Monday, June 22, 2009

Book Review

"Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life" by Anne Lamott
My grade: B

As is clear from the title, this book is for writers, or more specifically, aspiring/unpublished fiction writers. Having read several books on writing, I would say that this one is quite helpful and insightful, and offers to some extent a new perspective while covering the basics. There are a few things I didn't like about the book, however. Firstly, Lamott states quite openly that being funny is important to her, and while she often is, sometimes it feels over-the-top and plain unnecessary. Secondly, she focuses way too much on her own story, and not enough on general tips and potential outcomes for all writers. She additionally has a tendency to dwell on a certain story from her life, which in the end, bears no (or hardly any) relevance to the reader. There were, overall, a significant amount of anecdotes and details from her personal life, which in my opinion didn't have to be present in such a book; at least, not to this extent.

For all of you writers out there, if you haven't read too many books on writing yet, I would recommend this one.


  1. I read this in college. it's a good book but I think she meant to do that by being over the top and digressing into that war story and her son... that's what you're talking about right? when I read it and actually had to write a report on it I remember mentioning that her style wasn;t the cookie cutter kind and that her sarcasm made it really funny to me. it was an easy read but there are better books out there. to be honest as good as the book was I didn't get anything out of it but I still remember it so that's impressive. she did tend to be depressing at times too. if you read any of her fiction I'd like to know what you think. I did not like her style and found the fiction boring. maybe it was the subject matter. I can't remember now. it's really late here.. or early :) good night/morning :)

  2. I was impressed enough with this book to be intrigued about her fiction work. I bought one of her novels, and it went on the "To Be Read" shelf, so we'll see when that comes around :)