Operating Instruction: A Journal of My Son’s First Year changed my life. You may really dislike Anne Lamott, her staunch politics, her outspokenness, her penchant for Jesus-talk. But when my kind and understanding friend Nancy gave me this book and said it mirrored a lot of her own thoughts about motherhood and faith, I wasn’t prepared for what would soon hit me. Talk about a mirror. Reading Anne Lamott’s diary was like seeing my own words fly off the pages. Most of the time. The rest of the time I laughed and shook my head. You’ll see what I mean, especially if you’re not a Democrat. (I’m not committing either way here. I will say I wasn’t offended by any of her politics.)
A few of my favorite quotes:
“I’m probably just as good a mother as the next repressed, obsessive-compulsive paranoiac.”
“So how on earth can I bring a child into the world, knowing that such sorrow lies ahead, that it is such a large part of what it means to be human?
I’m not sure. That’s my answer: I’m not sure.”
“Feeding him is sort of like filling a hole with putty — you get it in and then you sort of shave off all the excess around the hole and gob it back in, like you’re spackling.”
“Sam sleeps for four hours at a stretch now, which is one of the reasons I’ve decided to keep him.”
“One thing about having a baby is that each step of the way you simply cannot imagine loving him any more than you already do, because you are bursting with love, loving as much as you are humanly capable of- and then you do, you love him even more.”
If any of this tempts you, I’d also recommend her other non-fiction books (though she’s written plenty of fiction too). I’m elated because her newest memoir, Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son’s First Son, just came out. I’m looking forward to adding it to my library.