Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Blue Shoe” as Want to Read:
Blue Shoe
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Blue Shoe

3.26  ·  Rating details ·  7,149 ratings  ·  706 reviews
The New York Times Bestseller from the beloved author of Bird by Bird and Traveling Mercies.

Mattie Ryder is marvelously neurotic, well-intentioned, funny, religious, sarcastic, tender, angry, and broke. Her life at the moment is a wreck: her marriage has failed, her mother is failing, her house is rotting, her waist is expanding, her children are misbehaving, and she has a
Paperback, 336 pages
Published September 2nd 2003 by Riverhead Books (first published September 30th 2002)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Blue Shoe, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Blsaldana fiction and I don't recommend it. Time is too precious.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.26  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,149 ratings  ·  706 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Mar 29, 2008 rated it it was ok
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,
Mar 23, 2007 rated it did not like it
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.
Sep 09, 2010 rated it did not like it
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
Sep 08, 2010 rated it did not like it
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
Feb 19, 2013 rated it did not like it
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
Christopher Hicks
Aug 29, 2018 rated it it was ok
This was a weird book! I didn’t hate it but I didn’t love it either. I found it interesting at times but mostly the main characters were just so blah!! I was lost on the time period of this story. None of what the author wrote lined up. I could never figure out entire sequences of the book and that’s irritating to me. There were also storylines and characters that just disappeared and I’m still not sure of the great significance of the”blue shoe” other than something to use to give a title. I wa ...more
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
Sylvia Valevicius
Jun 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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
Feb 16, 2010 rated it did not like it
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
Apr 03, 2009 rated it it was ok
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
Aug 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
I pretty much trudged through the book waiting for it to get interesting. It felt like I was sleep walking through someone's dysfunctional life, someone who I had little interest in. I kept waiting for the "blue shoe" to become significant and revealing. I could see potential in the story but it just never seemed to come together so that the reader cared about the story.
Ginger Bensman
May 15, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: general-fiction
No one is a bigger fan of Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird, than me. It’s gentle and funny and full of smart advice about writing, so when my book club selected Blue Shoe I was right on board. But Blue Shoe turned out to be a schizophrenic read for me. Her depiction of children was spot-on perfect. I could relate to the adult characters, and there were many of them. They were consistent and believable, but most of them were wallowing in emotional wreckage, and I just didn’t like them very much, not ev ...more
Dec 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
"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
Jinni Pike
Dec 07, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-2012
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
Nov 27, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
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
Aug 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 18, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: disappointing
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
Nov 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 31, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
Amy Young
Dec 21, 2008 rated it liked it
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
May 01, 2007 rated it liked it
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.
May 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
3.5 stars. Anne Lamott writes sympathetically about a character who's been dealt a difficult hand in life and does her best with them but still makes some bad decisions. Basically she deals out the same bad hand to her own children. That seems to be the way family dynamics usually work and I found the book really insightful in this way, if not particularly satisfying.

It was interesting reading this in conjunction with _Bird by Bird_ by the same author. In BbB Lamott instructs fiction writers to
May 15, 2011 rated it did not like it
I am downgrading my review of this book. I had originally given it three stars, but I realize that was only because I didn't want to admit that Anne Lamott wrote something horrible. I do love her essays, and they are so personal that I feel she's practically let me into her family. To top it off, you can see some parallels to her real life in this novel. So I hated to say, "Wow, Annie, I had to force myself to finish this."

Here's what I wrote the first time, with a few, more honest, changes:
Feb 18, 2008 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2014
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
Feb 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 05, 2016 rated it did not like it
This was the book we read for one of my book groups a few months ago. I tried (miserably) for a week to get into it, but ended up skimming the last half just so I could have something to say when the book club met. I didn't have much to say except that I was bored silly with all the characters and had no interest in any of them or what happened to them. Nothing of interest really happened, just mundane daily life stuff. Life really boring mundane daily life stuff. All of those things were wrappe ...more
Dec 17, 2009 rated it it was ok
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
Kristen Rudd
May 30, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: adult-fiction, 2012
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
Apr 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
I loved this story. Of late, I have read slower-paced books like this and enjoyed them, but Blue Shoe is the frosting on my cake. The characters were beautifully drawn - each distinct and unforgettable. The writing was exceptional. here are some excerpts:

'It was not facing what life dealt that made you crazy, but rather trying to set life straight where it was unstraightenable.'

Here's my full review.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Happy to Be Here
  • Banishing Verona
  • I'll Let You Go
  • Goodbye Without Leaving
  • Ultimate Punishment
  • The Island at the End of the World
  • Grâce et dénuement
  • Conjoint Family Therapy
  • Paintings from the Cave: Three Novellas
  • The Playful Brain: The Surprising Science of How Puzzles Improve Your Mind
  • Healing and the Mind
  • Stop Being Mean to Yourself: A Story About Finding The True Meaning of Self-Love
  • The Last Word and the Word After That: A Tale of Faith, Doubt, and a New Kind of Christianity
  • What Did You Eat Yesterday?, Volume 3
  • Swim Back to Me
  • Experimenting with Babies: 50 Amazing Science Projects You Can Perform on Your Kid
  • Women's Ways of Knowing: The Development of Self, Voice, and Mind
  • Round Rock
See similar books…
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
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“It was not facing what life dealt that made you crazy, but rather trying to set life straight where it was unstraightenable.” 62 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.” 23 likes
More quotes…