All New People
Written by: Anne Lamott
Read by: Karissa Vacker
6 Hours and 21 Minutes
Penguin Random House Audio | Imprint: Penguin Audio
Genre: Fiction –
Literary Release Date: January 22, 2019
I voluntarily reviewed an advance readers copy of this book. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
With generosity, humor, and pathos, Anne Lamott takes on the barrage of dislocating changes that shook the Sixties. Leading us through the wake of these changes is Nanny Goodman, a girl living in Marin County, California. A half-adult child among often childish adults, Nanny grows up with two spectacularly odd parents: a writer father and a mother who is a constant source of material. As she moves into her adolescence, so, it seems, does America. While grappling with her own coming-of-age, Nanny witnesses an entire culture’s descent into drugs, the mass exodus of fathers from her town, and rapid real-estate and technological development that foreshadow a drastically different future. In All New People, Anne Lamott works a special magic, transforming failure into forgiveness and illuminating the power of love to redeem us. https://www.penguinrandomhouseaudio.com/book/97394/all-new-people/
A fictive memoir told partly in sketches during hypnosis, I just didn’t get how it made a novel. Is it that she comes to a peace, of sorts, with her childhood? The author is a little too preoccupied with the size of Nanny’s mother’s nostril of all things. The story progresses through a tale of her uncle’s marriage, her own search to belong to a group in adolescence to the point that she makes unsavory friends, the sexual revolution causing marital upheaval in her parent’s set in California. There’s some religion, but it’s not proselytizing, more the charafcter’s mother’s experience. I guess it is similar to how we recall our childhood and adolescence.
But it’s a floating narrative and it failed to tread water with me. I got through it, and tried to do a second listen. But I could not. I also had to skip several minutes when a pet had a tragic incident and I opted to skip over it. It’s not that the pet was abused or mistreated — I just can’t handle scenes like that (of course, I don’t know what happened in the part I skipped). Maybe the key the whole book was in those 10 minutes and I missed it. Maybe.
The narration is fine, Vacker can sound like I would imagine a drifty-dreamy, sometimes poor, 1960s-1970s California girl from Marin County.
Maybe it’s me and I just wasn’t deep enough to appreciate it. I Maybe it was those tn minutes I skipped. It’s a contemporary classic being reissued in audio, so it is entirely possible your experience will be better than mine was.
AUTHOR on FB: https://www.facebook.com/AnneLamott/