Anne Lamott is a breath of fresh air.
Whether she's writing nonfiction or fiction, she always seems to be writing Truth. It's not the Truth of the daily news or some ponderous philosophy. It's just Real Life, but real life with a fabulous sense of humor and an appreciation for life's little ironies.
It's also real life told with honesty, which is not always the same thing as Truth.
BLUE SHOE, Lamott's latest novel, is another paradigm of honesty. In nonfiction such as TRAVELING MERCIES and OPERATING INSTRUCTIONS, Anne Lamott is completely open about herself and her all-too-human struggles, so it's not surprising that Mattie, the main character here, shares the author's own predilection for candor --- even when it shows her in a glaringly bad light.
A perfect size-12 model for Sears, Mattie is a divorced woman raising two young children. All three of them are trying to cope with the new reality that Nicky, Mattie's ex-husband and her still occasional lover, is remarrying a sweet young thing.
"Mattie hated the idea that her kids would wake up with Nicky and Lee, when the children were at their sleepiest and sweetest, unarmored and snuggly. She prayed, but it was hopeless. When she wasn't in bed with him --- and sometimes when she was --- she wished Nicky would die, badly. Cancer, murder, even --- right after he had left late one night --- Lou Gehrig's disease. She buried her face in her hands at stoplights and prayed for healing, and then she'd imagine a torrid movie of Nicky and Lee in bed, screaming first in erotic joy, then in terror when Mattie appeared in their doorway to toss a rattlesnake at them."
This is what I really love about Anne Lamott. While most of us think about throwing a bucket of cold water, she's not afraid to have a character wonder out loud what it would be like to toss a rattlesnake onto the same steamy situation.
Another thing Anne Lamott is not afraid to discuss is God and faith. She doesn't beat the reader over the head with a stultifying Christian point of view; her characters just charmi