The beloved author reflects on how to cultivate hope and wisdom at a time of polarized politics and anxiety about climate change, the future of democracy, and other social problems that have troubled the nation's waters.
Keeping it real is a big part of Almost Everything. She is (and she assumes her readers are) in despair about the public figure who will not be named, although, not surprisingly, she names him. The book is not only, or even mostly, about Donald Trump, but like her 2005 Bush-era Plan B some may find it a bit too whiny about her political frustrations ... Ms. Lamott is often very witty, and her clever lines keep coming ... Although there are some great sections on joy—she’s like a funky, flower-power lady channeling C. S. Lewis about being designed for joy, making a sly argument from design for ultimate meaning—and plenty of upbeat stories; she is sincerely worried about the damages to our soul when we hate ... Many are deeply blessed by Ms. Lamott’s down-to-Earth spirituality, her cleverness, her ability to tell a story with a moral, or at least with a sensible point.
Unfortunately, there are times when our friends disappoint us. Those unfamiliar with Ms. Lamott’s work should probably start with something other than her latest collection of essay ... Part of the problem is that these essays often take a first-person-plural perspective, which flattens the drama of specificity with sweeping generalities ... More generally, the writing here is often lazy. At times Ms. Lamott stretches simple ideas across paragraphs padded with abstract language and few concrete examples ... She allows her affection for metaphors to woo her into piling on too many at once and committing the occasional howler ... No book of advice is wholly without merit, and Ms. Lamott certainly hits a few targets ... But while a well-meaning book about hope might make for an appealing stocking-stuffer, readers should expect more from Ms. Lamott.
... [Lamont] serves up her characteristic wisdom and wit, offering soul food for the weary and motherly advice on how we can all remain calm and keep our proverbial 'stuff' together ... The Lamott faithful and new readers alike will find some useful therapy here, though the short book's scattered nuggets of random truths oftentimes resonate greater than the whole.