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…

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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.

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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? 

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