Imperfect Birds: Book summary and reviews of Imperfect Birds by Anne Lamott

Imperfect Birds

A Novel

by Anne Lamott

Imperfect Birds
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  • Published in USA  Apr 2010
    288 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

Rosie Ferguson is seventeen and ready to enjoy the summer before her senior year of high school. She's intelligent - she aced AP physics; athletic - a former state-ranked tennis doubles champion; and beautiful. She is, in short, everything her mother, Elizabeth, hoped she could be. The family's move to Landsdale, with stepfather James in tow, hadn't been as bumpy as Elizabeth feared.

But as the school year draws to a close, there are disturbing signs that the life Rosie claims to be leading is a sham, and that Elizabeth's hopes for her daughter to remain immune from the pull of the darker impulses of drugs and alcohol are dashed. Slowly and against their will, Elizabeth and James are forced to confront the fact that Rosie has been lying to them - and that her deceptions will have profound consequences.

This is Anne Lamott's most honest and heartrending novel yet, exploring our human quest for connection and salvation as it reveals the traps that can befall all of us.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Straddling a line between heartwarming and heartbreaking, this novel is Lamott at her most witty, observant, and psychologically astute. " - Publishers Weekly

"As she eschews the cunning one-liners and wry observations that had become her signature stock-in-trade, Lamott produces her most stylistically mature and thematically circumspect novel to date." - Booklist

"Starred Review. Lamott is consistently wonderful with this type of novel, and once again she does not disappoint." - Library Journal

"In the end, the strengths of central characters and believable complications overcome a tendency toward oracular psychobabble." - Kirkus Reviews

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Reader Reviews

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Dan Edelstein

Say it again
Really disappointing. I've read a few of Anne's books and they've been going downhill since the first. This book is so repetitive and tedious and really pretty trite. We get the picture within the first few pages, and then we get it over and over ad nauseum. If there was something provocative or interesting about the writing, the endless repetition would be forgivable, but unfortunately that isn't the case. This is a book about character in which the characters are types rather than actual human beings. They lack any specificity, as does Ms. Lamott's (or at least the narrator's) observations of the world. I just don't buy any of it. Yes, teenagers sometimes use drugs and sometimes deceive their parents about it. These are things that I knew before reading the book. Unfortunately, I don't know anything more about it after having read the book. Anne seems to be faking her way through this book. She doesn't believe it herself.
This is particularly disappointing because, judging by the few times I've heard her interviewed on the radio, she's charming and funny and has a fairly unique perspective on the world, especially regarding faith. None of that comes through in this book. Nothing feels true.

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Author Information

Anne Lamott Author Biography

Anne Lamott writes and speaks about subjects that begin with capital letters: Alcoholism, Motherhood, Jesus. But armed with self-effacing humor – she is laugh-out-loud funny – and ruthless honesty, Lamott converts her subjects into enchantment. Actually, she writes about what most of us don't like to think about. She wrote her first novel for her father, the writer Kenneth Lamott, when he was diagnosed with brain cancer. She has said that the book was "a present to someone I loved who was going to die." In all her novels, she writes about loss – loss of loved ones and loss of personal control. She doesn't try to sugar-coat the sadness, frustration and disappointment, but tells her stories with honesty, compassion and a pureness of voice. Lamott does ...

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