May 7, 2024 -She is in a “hotel-motel” in Ypsilanti, Michigan, halfway through a cross-country book tour, flaunting sparkly pink nails. The manicure was part of a coping strategy initiated in response to a bad review – “seriously the worst review” of her life, said Lamott. 

 No matter that Somehow: Thoughts on Love, her 20th book, is cresting the New York Times’ bestseller list – a dig by a prominent critic can still capsize her day.

But this is Anne Lamott, known for her preternatural ability to uncover grace in all her trials, from the trivial to the existentially unmooring. Lamott has found Christ-like qualities in a colicky baby, self-love in the abyss of addiction, and even ways to shepherd her own neuroses when they arrive at the writing desk like damaged relatives “with their weird coppery breath”.

In this latest book, which reads as a collection of parables, themes of love and grace are often interchangeable. Lamott recalls, for instance, a friend who found a small frog in the shower, which she picked up and carried to its rightful place in the grass outside. The frog, panicking en route to safety, was insensible to the murmured comforts of its carrier. “I think this is one of the best examples of how love operates when we are most afraid and doomed,” writes Lamott, “carrying us to a safer place while we pound against cupped hands.”