Imperfect Birds by Anne Lamott
A Novel

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A powerful and redemptive novel of love and family, from the author of the bestselling Blue Shoe, Grace (Eventually), and Operating Instructions.

Rosie Ferguson is seventeen and ready to enjoy the summer before her senior year of high school. She's intelligent-she aced AP physics; athletic-a former state-ranked tennis doubles champion; and beautiful. She is, in short, everything her mother, Elizabeth, hoped she could be. The family's move to Landsdale, with stepfather James in tow, hadn't been as bumpy as Elizabeth feared.

But as the school year draws to a close, there are disturbing signs that the life Rosie claims to be leading is a sham, and that Elizabeth's hopes for her daughter to remain immune from the pull of the darker impulses of drugs and alcohol are dashed. Slowly and against their will, Elizabeth and James are forced to confront the fact that Rosie has been lying to them-and that her deceptions will have profound consequences.

This is Anne Lamott's most honest and heartrending novel yet, exploring our human quest for connection and salvation as it reveals the traps that can befall all of us.

About Anne Lamott

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ANNE LAMOTT is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Grace (Eventually), Plan B, Traveling Mercies, and Operating Instructions, as well as seven novels, including Rosie and Crooked Little Heart. A past recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, she lives in northern California.
Published April 6, 2010 by Riverhead Books. 290 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Imperfect Birds

Kirkus Reviews

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Lamott, best known for nonfiction, including popular books on writing (Bird by Bird, 1994) and spirituality (Traveling Mercies, 1999), returns to the novel with a sequel of sorts to one of her earliest and best, Rosie (1983).

Sep 22 2010 | Read Full Review of Imperfect Birds: A Novel

The New York Times

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A powerful and painfully honest novel about the corrosive deceptions of a girl’s drug addiction.

Apr 18 2010 | Read Full Review of Imperfect Birds: A Novel


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Anne Lamott's seventh novel, about precocious Rosie Ferguson, follows the rebellious girl into her senior year of high school, in which Rosie battles her dysfunctional parents and a powerful drug addiction.

Apr 07 2010 | Read Full Review of Imperfect Birds: A Novel

Entertainment Weekly

(Finding pills in her daughter's jeans, she thinks, ''Maybe there was a reasonable explanation.'') Still, anyone looking for a novel about fractured family and addiction would do better to pick up Roxana Robinson's Cost.

Mar 31 2010 | Read Full Review of Imperfect Birds: A Novel

Christian Science Monitor

Anne Lamott’s latest reconvenes the characters of two earlier novels in a story of middle-class drug and alcohol abuse.

Apr 15 2010 | Read Full Review of Imperfect Birds: A Novel

Dallas News

Anne Lamott is mostly known as a best-selling writer of nonfiction, from Bird by Bird - on just about every writer's must-read-yearly shelf - to her lovely memoirs of everyday faith, the most recent being 2008's Grace (Eventually).

Apr 11 2010 | Read Full Review of Imperfect Birds: A Novel

Elizabeth and Rosie, whose earlier lives were central to her books Rosie and Cooked Little Heart, return here as a mother continuing to fight for her sobriety and a teenage daughter who masterfully deceives her parents-and herself-as she cycles through the process of drug abuse, addiction, and re...

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Bookmarks Magazine

Anne Lamott, best known both for her books on writing and for her New Agey, spiritual reflections on faith, is the author of Operating Instructions (1993), Bird by Bird (1994), Traveling Mercies (1999), Plan B ( 4 of 5 Stars Selection May/June 2005), and Grace (Eventually) ( 4 of 5 Stars May/June...

Apr 05 2010 | Read Full Review of Imperfect Birds: A Novel

Chicago Tribune

Elizabeth thinks of jumping overboard while on a ferry to San Francisco — in fact, had always wanted to jump from somewhere, “and be done.” The reflection from her inner mirror is of “a life wasted in a ping-pong game of narcissism versus self-loathing, punctuated by sloth and depression.” L...

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Buried Under Books

Still, place became a likable character in this book, as real as the human characters Lamott crafted from her own experiences of struggle and recovery.

Sep 22 2011 | Read Full Review of Imperfect Birds: A Novel

The Miami Herald

On bad days, she felt like a prisoner at the Level 1 Reception Area in Pelican Bay, marking off days on the prison wall until Rosie's graduation.'' All pretty standard stuff, but Rosie's drug use isn't the casual experimentation she claims, and as the summer wears on, the lies grow.

Apr 02 2010 | Read Full Review of Imperfect Birds: A Novel

Christianity Today

Most of all, if Elizabeth lays down the law, she might lose Rosie's affection, those fleeting moments of mother-daughter bonding for which Elizabeth lives.

Apr 06 2010 | Read Full Review of Imperfect Birds: A Novel

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