Spring 2010 marked the release of Anne Lamott’s latest title, Imperfect Birds. I have not read it. However, her brilliant how-to guide, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, has taught me invaluable lessons in getting ideas down on paper with minimal pain and suffering. Anne has said it herself, “Writing is hard.” Over the years, I have also enjoyed her columns at Salon.com. Lamott is witty, raw, vulnerable, a keen social commentator, a woman of deep faith, and a recovering addict. In light of Imperfect Birds having been recently published, I’ve had to ask myself one simple question: How is it I haven’t read Anne Lamott’s novels, especially when her writing instruction is so insightful? To be honest, I’ve always been uncomfortable with themes of addiction and recovery. Imperfect Birds follows one family’s chaotic journey through teenage drug abuse. Denial, flippant banter, and a mother struggling with her own sobriety combine to make a terrible situation even more insurmountable. This is an oft-told tale, but it certainly doesn’t diminish the fact that losing a child to drugs and alcohol is every parent’s nightmare.
It may take time before I’m in the right frame of mind to read Imperfect Birds. The story hits a little too close to home for me. Once I get over my uneasiness regarding the subject matter, I’ll revisit this topic and share my thoughts on the book.