Wednesday, March 24, 2010

43 - Imperfect Birds; Anne Lamott











Imperfect Birds; Anne Lamott






This novel begs parents to ask themselves the question, "how much freedom is too much freedom to allow your teenager".  This book is number three of a trilogy --I have not read the other two books: Rosie and Crooked Little Heart, but it is not necessary to read them to fully understand this story.

In this novel, seventeen year old Rosie Ferguson is an intelligent and pretty girl who had always been pretty open with her mother. In the past she has shared personal details with her family about her friends and classmate's problems.  However, as the new school year approaches it becomes clear, at least to the reader, that Rosie is a troubled girl in crisis.  

Her mother, Elizabeth, is a recovering alcoholic and suffers from anxiety and depression. She knows her daughter hangs out with a fast crowd, and that Rosie has not always been honest with her, but yet Elizabeth hates to make waves.  She fears that if she digs too deep, she may risk ruining her relationship with her daughter. Rosie has a stepfather, who is obsessed with work, and he seems to be pretty much a non entity. However, when a crisis occurs and things get out of control, the parents are forced to take action to help their daughter.

MY THOUGHTS - I was so looking forward to this book, and really wanted to like it, but ultimately, I was a somewhat disappointed.  The writing was vivid, but I wanted to shake the mother and say "wake-up and do something".  Maybe it was partly because she was struggling with her own issues, but it is not like the family did not have a good support system.  I also did not care for any of the characters, and I find it hard to love a book, when I can't relate to, or don't like anyone in it.  Yet, the novel tells an important story, and in many ways gives insight, at least to the observant reader, of signs to look for in a troubled teen. (Rating - 3/5 - You be the Judge)
(Review copy from Publisher)

29 comments:

  1. What's sad is I think that story's true for a lot of teens these days. I know people who encouraged their teens to run with a certain crowd because they thought it would be good for their future.

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  2. Anne Lamott always writes memoir---even when she's calling it fiction. As a whole, I enjoy her memoir much more than her fiction because it's grounded.

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  3. I didn't realize that this book is part of a trilogy. I have it TBR and it sounds interesting and has some good points to make about teens. It sounds like one that I'll have to be in the right mindset for as it sounds like a lot of dysfunction.

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  4. Sorry you didn't like this one more Diane. It's hard when you don't connect with the characters. That throws me off right away.

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  5. I have to agree that if I can't relate to the characters then it is usually (although not always) hard for me to enjoy the book.

    As always thanks for the honest review!

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  6. I've really enjoyed Anne Lamott's non-fiction--Bird by Bird was fabulous, and Travelling Mercies was interesting and thought-provoking--but for some reason I've shied away from her fiction.

    Sorry the book disappointed--hate it when that happens.

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  7. I hope that I will like someone in this story when I get to it...I too find it hard to get into a book when I'm not liking any of the characters. I had to idea that this was a trilogy at all. Thanks for another excellent review!

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  8. Great review, Diane. As the parent of a teen, I know there are no easy answers to all the issues they face.

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  9. I like the first two books in this series, so I'm going to give this one a go. I agree with Nancy, though, about enjoying her memoirs (which are sometimes disguised as fiction) more than her other novels.

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  10. I've found that I like Lamott's non-fiction books (Bird by Bird, Operating Instructions) better than her fiction.

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  11. I feel this way about a lot of Lamott's work: It SOUNDS so good but I just can't get into it. I appreciate your honest review!

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  12. I was interested in your thoughts about wanting to shake the mother. Normally, I, too, love Anne Lamott, yet she is very liberal (more so than I, anyway) and I have the feeling she lives much more laissez-faire than I could do. I wonder if this was reflected in this book, or if it's my connection from outer space. I'll read this though, because I'm intrigued by the author and, even more so, your thoughts.

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  13. I'm the same way - I have to be able to relate to a character or at least be so fascinated with them that I keep reading the book.

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  14. I liked this book and sadly can tell you that it's quite true for many teenagers today. While the book is sad, it is very honest to it's very core. It serves as a warning for those that have 9 and 10 year olds certainly.

    This book is 3 in a trilogy but each book stands on it's own without the other's and that's a true test of a good writer.

    www.shishnit.org

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  15. Sorry you were disappointed. I tend to prefer Lamott's non-fiction.

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  16. Nicely put. I haven't read any of Lamott's works yet.
    Alayne - The Crowded Leaf

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  17. I think you and I felt the exact same way about this book!

    -Amy
    Life by Candlelight

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  18. Tackling the subject of today's teens is a tough go for anyone, be it fiction or non.

    I agree with Darlene: I have to like at least one or two characters to enjoy a book.

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  19. Sorry to hear you didn't really enjoy the book. I can't believe I haven't heard of this one before now. I think I too would be a bit peeved with the mother in this one!

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  20. Sorry to hear that you were disappointed with the book. It sounds as though this would be a tough read for me because I have a teenage daughter that I worry about constantly. I also have to like, or at least be interested in the characters in the books I read, so I can totally understand your frustration in this situation.

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  21. The novel focuses on a pertinent theme for all parents of teenagers. Too bad the book falls short in several places.

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  22. That's kind of bummer that you didn't like it! When you don't make a connection, it's hard to follow the story completely...

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  23. I cannot profess to a be a Lamott fan when I've not heard of this...and reading your review, I'm kinda disappointed along with you. But still curious, if it's there when I get to the library on Saturday, I just...might...pick...it...up!Thanks! Good to hear about a fave author!

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  24. I'm glad my mom gave me the freedom to develop myself and learn as I go along. I also have the fear of sometimes trying to dig too deep and risk ruining relationship with people that matters to me. I've heard a lot about Anne Lamott and hope to read her books one day.

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  25. Rosie makes me think of my niece--she has caused my SIL so much grief over the years. But my SIL doesn't have the excuse of depression or alcoholism; she just refuses to admit that she screwed up. I might actually like this one better than you did since I would be able to relate to it better.

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  26. Sorry you didn't like this one as much as you'd hoped.

    --Anna
    Diary of an Eccentric

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  27. "how much freedom is too much freedom to allow your teenager"

    Seriously I have no idea! Obviousy if u dnt connect with the characters, i dnt think u can like the book... but there are exceptions too.

    I dnt think i want to read it, but there is something we need to think about :)

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  28. Sorry that this one didn't work out for you. I find it hard to relate to a book like that too.

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  29. I'm sorry this book didn't work for you. I've always enjoyed Lamott's nonfiction more than her fiction though.

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