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Operating Instructions : A Journal Of My Son's First Year Hardcover – 20 Jan 1994


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 261 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (20 Jan. 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747516715
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747516712
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 2.7 x 19.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 419,898 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

" An enormous triumph. . . . Charming. . . . Powerful. . . . Funny." - "San Francisco Chronicle" " A funny, self-mocking, vivid account." - "The Washington Post "" Smart, funny, and comforting. . . . Lamott has a conversational style that perfectly conveys her friendly, self-deprecating humor." - "Los Angeles Times Book Review "" Lamott is a wonderfully lithe writer. . . . Anyone who has ever had a hard time facing a perfectly ordinary day will identify." - "Chicago Tribune "" First class all the way. . . . Lamott, along with her novelist's eye and often poetic prose, has a terrifically black sense of humor. . . . Deeply honest." - "The Detroit News "" Wonderfully candid. . . . Even non-parents will enjoy this glowing work." - "Publishers Weekly"" Lamott here shares her humor, faith, friendships, and irreverence. . . . Operating Instructions" "is enhanced by Lamott's colorful and expressive language, her philosophical reflections, and her descriptions of many eccentric friends." - "Library Journal"" One need not be a new parent to appreciate Lamott's glib and gritty good humor in the face of annihilating weariness. She'll nourish fans with her entries, and give birth to new ones as well." - "Kirkus Reviews "" Painfully honest, laced with humor and poetry and moments of profound insight. It captures the intense fluctuations of feeling, the rapid alternation of exhilaration and fury, love and despair, that characterizes new parenthood." - "San Francisco Examiner"

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 25 Oct. 2005
Format: Paperback
This was an alternately interesting and irritating read. Ann Lamott is a sensitive and honest chronicler of her own life, and her situation as a single, unorthodox type of woman was interesting. Her baby is much like most other babies - he does all the usual excretory activities, he screams like crazy and sometimes she loves him more than she can bear and other times, she cannot work out what to do with him. But I'm afraid her encounters with her therapist just made me shake my head and wonder why some people have to over-analyse the stuff that happens not just to them but to all of us.
God features a good deal in this book as Ann Lamott is a committed liberal Christian, and a politicised woman - what I found heartbreaking was that she wrote Operating Instructions at the time of Bush I's Desert Storm fiasco - it seems that in the intervening 15 years, little has changed.
That said, it is an interesting take on the early stages of motherhood.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By maria1971 on 14 Feb. 2005
Format: Hardcover
A very personal and honest account of a year of highlights and low-lights of being a new mother.
It brought back lots of memories, brought on a few tears, and made me wish I'd kept a journal of my son's first year, to share with him once he's older.
I'd recommend this not only to mommies but especially for mommies-to-be because this is one of the few books that doesn't sugar-coat new mommy-hood but still makes you feel that it's well worth it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lucy Corkhill on 14 May 2012
Format: Hardcover
I first read this book ten years ago and loved it. I liked Anne's witty, acerbic style and appreciated her honesty. Now, ten years later, five of which have been trying for a family of my own, I have slightly mixed feelings. It's still funny, and still heart-breakingly honest. But it also feels incredibly self-involved and at times Anne's behaviour is just shockingly, breath-takingly selfish. Not towards her son Sam; she describes the magic, wonder and challenges of their relationship with great insight and humour. No, it was towards all her friends, the ones who rally round in her hour of need, who support, cherish, soothe and comfort her. Particularly her friend Pammy, who, I was shocked to discover at the end of the book, died in 1992.

Pammy gives her time, love and attention unconditionally to Anne and Sam, and doesn't seem to get much in return (though she does seem to have a wonderful relationship with Sam). When Pammy goes away for a break from constant caring (even when she's not round at the house, Anne is calling her up to pour out her feelings), Anne is angry with her, not happy that she gets some time out with her husband, some relaxation. Anne's bitterness towards women in happy relationships runs throughout a book about bringing up a child as a single parent. Even when Pammy is diagnosed with cancer and undergoing chemo, it is her own reactions and feelings that Anne describes. She seems completely unable to put herself to one side, even for a fleeting moment, and wonder what Pam herself might be going through.

Pam still comes round to deliver groceries; Anne can't even be bothered to buy her M&Ms at the theatre after her friend's endless devotion; when the news comes back that it's terminal, it's Anne who cries in the car and has to be comforted.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 28 Jun. 2001
Format: Hardcover
I read this book at regular intervals and it never, ever fails to make me smile, laugh out loud and cry. Painfully honest and deeply touching, it records the experiences of Lamott's first year with her son, Sam. Her descriptions are so marvellous (hands like stars, Christlike feet and so on) and her emotions genuine as she must parllel her son's life with her best friend's illness. I cannot recommend it highly enough - I guarantee you will love it.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 1 Nov. 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I didn't keep a diary when my son was born, and I regret that. But this fabulous book brought it all back.
Mums, old & new - this is a must-read book.
I laughed out loud a thousand times, and often had to wait for my eyes to clear of tears before I could read on.
Anne, you're an AMAZING author. I've also read "Bird by Bird" and loved that too.
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