Mini Review: Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

I decided to read Bird by Bird because I saw it heralded as the book for writers by more than one person, so I knew I just had to pick it up. And with this in mind I decided to read it right before I started on my NaNoWriMo adventure, and never got around to reviewing it after I read it. At first I thought I wouldn’t review it, but then I thought I should share my thoughts since they’re not what you would typically hear about this book.

Bird_by_Bird_LRFirst off I will say that overall, I did like this book, am glad I read it, and felt like I did learn from it. But what I would also have to say that for me personally, it’s not the book on writing.

Maybe it would have seemed much more revolutionary if I had not heard other people recycle Anne’s advice as their own. Everywhere I look people are telling me my first draft is going to be crappy. Which I do need to be reminded of! But regardless of what I have heard of it before, much of it did resonate with me…


bird-by-bird-tweet1And this was especially true in the beginning of the book. But I think somewhere, maybe at the halfway point, I was over the sentimental antidotes (which again, I DID LIKE) and ready for some more practical advice. A writing book that I read last year that has really helped me is simply called Plot and Structure, and while it’s not nearly as witty or inspirational, it’s extremely practical and helped me a lot when I was suffering through serious structure problems with a story I was working on. So for me, Bird by Bird has its place for writing advice and helped me in some small ways, but it was more like a cheerleader, and less like the coach I was hoping for. Overall it’s a 3 out of 5 star book for me. I’ll probably read the first few chapters again, but I’m not sure if I’ll ever reread the whole thing.


If you’ve read Bird by Bird, what were your thoughts? Or if you haven’t, can you relate to feeling a book was good but didn’t meet quite the expectations you expected? 

2 thoughts on “Mini Review: Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

  1. This is an interesting take on this book.
    I love Bird By Bird and have read it several times, but I view it more as a book that inspires me to write, rather than a book on how to write. Have you read Stephen King’s memoir/book on writing called (oddly enough) On Writing? I don’t read his novels, but I really enjoyed this book and feel it does contain some practical advice.

    • No but that is one I have thought I might want to read. I’ll be sure to look into it! Obviously I was expecting something else for this book, and it is great for cheer-leading purposes.

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