Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott is a book focusing on the craft of writing, how to approach writing, and some nuggets of wisdom gathered in her career. Lamott provides some of the tools that she uses and reassures the reader that writing is an arduous but rewarding process. I thought her anecdote about her brother’s bird project was poignant and compelling, when her father told him to complete the project bird by bird. As with other craft books I’ve read recently (On Writing by Stephen King), one of the tenets that keeps coming up is to tell the truth and be truthful to the reader, the characters, and the story. And as I am beginning in my writing career, I will hold this close to me because if the emotions and moments aren’t true, then why even write them in the first place? Other practical pieces of advice discuss being okay with imperfect prose, to gather in writing groups, and to break the writing into easier to complete portions. The writing is beautiful with moments of Lamott’s life sprinkled in throughout to give context and support to her advice. I liked the breadth and depth is goes into on being a writer, though its advice didn’t seem particularly different than other craft books I’ve read. Lamott does discuss writing in a unique way, and overall, I enjoyed its tenderness, love, and dedication to the craft.
Final Rating: 4/5
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Maxwell Suzuki is a writer, poet, and photographer based in Los Angeles.