Book review: “Bird by bird” by Anne Lamott



I bought this book some time ago but only recently finished reading it. I had read about it in many other books about writing. Everyone raved about how wonderful the book was and so I thought I’d treat myself.

I must say that, as a book about writing, it disappointed me at first. I guess I was looking for another guide book about writing, giving step by step instructions on how to write a novel, or a short story or whatever. This book is not like that. It is not something one can read from cover to cover and come away knowing everything there is about writing.

Instead, it is the kind of book that creeps inĀ  under your guard, sneaking into your pores and inhabiting your inner writer. The sub-title is very revealing: “Some instructions for writing and life.” Ah, so it’s about more than merely being a writer. Anne Lamott uses a broad brush and paints a wonderful, yet challenging, picture of the writer’s life and how life experiences can and must impact the writing.

I enjoyed reading this entertaining book, but it left me with a suspicious mind. I suspect I’ll get far more out of it on a second and subsequent readings.


  • Lamott, Anne 1995, Bird by bird: some instructions on writing and life. Random House, Anchor Books, New York.


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