Almost Everything – Notes on Hope…
About the Book:
This New York Times bestseller teaches us to rediscover hope in a world which seems dark and uncertain
Despair and uncertainty surround us: in the news, in our families, and in ourselves. But even when life is at its bleakest, Anne Lamott shows how we can rediscover the hope and wisdom that are buried within us and that can make life sweeter than we ever imagined. Divided into short chapters that explore life’s essential truths, Almost Everything pinpoints these moments of insight and, with warmth and humour, offers a path forward.
First published in 2018 with this new edition released in January of this year, Almost Everything was written in the time before Covid-19, yet it seems in many ways to have been written as a light at the end of the long, dark, viral tunnel we are all treading through right now. Even the re-release is coincidental, timing wise.
This is a wise little book, brimming with insight and common sense, its sentiment delivered with humour and honesty. There was a lot of stuff in here about the bible and God, and while it’s in no way a book that could be accused of having a religious agenda, many of the author’s ideas sprout from her Christian outlook. I just wanted to mention that because it isn’t disclosed in the blurb and it kind of caught me by surprise. This is my first Anne Lamott book though – maybe she writes of God and religion often? I’m not sure.
But while I have never read a book of hers prior to this, I have, in the past, read and saved quotes of hers from the internet. She has written some wise words over the years. This book reminded me of listening to a podcast. Anne really ‘speaks’ to you from the pages, her voice is present, her tone is conversational, and as I already mentioned, her words are wise. I’ll leave you with some of my favourite parts. They really do speak for themselves. This book suited my natural tendency to regard every glass as half full rather than half empty. I’m a bright-sider from way back and it was refreshing to read a book that resonated with this view.
‘We can change, People say we can’t, but we do when the stakes or the pain is high enough. And when we do, life can change. It offers more of itself when we agree to give up our busyness.’
‘Some of us periodically need to repeat the joy training, rehabilitate the part of us that naturally dims or gets injured by busyness, or just by too much bad news to bear. Adults rarely have the imagination or energy of children, but we do have one another, and nature, and old black-and-white movies, and the ultimate secret weapon, books. Books! To fling myself into a book, to be carried away to another world while being at my most grounded, on my butt or in my bed or favourite chair, is literally how I have survived being here at all. Someone else is doing the living for me, and all I have to do is let their stories, humour, knowledge, and images – some of which I’ll never forget – flow through me, even as I forget to turn off the car when I arrive at my destination.’
‘And everything that has happened to you belongs to you. If people wanted you to write more warmly about them, they should have behaved better.’
‘We have all we need to come through. Against all odds, no matter what we’ve lost, no matter how dark the night, we offer and are offered kindness, soul, light, and food, which create breath and spaciousness, which create hope, sufficient unto the day.’
Thanks is extended to Allen & Unwin for providing me with a review copy of Almost Everything.
About the Author:
Anne Lamott is the New York Times bestselling author of a number of non-fiction books, including Help, Thanks, Wow; Small Victories; Stitches and Bird by Bird. She is also the author of several novels, including Imperfect Birds and Rosie. A past recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and an inductee to the California Hall of Fame, she lives in Northern California.
Published by A&U Canongate
Released January 2020