In Some Assembly Required, Anne Lamott enters a new and unexpected chapter of her own life: grandmotherhood.
Stunned to learn that her son, Sam, is about to become a father at nineteen, Lamott begins a journal about the first year of her grandson Jax's life.
In careful and often hilarious detail, Lamott and Sam-about whom she first wrote so movingly in Operating Instructions-struggle to balance their changing roles with the demands of college and work, as they both forge new relationships with Jax's mother, who has her own ideas about how to raise a child. Lamott writes about the complex feelings that Jax fosters in her, recalling her own experiences with Sam when she was a single mother. Over the course of the year, the rhythms of life, death, family, and friends unfold in surprising and joyful ways.
Pages: 272 (hardback)
Publisher: Published March 20th 2012 by Riverhead Hardcover
Rating: 8 out of 10
Source: Checked out of library
Date Completed: January 27, 2014
When I look back on early parenthood, Anne Lamott's book Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son's First Year is one of the shining lights. The book helped me so much! A few years into parenthood and I am trying to figure out how to improve my relationship with all of my daughter's grandparents. I was very excited to hear that she had a new book coming out about her experience as a grandparent. Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son's First Son by Anne Lamott was something I very much looked forward to reading, but did not get around to starting for quite awhile.
As predicted, I loved her insight and was glad to get the grandparent perspective; I also loved that she co-wrote the book with her son. I was hoping to become more patient and understanding; in the general scheme of the book I felt like I understood her perspective, but I still felt frustrated and annoyed with some of the ways she interacted with her grandson and his parents. One of my favorite passages in the book is about staking out and claiming love territory. We are so lucky that there are so many people who love and support us as a family, but sometimes we inadvertently compete to make sure we have a special spot in my daughter's heart. Even though I know better, I find myself in a weird competitive mode. Seeing my behavior through Lamott's writing made me laugh and reminded me that parenthood can be so much easier without drama.
One of my sweetest moments with the book was as I was finishing the last few pages. The Little One had not slept well the night before and came into our bed. She was sleeping in and I decided to read next to her. Hearing her breathe and look so peaceful next to me made the words about love and family feel so real.
I am counting this book for the What's in a Name 2014 for the reference to time category.