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Anne Lamott Photo by Sam Lamott.

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"Stitches," by Anne Lamott

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STITCHES

By: Anne Lamott.

Publisher: Riverhead Books, 96 pages, $17.95.

Review: The latest from Anne Lamott is short on pages, but full of faith.

Anne Lamott on mending a life after a tragedy

  • November 2, 2013 - 3:56 PM

The latest entry from Anne Lamott is reminiscent of her last book, “Help, Thanks, Wow”: short on pages, laced with stories, full of faith.

In this one, however, she doesn’t organize her book by three words that prompt prayer. Instead, she uses sewing — or, more specifically, mending — as an extended instructional metaphor for how to go on in the face of personal or global catastrophe.

“We live stitch by stitch when we’re lucky,” she begins, and goes on to use imagery such as unraveling, ugly patches, unifying colors, mending and darning as she advises readers what to do when their lives have “come apart in pieces in a way they’d never agreed to.”

Literal mending projects, including a repaired favorite pair of curtains and the fraying blouse of a beloved dead friend, serve as welcome stories (spoiler alert: There aren’t as many of these as her dedicated readers might like) and metaphorical food for thought.

With its discussions of Lamott friends who’ve faced cancer, ALS and mental illness, this book isn’t exactly a beach read. But ultimately, with its gentle exhortations to “keep taking the next necessary stitch,” it is a hopeful one.

LYNETTE LAMB

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