Book Review: Bird by Bird
Bird by Bird
by: Anne Lamott
For years, I’ve heard great things about this book.
So I finally bought it at Barnes & Noble the other day and decided that it would be the sole physical book I’d bring on my trip to England. I’m so glad I did. It was well worth lugging from Alaska to London, York, Oxford, and back to London.
While it’s not a typical “writing advice” book in that it doesn’t focus on story structure, plot, characterization, etc., in great detail, what it is is a bit like a collection of essays bordering on personal writing experiences or metaphors for the writing life.
Sometimes it’s easy to see why these books are better books about writing than actual books about writing. What do I mean by that? Well, sometimes books that break down story structure and instruct with helpful “rules” on writing can damage a person’s artistic bents.
Not so with this book. This book is a great illustration of how writing is different for all writers. Of how writing helped the author in her struggles as she worked through acceptance as a child, the death of her father, single motherhood, the death of a friend, and more. And she encourages her students (and the reader) to do the same–in their own way. Sometimes it’s just about the act of writing, and not about what is actually being written.
I realize this review is less about the book than normal, but that’s kind of how this book was. Instead of being directly about writing, it was about the author’s experience with writing, and that’s all we, as authors, can really hope and strive for. We shouldn’t try to have anyone else’s experience with writing, but only seek our own experiences with writing.
genre: self-help, instructional
rating: 4.5 ❅❅❅❅