Almost Everything: Notes on Hope

3 CDs. Books on Tape. Oct. 2018. 3:30 hrs. ISBN 9780525640530. $25. digital download. SELF-HELP
Lamott (Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy) dedicates this book to her niece and grandson, stating that she will attempt to record all that she knows about everything in order to provide them with guidance in their lives. This leads to a rather disordered presentation that pings from topic to topic, mixing seriousness with casual offhand asides. Lamott addresses the overwhelming feelings of despair and uncertainty caused by modern life and offers advice on how to combat them with a combination of religion, spirituality, positivity, humor, and learning. She never glosses over the difficulties of everyday existence; indeed, she seems to find life to be a general cause of tremendous stress and sorrow. However, she also is able to see the joys in many things, given time to fight against her darker feelings. Lamott always does the unexpected—a chapter on God is mostly devoted to a friend who is an avowed atheist. While Lamott is clearly Christian, she is open to other religions and explores them for possible nuggets of wisdom. One suspects this is probably a better read than listen, largely because the author is the narrator. Unfortunately, Lamott's diction is poor and her pacing leaves much to be desired. She has a lot of one-liners in the book that fall totally flat in her monotone delivery.
VERDICT Established fans of Lamott's will likely enjoy this work, but the scattershot organization and less than stellar narration may leave others cold.
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