Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith

by Anne Lamott

Hardcover, 1999

Call number

158 LAM



Pantheon (1999), Edition: 1st, 288 pages


Biography & Autobiography. New Age. Religion & Spirituality. Nonfiction. HTML:NATIONAL BESTSELLER � At once tough, personal, affectionate, wise, and very funny, a book that tells in exuberant detail how to shine the light of faith on the darkest part of ordinary life, exposing surprising pockets of meaning and hope. "Anne Lamott is walking proof that a person can be both reverent and irreverent in the same lifetime. Sometimes even in the same breath." �San Francisco Chronicle Anne Lamott claims the two best prayers she knows are: "Help me, help me, help me" and "Thank you, thank you, thank you." She has a friend whose morning prayer each day is "Whatever," and whose evening prayer is "Oh, well." Anne thinks of Jesus as "Casper the friendly savior" and describes God as "one crafty mother." Despite�or because of�her irreverence, faith is a natural subject for Anne Lamott. Since Operating Instructions and Bird by Bird, her fans have been waiting for her to write the book that explained how she came to the big-hearted, grateful, generous faith that she so often alluded to in her two earlier nonfiction books. The people in Anne Lamott's real life are like beloved characters in a favorite series for her readers�her friend Pammy, her son, Sam, and the many funny and wise folks who attend her church are all familiar. And Traveling Mercies is a welcome return to those lives, as well as an introduction to new companions Lamott treats with the same candor, insight, and tenderness. Lamott's faith isn't about easy answers, which is part of what endears her to believers as well as nonbelievers. Against all odds, she came to believe in God and then, even more miraculously, in herself. As she puts it, "My coming to faith did not start with a leap but rather a series of staggers.".… (more)

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
Show More
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 bitch-slapping E.T.”
Show Less
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
Show More
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.
Show Less
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 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 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
Show More
word without being caught up with distractions. She writes with humility, grace, and an amazing sense of humor.
Show Less
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 --
Show More
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.
Show Less
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
Show More
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!
Show Less
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
Show More
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.
Show Less
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 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 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
Show More
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.
Show Less
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 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 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 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
Show More
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.
Show Less
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 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 CrossingBorders
A wonderful affirmation of faith and friendship; written with warmth and self-deprecating humor
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)
LibraryThing member jennyo
It was my first Lamott, but it won't be my last. I really enjoyed reading these vignettes in which Lamott reveals so much of herself, good and bad. Things I liked:

God's In Box - I know someone else who does this, and it makes sense to me. Write it down, hand it over, and don't worry about it
Show More
anymore. It's in His hands.

The way that Lamott feels about music. I can relate. I cannot imagine a world without music. And I can totally understand someone who chooses a church home because the music drew them in.

Her fierce and passionate love for her son and her desire to beat the living snot out of anyone who hurts or disparages him in any way. I feel the same way about my children.
Show Less




0679442405 / 9780679442400
Page: 1.5505 seconds