Christian Themes

(Literary Essentials: Christian Fiction and Nonfiction)

Lamott’s most powerful messages include the strength of God’s love for all people, forgiveness, and miracles. She describes her own flaws unflinchingly; she feels God loved her even when she was an addict living on a houseboat and recovering badly from her abortion. She describes a priest friend’s coming to Christ as feeling like an unwanted article at a pawnshop who is, unexpectedly, given a reprieve because Jesus agrees to take his place on the shelf. She comes to faith herself only after experimenting with several religions, which leaves her with a powerful respect for wisdom from a variety of sources.

Particularly in her emergence from addiction and bulimia, she relies on outside guidance. A priest helps her begin dealing with her alcoholism and drug addictions, and a therapist assists her in finding ways to cope with bulimia. When she becomes pregnant a second time (with Sam), a minister tells her to listen to the quiet parts of her soul when deciding whether or not to have an abortion. This guidance carries her through other crises, and she even makes a “help” box, where she puts the problems she is turning over to God and letting go of herself.

Without preaching to her audience, Lamott suggests that she could never have emerged from her addictions, from her bulimia, or from her lost childhood without God’s love, even if she did not know it at the time and even if she could not know who his agents would be. She repeatedly...

(The entire section is 431 words.)