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A Review - Hallelujah Anyway by Anne Lamott

I’ve been hearing and reading quite a lot about Anne Lamott and her latest release, Hallelujah Anyway. When it was released in early April of this year, I immediately put it on my list to check out, and when thinking of a read to start off this new series, I thought this would be a perfect fit.

Hallelujah Anyway is a collection of essays that feel like you’re talking to an old friend. Some of the conversation is familiar, straightforward, honest. The remainder jumps around a bit, both of you so excited to finally connect that every update and thought wants to come out at once. Some of the words get jumbled, while others eventually wind their way back to the original point and get wonderful conclusions.

Lamott’s latest work is about mercy, the lack of it in the world, and how she has found it in some rather interesting places throughout her life. Most critically of all, she talks deeply about how it is mercy to ourselves, our individual beings, that needs more tending. She starts with her upbringing, of how there was an underlying tone that she must hide away her care and merciful nature, and how she feels her connection to mercy was driven to the point of being unrecognizable. She then spends seven chapters recounting a time when she experienced mercy, and the situations leading up to and surrounding each encounter.

Some of the tales are simple and familiar, like when Lamott tells of a time when she had an inner argument about buying an expensive sweater, trapped between a rambling thought that it would be nice to have a new sweater for her upcoming travels and a replay of an argument with her son. Lamott finally stopped herself when she realized she was self-medicating her sorrow of the argument with shopping therapy and calls in her friend to help stop the horror.

Some of the stories are more in depth and harder to connect with, for myself at least. Lamott writes of a story she heard about an African village suffering from a water shortage, and how with a little bit of outside help, the villagers broke tradition and allowed the women to take an active role in bringing life back to their community.

If you have read any of Lamott’s past books, her writing style is probably familiar to you. Hallelujah Anyway is no exception. It is full of Lamott’s humor and wit, although her tales seem to wander a bit more than I’ve read previously. Even though she seems to jump around without rhyme or reason, she still makes it feel as if you are sitting with her for a cup of coffee, and catching up after years of being apart. She makes you feel hopeful and comforted with whirling stories and encouraging quotes.

Hallelujah Anyway is a wonderful book to take along for a quick getaway or beach trip, and being a short 176 pages, is an easy-going read. Oh, and did I mention the print is blue and purple? A fun little addition to your summer reading list, for sure.

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