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Self-Help [Paperback]

Lorrie Moore
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

2 Nov 1998

This absorbing, ironic, bitter-sweet collection of nine stories marked Lorrie Moore's talented debut. Sharp, cruel and funny, the stories are presented as a highly idiosyncratic guide to female existence: 'How to be an Other Woman', 'How to Talk to Your Mother (Notes)', 'How to Become a Writer', 'The Kid's Guide to Divorce'.

'A remarkable debut by an original and gifted writer. Lorrie Moore's wry, poetic stories of love and loss make me want to laugh and cry at the same time.' Alison Lurie

Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Faber and Faber; New edition edition (2 Nov 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571145345
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571145348
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 198,890 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Lorrie Moore is the award-winning author of the story collections Self-Help, Like Life, and Birds of America, and the novels Anagrams and Who will Run the Frog Hospital? She currently teaches English at the University of Wisconsin in Madison

Product Description


" A wry, crackly voice. . . . Fine, funny, and very moving pictures of contemporary life [from] a writer of enormous talent." -- "The New York Times" " Brisk, ironic . . . scalpel-sharp. . . . A funny, cohesive, and moving collection of stories." -- "The New York Times Book Review" " Astonishing. . . . Moore is so good at trapping each moment in perfect, precise detail, so masterful at cynicism and wryness that her moments of poignancy and sweetness catch us completely off guard." -- "San Francisco Chronicle" " Sharp, flicking, on-target . . . the work of a sorcerer' s apprentice. Moore casts a cruel, mischievous spell." -- "Vanity Fair" " Trenchant, funny tales. . . . Moore is much more than another chronicler of the chronically out-of-sync relations between American men and women. She writes with urgency and pace." -- "People"

About the Author

Lorrie Moore is the award-winning author of the story collections Self-Help, Like Life, and Birds of America, and the novels Anagrams and Who will Run the Frog Hospital? She currently teaches English at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars laugh til you cry 15 May 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
this really tells it is like it is - a wonderful assortment of short stories that make you grateful for being able to read. Moore's first hand present tense accounts of a variety of different relationships in different states of distress will make you laugh and cry and nod with agreement.
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Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars  46 reviews
58 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best modern writers around 9 Mar 2002
By Catherine S. Vodrey - Published on Amazon.com
Lorrie Moore has long been a favorite writer of mine. Her short fiction, which has appeared regularly in THE NEW YORKER and elsewhere, is unbeatable. Her humor is sharp, her descriptive powers awesome, and her stories (almost) always feel as though they actually go somewhere.
One of the best pieces in "Self-Help" is probably the first Lorrie Moore piece I ever read. "Self-Help" was published the year I graduated from college, and I think a college friend gave me a copy of "How to Become a Writer." Note the "become" instead of "be." Moore acknowledges the process involved in writing and lets her readers know that writers are not sprung fully-formed from the head of Zeus or anyone else. Listen to this beautifully assured, resonant, yet hilarious passage from "How to Become a Writer":
"First, try to be something, anything, else. A movie star/astronaut. A movie star/missionary. A movie star/kindergarten teacher. President of the World. Fail miserably. It is best if you fail at an early age--say, fourteen. Early, critical disillusionment is necessary so that at fifteen you can write long haiku sequences about thwarted desire. It is a pond, a cherry blossom, a wind brushing against sparrow wing leaving for mountain. Count the syllables. Show it to your mom. She is tough and practical. She has a son in Vietnam and a husband who may be having an affair. She believes in wearing brown because it hides spots. She'll look briefly at your writing, then back up at you with a face blank as a doughnut. She'll say: 'How about emptying the dishwasher?' Look away. Shove the forks in the fork drawer. Acccidentally break one of the freebie gas station glasses. This is the required pain and suffering. This is only for starters."
Moore likes to do that--throw in references like Vietnam, then spin things around a little so that it comes out funny. One of my favorite Lorrie Moore bits had to do with a woman who said something awful before she could stop herself--Moore described the blurted insult as being "a lizard with a hat on." Wacko as that sounds, you still know exactly what she means. That is her great gift--she makes life sound wacko and off-kilter, but you completely, utterly GET IT anyway.
23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Moore wears a funny heart on her sleeve 8 Jan 2000
By Wes Saylors Jr. - Published on Amazon.com
I want to be loved like Lorrie Moore loves a man. Her characters say some hilarious things, but if you pay really close attention to how they feel (the way Ms Moore writes about how they feel), you'll find some of the most passionate writing going. When a Moore character falls in love, they're not fooling around (though they may be, in fact, fooling around in an extramarrital way). They mean it. And it is this passion, combined with an almost hyperintelligent wit, that makes Self-Help the terrific reading experience it is. I'm a Moore junkie ... and this book is where it all started.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lorrie Moore has helped me love women more 2 Sep 1999
By brian.radigan@yale.edu - Published on Amazon.com
How's that for a self-help book. Moore's prose is brilliant; her style, unrefined and beautiful. I like this collection because it has the edge too much editing can kill. Read this book.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an amazing debut 29 Mar 1999
By kim (riothag@juno.com) - Published on Amazon.com
For me, Lorrie Moore's short stories have always been the literary equivalant of Kristin Hersh's songs. Both of these profoundly gifted women create chilling, personal revelations that give me goosebumps. Both explore the strange and sad parts of life that keep us awake at night, staring at the ceiling and thinking "why?" And both make me want to stop writing because I will never even approach their genius. Lorrie's peculiar style of telling a story backwards is especially endearing in this debut collection of faux "advice" stories, in which she mocks the genre of self-help. Absolutely not to be missed.
p.s. Please *ignore* the review below from TGA@BIGPOND.COM.KH, as it is actually referring to Lorrie's most recent book, Birds of America (the "sick baby" story is "People Like That are the Only People Here.")
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars True Talent 26 Oct 2005
By Stella - Published on Amazon.com
Basically.....read anything by Lorrie Moore, you won't be disappointed (unless of course The Nanny Diaries was one of your favorite books).
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