Opinion | Sexuality

Review: Anne Lamott's 'Imperfect Birds'

Flawed characters make this book stand out.

Anne Lamott's seventh novel features alcoholism, drug addiction, and family dysfunction. This will not surprise Lamott's fans. Her characters—including herself in her five nonfiction books—are always "imperfect birds," and some are clearly on the endangered list. Most are also sensitive, funny, intelligent, and frightened by the messes they keep getting themselves into. That's why we love them, and their author, so much.

Imperfect Birds (Riverhead), released today, continues the story of Elizabeth and Rosie Ferguson that began in Rosie (1983) and Crooked Little Heart (1997). You don't have to have read the first two books to understand the third, though a little background can't hurt. Elizabeth is the alcoholic daughter of two alcoholics. Her husband died in a car crash when their daughter, Rosie, was four. A couple of years later, Elizabeth meets James, an alcoholic would-be novelist. Eventually they marry and begin going to AA meetings. By the time Rosie is 9 or 10, her mother ...

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