Reviews for Help, Thanks, Wow : The Three Essential Survival Prayers


Booklist Reviews 2012 November #2
Inspiriting, trenchant, and funny, best-selling Lamott takes an imaginative do-it-yourself approach to spirituality in her disarming and stirring essays. Unabashedly emotional yet practical and sharply attuned to the absurdities and tragedies of life, she focuses on prayer in this mighty little volume, defining it as "communication from the heart to that which surpasses understanding." If you are uncomfortable addressing God, Lamott suggests praying to "the Good." The point is to make contact with "the Real, with Truth, with the Light." To take a moment to focus and breathe. She cites three basic themes. Asking for help, she writes, "is the first great prayer." Giving thanks is essential, and not only when things are going well. One also benefits from summoning gratitude for hard truths and tough challenges. "Wow" is the joyful expression of wonder in response to astonishing moments great and small. With a stand-up comic's snap and pop, candid and righteous Lamott tells hilarious and wrenching tales about various predicaments that have sparked her prayers and inspired her to encourage others to pray anytime, anywhere, and any way. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

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BookPage Reviews 2012 December
Spiritual reading material

Whether interested in religious history or prayer, heaven or the Holy Land, readers will find in these four books a wealth of information and personal stories to enrich their own spiritual journeys.

Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers is a book for just about anyone who has felt compelled, at one point or another, to raise her eyes to the heavens and murmur some words to a Higher Power. Never one to get caught up in religious specifics, Anne Lamott offers a variety of hilarious titles by which her friends have referred to God, such as “Howard,” “Mother” and “H.P.” She celebrates the divine, and poetically explains why we frail humans are in such desperate need of it. Of the three essential prayers, help seems to be the one closest to Lamott’s heart. Fans of her previous books such as Bird by Bird will again enjoy candid conversation from a writer who feels like a friend.

While Lamott’s book may be characterized as a book about faith for doubters, Heaven Changes Everything by Todd and Sonja Burpo is a book about faith for believers—and a follow-up to the best-selling Heaven Is for Real, which related the story of their four-year-old son’s visit to heaven. Here the Burpos share more about Colton’s miraculous experience and what it’s been like for their family since making it public. Organized into 40 short, devotional-style readings that open with a quote from Colton and close with an action point, it is sure to please readers eager for the next chapter in the Burpos’ story.

In What Would Jesus Read?, Joe Amaral takes readers through the Scripture in the way Jesus might have read it: in short portions that combine a selection from the Torah (the first five books of the Christian Bible) and the prophets (a number of Old Testament books). Each week, Amaral assigns a portion of the Bible and offers daily insights on the reading. These insights are very brief, conversational and theologically non-denominational. As a Christian who lives in Israel and guides tour groups through the Holy Land, Amaral is in a unique position to help American readers understand the perspective of the Middle East and the traditions of the ancient Jewish world.

For readers interested in learning more about the world of Jesus, In the Footsteps of Jesus is another good place to begin. Published by National Geographic, this full-color and visually impressive book offers a more scholarly perspective on the world Jesus walked through and how we experience it today. The scope of the book—which combines political history, anthropological context, biography and an exploration of the contemporary Holy Land—is truly ambitious. Illustrations include photographs of artifacts, paintings, pull-out quotations and richly detailed maps. This worthy book could be read alongside the Gospels or could stand alone as a historical work.

Copyright 2012 BookPage Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2012 October #1
A refreshingly simple approach to spiritual practice in a pint-sized reflection on prayer. As the title of her book implies, Lamott (Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son's First Son, 2012, etc.) has taken an enormously complex and often debated topic and boiled it down to three basic elements that transcend doctrine or creed. Though in her previous books the author has been forthright about her Christianity, here she begins with a prelude that assures readers she's not even remotely interested in trying to tell them who or what God is; she's simply asking them to consider that there's a Divine Being willing to run the show. How is one to get that process going? Prayer. More specifically, Lamott touts the spiritual power in powerlessness, gratitude and wonder. The three sections of the book aren't solely about each one-word prayer; they're more a running conversation about their collective influence in her life. "Help" is a complete prayer, writes Lamott, and uttering it creates space for solutions that humans have neither thought of nor could pull off on their own. In what at first may seem like a jumbled mashup of stories and reflections, Lamott manages to deftly convey the idea that in trying to control things, we've largely lost our ability to see the good and the miraculous in everyday life. And those commodities go a long way, she writes, in terms of making a Divine connection that brings a measure of hope and peace. Though fans may be dismayed at the brevity of the book, there's more here than meets the eye. Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Library Journal Reviews 2013 February #1

The very popular Lamott (Bird by Bird) claims here that prayer boils down to the three exclamations of the title--it seems like a reductive claim, but Lamott, an unusually hip, demotic, urbane kind of Christian, is a naturally expansive and chatty writer. These blog-like reflections exhibit the author's usual fluency and charm. VERDICT A worthy successor to her prior works, this brief book will delight Lamott's regular readers, and likely draw new readers to her writing and to the ideas behind prayer.

[Page 56]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Library Journal Reviews Newsletter
The very popular Lamott (Bird by Bird ) claims here that prayer boils down to the three exclamations of the title--it seems like a reductive claim, but Lamott, an unusually hip, demotic, urbane kind of Christian, is a naturally expansive and chatty writer. These blog-like reflections exhibit the author's usual fluency and charm. ¬ VERDICT A worthy successor to her prior works, this brief book will delight Lamott's regular readers, and likely draw new readers to her writing and to the ideas behind prayer. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 October #2

Lamott lovers get an extra treat this year even though the popular writer has already birthed a memoir about grandparenting (Some Assembly Required). Her newest will be a stocking stuffer for fans. It's small and very focused on God, who is clearly brought forward from his (or her) usual background presence in Lamott's writings. Equal parts 12 Step meeting in the church basement and walks on the beach, it's a prayer manual for people who wouldn't be caught dead reading prayer manuals. As such it may surprise, a bit, some of Lamott's most secular readers. But it takes a very familiar voice in a newish direction, and may attract younger readers whose religious preference is more offbeat than orthodox. It reads like it needed longer gestation or one more rewrite to go from casual-casual to casual-polished, but anybody who gets it as a holiday gift will likely just say, "Thanks. Wow." (Nov. 13)

[Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC

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