Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair

by Anne Lamott

Hardcover, 2013




Lamott explores how we find meaning and peace when life lurches out of balance; where we start again after personal and public devastation; how we recapture wholeness after loss; and how we locate our true identities in this frazzled age. We begin, Lamott says, by collecting the ripped shreds of our emotional and spiritual fabric and sewing them back together, one stitch at a time.


Riverhead Books (2013), Edition: First Edition, 112 pages

Media reviews

As the random shooting of schoolchildren, car bombs, disease, and sadness threaten to shatter our inner compasses and our hearts, Lamott reminds us that “hope is a conversation.” What allows us to continue, and occasionally glimpse a momentary goodness, she writes, is “attention, creation,
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love, and dessert.”
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½ (102 ratings; 3.9)

User reviews

LibraryThing member BookAngel_a
I love Anne Lamott's memoirs. Her writing is high quality, raw, and honest, and I'm fascinated by the stories she tells.

When I picked up this book, I did not realize that it was a follow up to Lamott's last book "Help, Thanks, Wow". Unfortunately I haven't gotten to read that book yet although I
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really would like to. I think I would have enjoyed this book even more if I had read that one first.

The title of the book is Stitches, and that is also the theme of the book. She uses the metaphor of stitches throughout the entire book, showing how lives can be torn apart and stitched back together. The end result won't be perfect but it will be beautiful.

This book is less than 100 pages and can easily be read in a day or two depending on your personal reading habits. I wish it was longer, I was left wanting more.

I would recommend this book to fans of Anne Lamott's memoirs, but I would also recommend reading "Help, Thanks, Wow" first.
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LibraryThing member dianaleez
Is there someone not in need of meaning, hope, and repair?

Anne Lamott's 'Stitches' is a laid back, low key dissertation on survival. How does one justify the tragedies and injustices of modern life? Are there words of wisdom that can get us through the bad times?

Lamott gently shares her own coping
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mechanisms and helps guide the reader into realizing her own opinions and views. It's reaffirming to find someone who has spent time pondering the need to recover from life's blows and who doesn't overwhelm with pat solutions.

Life is hard and then you die. Consider Lamott a guide on the path to making that life worth the effort.

There are no easy answers. But if life is truly worth living, then each of us does need a path through its dark moments.
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LibraryThing member jennyo
I love me some Annie. She's one of my favorite essayists. I think of this book like I do Help, Thanks, Wow as a stocking-stuffer book. A slim volume you can give even to your friends who can't understand your deep mad abiding passion for books. I liked Stitches. I really liked the idea of it
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because I do believe we're all broken and need patching. And that the best patches are those sewn in love rather than in duty. That said, I liked Help, Thanks, Wow a lot more than I liked Stitches. And I'm really looking forward to more essays. I need a good political rant and a Sunday School story or two (though Stitches does have a pretty good Sunday School story).

Though this wasn't my favorite Lamott book, you can still count me in on her next one.
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LibraryThing member feministmama
I love Anne Lamott. She is funny and quirky and she makes me feel so much better about hating george bush. This book is very different from her other books. It comes more from her christian side that can sometimes be funny and introspective but this time I found a little dull. I have a christian
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friend who may enjoy it though so maybe I can recruit a new Lamott love
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LibraryThing member mldg
Stitches is a slender volume written with Anne Lamott's inimitable style. The essays encourage us to push through troubled times by helping one another. This is the essence of love.
LibraryThing member detailmuse
It can be too sad here. We so often lose our way.

Lamott begins this little book while reeling from the Sandy Hook school shootings and trying to find her way back to hope the same way she did while recovering from alcoholism, and after 9/11, and after other personal and public tragedies. Her way is
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by taking the best next step and then the next, and to do so in community with others:

[T]he secret of life is patch patch patch. Thread your needle, make a knot, find one place on the other piece of torn cloth where you can make one stitch that will hold. And do it again. And again. And again. [...] Ram Das, who described himself as a Hin-Jew, said that ultimately we’re all just walking each other home. [...] Only together do we somehow keep coming through unsurvivable loss. [...] This is all that restoration requires most of the time, that one person not give up.

In size and format and compassionate tone, this little book is very much like Lamott’s previous Help Thanks Wow. In content, it’s perhaps a prequel to that volume -- a way to awaken from trauma to the point of asking for help. It’s extremely comforting ... a book that reads and rereads like a meditation.
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LibraryThing member SignoraEdie
If I had to give this book my own sub-title, I would call it The Spiritual First Aid Kit! It certainly belongs in any First Aid Kit prepared to deal with the pain that life can bring. And as Anne isn't afraid to point does deal us some blows...disappointments, fear, rejection...things
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that make you cry out, "WHY???" But most of the time, there isn't an answer, so what do you do?

Anne provides some tools. Through anecdotal stories and unashamed candor, she tells it like it is for her...and with that she gives us something to hang on to in the midst of all of it...she gives us hope.

I have loved Anne Lamott's writing for years. I have read her advice to fellow writers, her novels and her other memoirs. She delivers each time...with authenticity and humor. She says what we may whisper in the "silence of our hearts" and we sit back and say..."I can't believe she really said that!"

A short book, "Stitches" can be read through quickly and also picked up quickly in the midst of an emotional emergency! Again, thank you Anne Lamott!
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LibraryThing member lisalangford
I love Anne Lamott. She so brilliantly captures ideas, thoughts, feelings and life, illuminating them with experience and insight. This book, sort of a follow-up to Help, Thanks, Wow, brings again her perspective and voice to life and spirituality. I gave this book less stars than I might have
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because this book is so short!
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LibraryThing member rgustafson
Sometimes if you just keep reading, the comfort will follow. I wanted more from this book then it could ultimately offer, but it did remind me to keep seeking solace in reading, and more importantly, to keep seeking.
LibraryThing member streamsong
In her most recent book, Anne Lamott uses the metaphor that cloth is like life - it can become torn, ripped, stained or just plain worn thin. While the cloth will never be the same, you can create something entirely new and lovely and the repairwork can be an important part of the new piece.
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Friends, God and inner reflection all help stitch the torn cloth back together. Ms Lamott is careful to make this book of interest to readers of any background; a specific spirituality is not required.

This is a very short work and can be read in a couple hours. I enjoy Ms. Lamott and believe you can't tell the quality of a book by its length. This one, however, I felt lacked meat and didn't get beyond platitudes, although, as usual, Ms. Lamott has some very nicely turned phrases.
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LibraryThing member readaholic12
I haven't yet read an Anne Lamott book I didn't love. I was shocked by the slight size of this book when it arrived, but the contents were for me, a sublime distilled and condensed version of everything I love about this author and how she copes with life in crazy times. I could use some help
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coping in these crazy times, so I am her target audience.

I could have read this book in a few hours, but I took my time, reading in bits and pieces so I could ponder how succinctly she can sum up some of life's most heartbreaking scenarios and realities; and how she, and we all stitch together our lives, patching as we go, leaning on others and being leaned on in return. It is a guidebook for getting through life, even when you think you can't bear any more. This tiny book is a lovely sewing metaphor for life, written by a woman who knows well how the fabric of life can wear and tear, how dearly beloved people come and go in our lives, and how we patch and mend and darn and we go on, because that is what we do.

I know I will read this book again. It is full of grand observations, helpful coping hints and surprising optimism.
I'm not sure how well this condensed Anne world view will translate for a novice reader. For me, reading more about Pammy, Sam, all main characters who are woven into all her earlier works was like visiting with old friends, and I loved, understood and got every page of Stitches. For the die hard fan, this is a must read and re-read book.
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LibraryThing member debnance
Nobody knows trouble like Anne Lamott and nobody knows how to spin that trouble into meaning and hope like Anne Lamott. A perfect book to share with those who are going through rough times.
LibraryThing member hammockqueen
outstanding. A book that holds many of her simple beliefs. I recommended to everyone.
LibraryThing member 4daisies
Stitches is a tender message of hope and love in these desperate times where we might sometimes wonder if there is any love or tenderness left in the world. Anne speaks in such a plain voice. She is real and flawed, hurt and healed, stubborn and teachable. She is one of my favorite authors. I like
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to think she would be my friend if we lived near each other. I'm sure that is the secret to her success - she makes us all feel that way. As I read about the tragedies filling the news these past weeks, it gives me some comfort and reminds me where I can find some solace.
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LibraryThing member homeschoolmimzi
I liked this short little collection. Typical Lamott, with colorful metaphors of what grief is like, what fear is like, how community works, how nature plays a part in healing. A very helpful and encouraging read. I'll pick this one up again.
LibraryThing member Jewel.Barnett
Anne Lamott does it again. This is such a powerful book packed in such a tiny package. This is a great book for anyone who wonders about life and living.
LibraryThing member jepeters333
What do we do when life lurches out of balance? How can we reconnect to one other and to what’s sustaining, when evil and catastrophe seem inescapable?

These questions lie at the heart of Stitches, Lamott’s profound follow-up to her New York Times–bestselling Help, Thanks, Wow. In this book
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Lamott explores how we find meaning and peace in these loud and frantic times; where we start again after personal and public devastation; how we recapture wholeness after loss; and how we locate our true identities in this frazzled age. We begin, Lamott says, by collecting the ripped shreds of our emotional and spiritual fabric and sewing them back together, one stitch at a time.

It’s in these stitches that the quilt of life begins, and embedded in them are strength, warmth, humor, and humanity.
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LibraryThing member jrbeach
I could write a one word review – "slight". Fans of Lamott are likely to be disappointed. This "book" feels like just a couple of Salon article/essays cobbled together – recycled anecdotes. Anyone new to Lamott might be confused, not knowing all the "back story" necessary behind so many of the
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anecdotes. If you are trying to introduce a friend to Anne Lamotts non-fiction, please start elsewhere.
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LibraryThing member kathieoleson
This very brief book (at 112 pages, more like a long pamphlet) left me with more questions than answers. Lamott’s writing remains honest and engaging. But there's a backstory that is missing here: Something wounded her in her recent past, and she did not reveal it in the book. I kept reading and
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waiting. The book ended. Then I looked online, but couldn't find out what it was. She is not obligated to tell us every detail of her life, yet we had become accustomed to it! I fell in author-love with Anne Lamott after reading "Travelling Mercies", the book in which she recounts her conversion to Christianity. As a fellow believer, I found her take refreshing and edgy. But by the time I read "Plan B," I was turned off by her anger and hatred of former President George W. Bush. I had wanted to see some growth in the Christian life she still claimed to live. With "Stitches", I think that growth is happening. She is mellower. She seems sadder. She seems less angry at former President George W. Bush. The short length of the book doesn't make it quite a "handbook", but there are good thoughts here about what we CAN do when the losses of life seem insurmountable.
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LibraryThing member ms_rowse
Not my favorite Anne Lamott book, but still contains some gems on how to make sense of this awful condition called life. My feelings about this book are skewed a bit, as I finished it after a particularly hard day and was looking for something a bit more...I don't know what I was looking for. I
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liked this book well enough, and will give it as a gift to a couple of people I have in mind.
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