Blue Shoe

by Anne Lamott

Paperback, 2003





Riverhead Books (2003), Edition: Reissue, 336 pages


Mattie Ryder is a marvelously funny, well-intentioned, religious, sarcastic, tender, angry, and broke recently divorced mother of two young children. Then she finds a small rubber blue shoe, the kind you might get from a gumball machine and a few other trifles that were left years ago in her father's car. They seem to hold the secrets to her messy upbringing, and as she and her brother follow these clues to uncover the mystery of their past, she begins to open her heart to her difficult, brittle mother and the father she thought she knew. And with that acceptance comes an opening up to the possibilities of romantic love.

User reviews

LibraryThing member readaholic12
Blue Shoe was my first Anne Lamott reading experience. I enjoyed the writing style and the characterizations much better than the story. As I became more familiar with the author, I understood that the best parts of her novel were the real life people and things she was writing about, and the weakest was the plot. Life rarely has an exciting plot. Blue Shoe is a pleasant diversion, but for the real deal, read Anne Lamott's essays, where her genius shines through as she tells you about life from her perspective.… (more)
LibraryThing member smallwonder56
Blue Shoe is a wonderful book. Anne Lamott writes characters very well, and they have all of the quirks and imperfections of real people without being weird.

The story revolves around a woman's quest to understand her family, her history and her own life. She longs for relationships and yet sees people (and herself) the way they are.

I wonder if the people who aren't as fond of this book perhaps haven't had the experiences that are the focus of the story. As a woman from a dysfunctional family with a geriatric mother, I'm always trying to understand the circumstances in which I find myself. This book was like a friend saying, "Yeah, I've felt exactly that same way. I've been through the same thing." Lamott's books aren't for everyone, but they are full of integrity and her own spirit. This book, in particular, is well written, with great dialog and a wonderful insight into people you know.

Another favorite of mine is Lamott's, "Rosie". Wonderful book.
… (more)
LibraryThing member trisha1
A peek into the life of a character who is coping with her marriage unravelling, her mother changing and the experiences of being single with kids. There are funny, touching, and sad moments in this book that has us step back and realize eventhough life is not a fairytale (usually), we can still find the joy, humor and wisdom produced from our experiences. This would be a good read to use to compare and contrast with other novels that are more mainstream in their depiction of a main character's life.… (more)
LibraryThing member solla
I am a big fan of Anne Lamott as a person and a nonfiction writer in Bird by Bird in particular, but I can't say the same for this novel. It is not terrible, and it is imbued with some of the philosophic sense of her nonfiction. I didn't mind reading it, which I did slowly as I ate breakfast before heading off to work. It is kind of a diary of how the protagonist faces her daily life, and she is likable, so the book it likable. I missed a sense of drama, and I think the elements of the story are there to make for drama. But somehow it is all blunted a bit. In the beginning of the book there are a lot of cases where a scene starts but never finishes, as the book swiftly moves to another scene. This improves somewhat as the book goes on. But the drama simply never builds.… (more)
LibraryThing member oldblack
The plot is essentially good with nearly all of it believable, and populated by real characters dealing with issues of significance to me - and many others too, I imagine.
So why didn't I like it more? I think it's because there's just too much happening. Too many events, described in minimal detail with very little background and context. Kind of like you'd get in a letter from a friend who'd witnessed the action.
That's not to say it was a lousy book, by any means. I didn't even seriously think about abandoning it part way through. I liked very much the story of Mattie's relationship with her aging mother; perhaps because I'm going through the same thing myself.
… (more)
LibraryThing member Tpoi
I love Anne Lamott. 'Why don't you marry her?' you ask? "Grow up", I say, eyes rolling.I do really appreciate her writing though, and her aggressive TMI biographical style and thoughts on faith and writing. Also, it is because of her writing and the writing of several other authors that I stumbled back to faith. Which is why I was so disappointed with Blue Shoe.… (more)
LibraryThing member sharlene_w
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), and a grocer she grew up with, while lusting after her handyman (who is also married). The main storyline dealt with her trying to learn more about her now-deceased father, triggered by coming across the contents (including a small blue shoe) of the glove box of a car her father used to own. Come to find out--surprise, surprise--more dysfunction. I felt I was being drug through a woman's trailer-trashy life, complete with equally dysfunctional family members. There wasn't a single character in the book I could feel any sympathy with or relate to in any way.… (more)
LibraryThing member mbergman
As in Lamott's wonderful memoir, one of the few I've enjoyed, we see a young woman struggling with the day-to-day details of life, including raising two young children after a divorce, a friendship disrupted by distance, another friendship with a man disrupted by his marriage to a depressed, demanding spouse, and, most of all, coping with a mother succumbing to increasing dementia, while she & her brother uncover troubling family secrets. It's familiar ground for Lamott, but she covers it with sensitivity & wit--& most unusually (though typically for her)--unobtrusively integrates some of the main characters' reliance on faith & on their church to cope with their problems.… (more)
LibraryThing member mojomomma
A bunch of deeply flawed and unlikable characters in search of a plot that never comes together. What happens to Isa? What happens to Noah and his mother? Do Mattie and Daniel ever get married? Frustrating.
LibraryThing member Stormydawnc
I've decided that while I'm quite a fan of Anne Lamott's non-fiction work, I don't tend to like her fiction books, and this one is no exception. Lamott is at her best when she's writing about her own struggles with faith and her writing, but while reading this book I was conscious the entire time that I was reading her writing. The story itself was decent enough, but I never had a moment where I was able to be absorbed into the story. I was quite aware the entire time I was reading words printed on a page, instead of being told a story. I'll look forward to Lamott's next non-fiction work, but I think I'm not going to try any of her stories again for awhile.… (more)

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Original publication date


Physical description

336 p.; 5 inches


1573223425 / 9781573223423

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