As mentioned in the Introduction section of our review, Lamott’s tone throughout Bird by Bird is comedic and conversational rather than formal. This and her reliance on anecdotes gives her credibility in her position as well as a non-intimidating approach to teaching writing.
One reason many may be hesitant to begin this book is the perception that it is a Christian text. We believe that this should not interfere with the potential opportunity as a writer to gain some of Lamott’s brilliant insights gathered from years as a professional writer. While the author herself does not deny her own faith for the sake of this text, she does not promote it to unwilling parties. Some members of our own group shared this same skeptical attitude at first. However, the “Christian” aspects of this book remain in the context of her own belief. She writes about God being something that is important to her, but that is not the bulk of the text. We believe it is not a sole reason for reading this book; nor should it be one to avoid this book.
Another element of this book that may cause some disconnect is that Lamott is a mother and does not shy away from comparing writing to raising a child. None of the members of our group are parents, but we felt that this did not affect our ability to connect to the text or understand its message.
Overall, we encourage creative, academic and all writers to read Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life.