By the Book @ Rogers Memorial Library

Help, Thanks, Wow, by Anne Lamott

You’ve heard it said that when all else fails, follow instructions.  So we breathe, try to slow down and pay attention,  try to love and help God’s other children and — hardest of all, at least to me — learn to love our depressing, hilarious, and mostly decent selves.  We get thirsty people water, read to the very young and the very old, and listen to sad people’s stories.  We pick up litter and try to leave the world a slightly better place from our stay here.

Help, Thanks, Wow, by Anne Lamott, is a small book.  You might read it through in one sitting, but this slender book has a big concept.  According to Lamott, prayer, a practice shared by many religions, is not that complicated.  It can be boiled down to three simple words: help, thanks, and wow.

For Lamott, it is not important what you call that thing which is greater than you.  God, Howard, the Really Real, even “Hey You” will work.  What is important is to reach out, to seek that higher power.  Whether you pray for help, or in gratitude, or in awe of something wonderful, Lamott believes that prayer is transformational, “It is us reaching out to be heard, hoping to be found by a light and a warmth in the world, instead of darkness and cold.”

As always, Anne Lamott writes with a wry humor, brutal honesty, and a quirkiness that keeps her from being preachy.  She shares the not-so-pretty parts of her soul, admitting to sometimes being a brat.  Everyone has warts and weaknesses; Lamott encourages us to laugh at those things, and then ask for help in becoming better people.

This is not a “religious” book.  It is a book that will remind you to pause and say “thank you” for all that you have, to ask for help when you need it, and to take time to notice the amazing world that surrounds you.


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