Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith

by Anne Lamott

Paperback, 2000




From the bestselling author ofOperating InstructionsandBird by Birdcomes a chronicle of faith and spirituality that is at once tough, personal, affectionate, wise and very funny. With an exuberant mix of passion, insight, and humor, Anne Lamott takes us on a journey through her often troubled past to illuminate her devout but quirky walk of faith. In a narrative spiced with stories and scripture, with diatribes, laughter, and tears, Lamott tells how, against all odds, she came to believe in God and then, even more miraculously, in herself. She shows us the myriad ways in which this sustains and guides her, shining the light of faith on the darkest part of ordinary life and exposing surprising pockets of meaning and hope. Whether writing about her family or her dreadlocks, sick children or old friends, the most religious women of her church of the men she's dated, Lamott reveals the hard-won wisdom gathered along her path to connectedness and liberation.… (more)


Anchor (2000), Edition: Later Printing, 275 pages


(872 ratings; 4)

User reviews

LibraryThing member ctpress
“The road to enlightenment is long and difficult, and you should try not to forget snacks and magazines.”

Anne Lamott writes with great honesty, wit and insight about her life. The spiraling down parts of her youth into drug- and alchohol-abuse, affairs with married men and other destructive
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behavior. And then the rest where she recovers and discover God and Christian community and there's healing for her in many ways.

The book is a collection of essays that sort of fit together. Some of these essays are really poetic and heartbreaking accounts of lostness and helplessness. Others are hysterically funny. It's a relief to read how faith, peace and love - and a sweet little boy - enters her life.

“It's so awful, attacking your child. It's the worse thing I know, to shout loudly at this 50 lb. being with his huge trusting brown eyes. It's like b*tch-slapping E.T.”
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LibraryThing member trents
"Traveling Mercies" is a leftist Christian memoir. Let that sink in for a second - the author is a politically liberal female who is also a devout Christian, something which seems to be exceedingly rare in the United States right now and something that brings comfort to my heart as a Christian who
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is decidedly not a "Christian conservative."

This book has the strengths and weaknesses of most memoirs. It's well written and goes along quite quickly, but even with some self-deprecation, it also has a strong sense of ego stroking but, interestingly, not in the sense of wearing Christianity as a badge of honor as you might expect.

The book is enjoyable and it puts a face on Christianity that is rarely seen in the mass media today and, for that alone, I recommend it to all who might be interested.
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LibraryThing member Sandra305
I love Ann Lamott's writing style and her wonderful imagery, but her narcissism got in the way of my really enjoying the book as much as I was hoping to. In the beginning, her egocentricity and narcissism were acceptable because of the humor with which they were depicted, but after a while, I found
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myself becoming somewhat disenchanted and hoping that by the end of the book she would "grow up" a little and communicate on a deeper level with her reader. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. Disappointed Reader!
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LibraryThing member nanwordsmith
Traveling Mercies doesn't reflect a "traditional" Christian viewpoint, but a very vibrant and personal faith journey. God moves in many ways. I read this several years ago and still remember and comtemplate some of the anecdotes she shared. I guess that's what you call inspiring...
LibraryThing member auntieknickers
The first and, I think, still the best of Anne Lamott's books on her finding Jesus. My favorite line: "It's enough to make Jesus want to drink gin out of the cat dish."
LibraryThing member Bonni208
From the very first sentence, Anne Lamott captures our hearts and our minds. She writes, "My coming to faith did not start with a leap but rather a series of staggers from what seemed like one safe place to another." In this book, she teaches us how to pray when we can't even get through a single
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word without being caught up with distractions. She writes with humility, grace, and an amazing sense of humor.
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LibraryThing member spounds
Her honesty was startling and comforting at the same time. She really made me think, and I like that in a book.
LibraryThing member HarryMacDonald
Sorry to be the heavy here, especially at Christmas time. So I'll try to accentuate the positive. Fact is, however, that I really didn't find much in this book. I am glad that she has overcome various problems -- as if she had any monolopy on that. I am glad too that she has a lively faith --
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again, who could dislike that? But it's not enough for her, as a writer, or indeed as a human being, to think her situation is so intrinsically interesting that other people would want to read about it. As a writer, she needs to make it interesting, and maintain that interest. Just didn't work for me.
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LibraryThing member patricia_poland
Lamott is such a soul-baring writer! This book of essays covers so much including angst, fear, grace, thankfulness, wisdom, our continual struggle to wrestle control of the universe from God and the beautiful relief when we finally give that up.
LibraryThing member librisissimo
Substance: Lamott's account of her childhood and adult life exemplify the gospel accounts of Jesus's interactions with people greatly in need of his succor. As with C. S. Lewis, despite great differences in their personalities and circumstances, she was truly "surprised by joy" and invited Christ
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into her life with some reluctance, thereafter struggling to make sense of salvation and grace, as a work in progress. Full of insightful ruminations on living with Christ in your face, as it were. Traditional Christians will cringe at the doctrine, but I imagine the followers of the mortal Christ also concerned themselves more with the practical aspects of his teachings than with the theological niceties. As he often said, no one ever really understood what he was telling them. The phrase "Traveling mercies" is used by members of her church as a blessing on each other.
Style: Engaging, personal narrative; frank and intimate. Excellent descriptive passages and honed rhetoric.
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LibraryThing member keely_chace
I just love a Christian who can cuss like a sailor and write like nobody's business. Her writing makes me smile. Her faith inspires me.
LibraryThing member ilovepgh
This book. When I read it in college it made me realize that my faith was okay. I went to this conservative school, and the fact that I was a little liberal, and had had some rough times made me some times think my faith was "off" some how. This book changed all that.

I realized through her
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struggles that it is okay to sit in a bathroom and weep and tell God that you were really having a hard time right now. It was truly life changing.
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LibraryThing member rybeewoods
Lamott is brash and crude and all that good stuff that makes a book fun to read. By the end of the book it's little stale, but her journey is so intruiging and very different from what I'm used to. Lamott is a good example for preachers of how to speak authenticly.
LibraryThing member rayski
Well not for everyone, but I enjoyed it. Anne takes us from her childhood to present day as she learns about faith and life in general. Each chapter is a little antidote on how faith brings her through or teaches her something new.
LibraryThing member angusgrandma
I loved this book. Anne is a Christian like me. I so related to how she felt raising her child and the feelings mothers cope with and then feel guilty about. Anne was not always a Christian and she approaches Christianity with a unique spin - or rather, different than the Christian faith has been
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presented to us lately. You do not have to be a Christian to appreciate her writing either. Her writing is very relevant today and they are really fun to read.
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LibraryThing member wordygirl39
Anne Lamott is at her best when telling her stories of faith. She should stick to non-fiction.
LibraryThing member jenpbarr
Wow... Wow, wow, wow do I love this book. Opened my eyes to otherness in the Christian faith.
LibraryThing member marient
Anne takes us on a journey through her sometimes quirky faith. Whether writing about her family or her dreadlocks, sick children or old friends, the most religious women of her church, or men she has dated, she shows us the myriad ways her faith sustains her and guides her, shining light on the
Show More
darkest part of ordinary life and exposing surprising pockets of meaning and hope.
Show Less
LibraryThing member punkeymonkey529
this is the first book i've read by Anne Lamott and i really liked it. she writes with great faith, spirit and humor, of life and death, forgiveness and hope. i really enjoyed this. give it a shot if you like Christian/faith books or just want a good laugh as well.
LibraryThing member Jenners26
The book is not about your conventional spiritual journey because Anne Lamott is anything but conventional. She writes with a directness and honesty that makes this book intense and involving but also very funny. She grew up in an unconventional family and struggled with drugs, alcohol, and eating
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disorders before realizing that she might not live much longer if she continued on that path. In addition, she found herself pregnant and single. If there is ever a time when you need a spiritual awakening, it would be then. And Lamott found her spiritual home in a Christian church where she was "adopted" by the old African-American women of the congregation. Her stumbling toward a faith that works for her is the heart of this book, and I think it is all the more relatable because she puts herself out there -- warts and all. She has written several other books on faith that I haven't' read yet (Grace Eventually: Thoughts on Faith and Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith) but they are on the "to read" list.
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LibraryThing member nilchance
I devour everything Lamott writes, but I do it slowly, to savor the language. It's listed as Christian, but it's a kinder Christianity, more spiritual than specific.
LibraryThing member jjpet
A thoroughly enjoyable read, without a lot of proselytizing. The author shares slices of life in a very accessible way, and her wit and humor come through clearly. I look forward to reading more of Anne LaMott's work.
LibraryThing member BBBs
While Anne is certainly a flawed charcter, she can teach us a lot about prayer, Christianity, and love for all.
LibraryThing member GAYLEGREY
I love this book and read it several times. Twoghies didn't. What the hell is wrong with these people? Hippy alcoholic drug addicted single-mother finds Jesus - what's not to love?
LibraryThing member debnance
"With an exuberant mix of passion, insight, and humor, in Traveling Mercies she takes us on a journey through her often troubled past to illuminate her devout but quirky walk of faith." (from the back cover)
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