Writing Book Review: Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and LifeBird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this to see if I could use any of it in the writing class I’m teaching this winter/spring. Although I enjoyed the book, I’m glad I didn’t select it as the “text” for my class. I think Anne Lamott’s negative sense of humor could be really off-putting to beginning writers, and this book feels more like a place writers can go to commiserate about their terrible lot in life than a place to go for inspiration. Usually when I read writing books between writing projects, it inspires me to get writing again–but that wasn’t really the case with this book. Sure, the reassurance that “great writers” face all the same insecurities and challenges as beginners may have been helpful, if I still had delusions about what it meant to be a “great writer”–but I feel like I’ve been past my writerly delusions for quite a while. Also, the book purports to be about “writing” in general, but it really does feel like more of a fiction handbook most of the time.

Why four stars when I don’t actually have anything glowing to say about it? I guess because I like Anne Lamott. And four stars just felt right.

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