Just Finished: Help Thanks Wow by Anne Lamott

Saying and meaning “Thanks” leads to a crazy thought: What more can I give? We take the action first, by giving—and then the insight follows, that this fills us. Sin is not the adult bookstore on the corner. It is the hard heart, the lack of generosity, and all the isms, racism and sexism and so forth. But is there a crack where a ribbon of light might get in, might sneak past all the roadblocks and piles of stones, mental and emotional and cultural? 

We can’t will ourselves to be more generous and accepting. Most of us are more like the townspeople of Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” than we are like the Dalai Lama. I know I am . And this is what hell is like.

It obviously behooves me to practice being receptive, open for the business of gratitude.”

-Help, Thanks, Wow by Anne Lamott

I remember reading Anne Lamott’s Traveling Mercies years ago when my life was in tatters and loving it so hard that it was almost a physical ache. I still have my copy, which is a mess filled with highlighted passages and dog-eared pages. I later read her next two books on faith but Traveling Mercies has stayed my favorite until now.

In Help Thanks Wow: The Three Essential Prayers, Anne Lamott explores the three prayers that help her appreciate life’s beauties and get through life’s griefs. (There’s actually a fourth prayer about not being such an ass. Hey, why not?) “Help” is for those times we feel like we need some assistance from a higher power, “thanks” to give gratitude, and “wow” for all those times when the beauty of life leaves us unable to say anything else.

Help Thanks Wow is a short book, only 102 pages, but Lamott packs so much in. As usual with Lamott, there’s plenty of humor and so many beautiful passages. I found this spiritual book to be a nice addition for Lamott fans and a great introduction for those new to her spiritual non-fiction.

lamott helpHelp Thanks Wow: The Three Essential Prayers by Anne Lamott

102 pages

Published in 2012 by Riverhead

Source: Public Library

14 thoughts on “Just Finished: Help Thanks Wow by Anne Lamott

  1. I think I might love this! I have a hit and miss relationship with Anne Lamott. I liked Bird by Bird, disliked another book of hers I tried to listen to on audio. But this one sounds like a good read for this point in my life.

  2. Yes, Anne Lamott won my heart, too. I loved the simplicity of this book. Easy to remember. Help. Thanks. Wow.

  3. I love her! I read Operating Instructions when my son was about 3 and it helped me so much. I’ll have to pick this one up.

  4. I tend to have mixed feelings about Anne Lamott when I read interviews with her/articles by her. I love the title of this book, though. I think of it a lot now when I’m praying — everything gets categorized in her terms now. Which is quite a thing to have happen with a book I haven’t even read.

  5. I haven’t heard of this author but sounds like I need to have her books on my shelf. Definitely sounds motivating.

  6. I admit that I’m not actually a praying person, yet I still feel like I might enjoy this book a great deal. I certainly loved reading your thoughts on it. :)

  7. I’ve loved pretty much all of Lamott’s nonfiction that I’ve read–and I think I’ve read all that’s been published in book form, except this one. I got to meet her at a book signing last year, and she was amazing in person–just exactly the sort of person she seems to be in her books.

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