A Feature Review of
Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son’s First Son.
Reviewed by Heather Grady.
A portion of this review is included in our current print issue.
(Which is in the mail to subscribers now! Are you a subscriber? )
[ Watch a video of Anne talking about this book…]
I began to write this review halfway through listening to the audiobook version of Some Assembly Required as I traveled back from a trip to North Carolina. I was pondering the adjectives I could insert to describe the ever profound, yet laughable tales of Anne Lamott. I had waited anxiously for this follow up to Operating Instructions – her journal of her son’s first year. What a joy it had been to come to know the crazy cast of true life characters that made Anne and Sam’s “family” of blood and choice. The vivid illustrations of her first time mothering mistakes were engaging and endearing. How could this book disappoint with Sam, Anne’s son, that baby I fell for in Operating Instructions, co-authoring? Yet, even with the treat of Sam and Anne narrating the audiobook, it did.
The first half of the book lived up to my high expectations. Anne writes from a place of division – devastation and worry about her so young son and his girlfriend Amy (they were 19 and 20 respectively) and their impending parenthood; and her enthusiasm at the notion of becoming a grandmother while wishing the timing were ten years later. She narrates so well the birth of Jax around whom a makeshift family–including Amy and her parents who would visit from North Carolina – is created. How as Jax enters the world, Anne falls for Amy and after he appears, Sam falls for Jax and of course, the grandparents fall for “the loveliest baby boy.” Anne describes meeting Jax: “I felt as though I was seeing a river gorge, from way up on high on a bridge, silenced by the vastness of his tiny face, the depth of his brown-black eyes.”