and I loved her descripti ...more
Dec 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 16, 2012 rated it liked it
Rosie is one of Lamott's earlier novels. It's honest in its presentation of characters and their flaws. Elizabeth, the main character, is kind of detached from life; she has no direction or desire. When she get's pregnant with Rosie, at first she wants to get rid of the child via an abortion, but decides to keep her.This changes Elizabeth's life. Rosie is the key to her existence and as Elizabeth raises her, she gains purpose, a reason to exist.

Lamott throws several situations at her characters
May 11, 2011 rated it liked it
I decided to read Anne Lamott so I will quit getting her name mixed up with those of other authors named Anne or Annie or Ann (Lindbergh? Dillard? Patchett?). I don't know why I have this brain filing system thing--Austria/Australia--good thing I have Goodreads. Anyway, this is Anne Lamott's first novel, and I hope not her best. It was fine, I enjoyed it, it was easy to read and had some interesting and funny and well-done parts. Some issues did not get resolved--the author shirked her duty; wha ...more
Debbie "DJ"
May 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novels

Anne Lamott has such a powerful way of connecting us to her characters. This book was full of quirky characters, and I loved the way she pulled me into each of their lives. The main character, Rosie, is a nine year old girl who is wildly funny, precocious, and must adapt to many loses in her life. This book had me laughing one moment and crying the next. For a rather short book, this one is packed with much human experience. I loved it.
Feb 25, 2017 rated it did not like it
I've really enjoyed Lamott's nonfiction and memoirs (Traveling Mercies, Plan B, Stitches, Help Thanks Wow) but the only reason I even finished this book was: it was very short and I was home alone for the day. The main character (Elizabeth) was someone I could empathize with only in small ways; for the most part, she was pitifully self-centered and aimless, her daughter Rosie being the only thing in the entire world that could make her actually come alive. Plus her excessive drinking and constan ...more
Beth Heggan
Sep 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I just love Ann Lamott. She really brings her characters to life. She can write a book with very little story line, but I still can't put it down.At first I didn't realize there are two more books in this series but now I have to read the next one.. Maybe one of my fav authors, kind of like Anne Tyler.
Rachel Dawson
May 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was my first fictional read from Anne, and it absolutely captivated me from start to finish. I read it in an afternoon, unable to pull myself away from the characters and this incredibly well-written story. This family is not at all traditional and they don't have things together by any means, but they make you love them and get invested in them as they grow.
Thea Bourdeau
Call me crazy, but I couldn't get past the fact that the protagonist informed her four-year-old that sex is also called "fucking," and upon finding out that said four-year-old touched a boy's penis, she asked if she liked it. I'm all for sex-positive parenting, but like...c'mon.
Indra Salazar
Aug 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
Anything by Anne Lamott is amazing but I am rereading this one because the third book came out recently.
Mar 03, 2016 rated it it was ok
Rich alcoholic widow--who does not work--whines, gardens, and makes elaborate meals and is mean to the nice man who, for some reason, loves her.
Feb 10, 2019 added it
Lamott’s fiction can do a number on me, it’s mysterious.
Jun 05, 2017 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
ʚϊɞ Shelley ʚϊɞ
" The white crescent moon made dappled slanting shadows of the trees, and the air was as crisp as chilled vodka, smelling of leaves and grass, of living and burning wood."
This is the first book in the Rosie Ferguson trilogy. I read the first two books years ago, not realizing it was a series. Anne Lamott has a gift for making her characters and their lives very real and believable, this is a painful tale of growing up in a dysfunctional home. While she struggles with the confusion of growing
Mar 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Although the ending was a little too tidy for me me, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, which startled me a bit - I feel like I've seen so much of it before (the brilliant but fucked-up mother, the wiseass scowling kid, the hideously pretentious boyfriend, the best friend's perfect-but-actually-flawed mother, the inevitably predatory father figure, the jolly best friend) and yet somehow she didn't take them down the usual tedious roads - or if she did, introduced a bend in that road that i was abso ...more
Mary Anne
Mar 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
She walked to the front door. "Hello?"
"Hello," a woman's voice said.
"Are you a Witness?"
"I swear to God I didn't see a thing."

This was early on in the book and had me chuckling. I've read Traveling Mercies because a friend gave it to me, and I could have sworn I'd read Bird By Bird. I love her writing style and material. I found Imperfect Birds on my Overdrive library and was stunned to learn that it's the third in the series. So, of course, I needed to read Rosie.

This was a lovely book. I bough
Apr 01, 2012 rated it liked it
I approached this book with high expectations, which is always a mistake. I love most of Lamott's non-fiction work and had read a positive review or two of Rosie.

The first half was hard going and I had to talk myself out of giving up on it more than once. Slow moving and too much detail. It picked up in the 2nd half and I ended up finishing the last 100+ pages in one hit. I really enjoyed Lamott's ability to tap into the world of little girls - how they think and act, and I also found her depic
Jan 28, 2013 rated it it was ok
Up until halfway through the book I was considering putting it down. The narration takes a hard look at the characters which was sometimes hard to read. Elizabeth is an alcoholic and it's often hard to read about how she treats people or what she thinks about people as the book is written from her perspective. It's also hard to have much sympathy for her when we are told over and over again that she is very attractive, intelligent and has plenty of money. Why can't she just pull it together?

Jun 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Linda Ott
Rosie has made her world one of hope and opportunity despite the odds. Her mother, though flawed, treats Rosie like the other adults in the story with one exception--she knows Rosie sees through her. Rosie is like her good conscious that means well but her flaws seem to overcome her best intentions.

I loved this book though I was very glad to finish it. Throughout, I wanted Rosie to win. I wanted Rosie to be in a happy place--and you know what?--throughout the reading she always found and made t
Aug 31, 2012 rated it liked it
I love Anne Lamott's writing with her gentle humor and quirkiness and her characters' inner struggles. Lamott has a gift for immersing the reader in the tribulations of her character's lives. Rosie is another fine example of Lamott's skill.

Rosie is a story about a mother, Elizabeth and her daughter, Rosie who are alone in the world after Rosie's father dies in an accident. Often Rosie seems as if she is more adult than her mother. Rosie, is a free spirit, wise beyond her years and Elizabeth, alt
Dec 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
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Annie Carrott Smith
This book was written in 1983 and it was interesting reading about life as we knew it 20 years ago. It wasn't because anything dramatic was happening other than the random references to Reagan and Russia etc. but it was more about the portrayal of the emotional time. Anne Lamott was an alchoholic herself and has been free of it for a long time. I wondered whether this story was partly autobiographical in a way. The acid trip was weird and felt odd being included but then it may have been part of ...more
Joseph Brewer
Jul 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I read this to introduce myself to Anne Lamott's work. I am glad I did. Despite its title, at first the story seemed to be about Elizabeth Ferguson, Rosie's mother, and the people who populate her life: Andrew, Rosie, Rae and James. The story seems to unfold as a tiny family saga, from Elizabeth's mother to Elizabeth to Rosie. But there is an imperceptible shift, from Elizabeth's tumultuous inner life to Rosie's life of becoming herself in a world where her one constant is her flawed, beautiful, ...more
Jan 25, 2013 rated it liked it
I'm glad I read this one after the others, instead of in the right order. Even so - I love the characters in this family. I want to be their friend; I want to be them.

"Elizabeth, out loud, ponders the golden mean, *le juste milieu*, whether a human body is equidistant between the infinitesimally small and large, between quarks and stars." p.162

The acid trip was my favorite part.

want to do with you what spring does to the cherry trees' -neruda" p.175

"Mavis Lee's mother sat weeding a begonia be
Feb 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I have not been so wholly engaged in the life of a character in a long time. Elizabeth is so flawed, smart and funny, but so desperately alcoholic, that I was constantly worried about her and her daughter. I cared about these characters so much that I literally lost sleep over them, and finally had to limit my reading to daytimes and not before bed. I don't think I can give a work of fiction higher praise.

As a writer, I found the way Lamott presents dialogue almost revolutionary. She often will
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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

Other books in the series

Rosie Ferguson (3 books)
  • Crooked Little Heart
  • Imperfect Birds
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“She walked to the front door. 'Hello?'
'Hello,' a woman's voice said.
'Are you a Witness?'
'I swear to God I didn't see a thing.”
More quotes…