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Extended Audio Sample Imperfect Birds: A Novel Audiobook, by Anne Lamott Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (3,492 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Anne Lamott Narrator: Susan Denaker Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 2010 ISBN: 9781101154847
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A powerful and redemptive novel of love and family, from the author of the bestselling Blue Shoe, Grace (Eventually), and Operating Instructions.


Rosie Ferguson is seventeen and ready to enjoy the summer before her senior year of high school. She's intelligent—she aced AP physics; athletic—a former state-ranked tennis doubles champion; and beautiful. She is, in short, everything her mother, Elizabeth, hoped she could be. 

The family's move to Landsdale, with stepfather James in tow, hadn't been as bumpy as Elizabeth feared. But as the school year draws to a close, there are disturbing signs that the life Rosie claims to be leading is a sham, and that Elizabeth's hopes for her daughter to remain immune from the pull of the darker impulses of drugs and alcohol are dashed. Slowly and against their will, Elizabeth and James are forced to confront the fact that Rosie has been lying to them-and that her deceptions will have profound consequences.This is Anne Lamott’s most honest and heartrending novel yet, exploring our human quest for connection and salvation as it reveals the traps that can befall all of us.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Heartbreaking and delightful, moving and hopeful, Imperfect Birds reminds us how our children are connected to and independent of us, and that no matter how difficult our struggle is with them, love underlies it all and saves us. This novel captures the deepest, purest, most terrifying experience of parents fearing for their children. With great insight and humor, Anne Lamott shows us what it means these dangerous days to be a parent, what it means to be a child, and what it means to be a family. David Sheff, author of Beautiful Boy
  • This is a hell of a book, tough and wonderful. A heartbreak and a heart- mender. Martin Cruz Smith, author of Gorky Park and The Golden Mile

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Zoe Jussel | 2/12/2014

    " I wish she could write a book a month. This was really good insight into raising a teenager in today's environment. All good people with a "what can we do next" problem. I think this book would give a lot of parents and adults a vision of teen life they don't want to acknowledge. None of us do. A book about trust, denial, love and results. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Heather Friedman | 1/26/2014

    " I was not as hooked as Bird By Bird, but a good family portrait and included everything I fear about teenagers. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Evon | 1/9/2014

    " A coming of age story for a daughter and mother through their different addictions. Heartbreaking at times, scary, but endearing. It is a good read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sukey | 1/6/2014

    " Anne Lamott again slides the hard stuff in via captivating and accessible text. 'Imperfect Birds' poignantly presents teenage deception and drugs and 'the great big bloody battle of love and sorrow that is parenthood' (Julie Myerson). Lamott's own journey with drugs and addiction lends credence and raw viability to this story of a family in desperate denial. Desperation and love. Lamott stretches this loop to the breaking point, then relaxes it with hard-love concrete redemption. As always, Lamott's humor makes the medicine go down. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mariko | 1/2/2014

    " another great fiction. heartbreaking and inevitable ache in this story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Louisa Morris | 12/17/2013

    " Great read. Couldn't put it down. I hope hope hope my 10 year old doesn't grow up to be like Rosie. Rosie is a parent's worst nightmare. Anne Lamott delivers again and again... she is a great writer. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 KG | 11/11/2013

    " I cant seem to get into it. I give up. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Lisa B. | 10/20/2013

    " I was disappointed with this book. I didn't even finish it. This is the follow up to Crooked Little Heart, and it just did not grab me. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Momruns5 | 10/20/2013

    " Hope I never have to deal with a child who is addicted to drugs. Are people this full of angst though. This family needs to focus outside their family. And the mom needs to find a hobby, a job, something. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Betty | 10/17/2013

    " I had a hard time getting into the book, but by the end I couldn't put it down. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Zibby | 10/11/2013

    " this is the sequel to a book a read a few months back called "Rosie". Not as funny but still pretty entertaining - and a little heartbreaking. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Karen | 9/10/2013

    " This was not a fun read, learning about the troubles of so many young people with drug use problems. It served to make me even more grateful that I never (not once) tried any drugs. God help them all. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rebecca | 8/14/2013

    " I liked this story more than I thought I would, although the end was cheesy and the overall California-ness of it all was a little much (although I have family in Marin, so I can see how the setting was pretty realistic). Pretty scary how so many teens get into and addicted to drugs. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sue | 4/24/2013

    " This is a very disturbing book for anyone that is raising a teenager at this time. There is some very lovely prose but the premise will keep parents up at night. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mari Olsen | 11/18/2012

    " It was Lamott, so I read it, but I'm not a writer, so it wasn't compelling. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer Stofflet | 10/20/2012

    " I like Anne's non-fiction better than her fiction... "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Lolly LKH | 10/17/2012

    " I just couldn't get into this book. I didn't like any of the characters at all. I see where she was going, but it just didn't get to the heart of things for me. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Teresa Ingram Basye | 5/8/2012

    " After reading this book, I decided my mother had it easy with me as a teen. Urgh. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kendra | 11/25/2011

    " From beginning to end this was an awkward disappointment as I'm a Lamott fan. Bummer. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sarah Coe | 11/18/2011

    " I like Anne Lamott's writing, but this book's subject, teenager drug abuse, was hard. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Deb | 8/30/2011

    " I almost disliked the book. The story was something like a bad car accident you don't really want to see but can't stop looking at. I felt invested enough to find out what happened but midly peeved throughout. I didn't dislike the writer's style so I would read something by her again. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dana | 6/15/2011

    " I loved this book! Reminded me of many things I went through as a teenager, but Rosie has two parents who love her very much and most importantly PAY ATTENTION to what she is doing. I highly recommend this book. :) "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Karin | 6/4/2011

    " It was average. Nothing to get too excited about. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kelly | 6/4/2011

    " So many little truths about family life! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elizabeth | 5/25/2011

    " Not my favorite Anne Lamott book, but not because it isn't great writing. It IS great writing. And it's a gripping, heart-wrenching story. But it felt like she just quit at the end instead of actually finishing. Perhaps it's part of a series? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Karma | 5/23/2011

    " A good read, but thin. Some Lamott gems in the prose, but I did not connect to the mother and just wanted to scream at the daughter for most of the story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Irene | 5/21/2011

    " Fabulous. Dealing with a teen? Real life. Vivid characters. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Heather | 5/19/2011

    " I was not as hooked as Bird By Bird, but a good family portrait and included everything I fear about teenagers. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Katie O | 5/17/2011

    " I enjoyed the writing and Ms. Lamott has a strong voice, but couldn't buy into the characters or the plot. "

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About the Author
Author Anne LamottAnne Lamott is the author of six novels including, Hard Laughter, Rosie, Joe Jones, All New People, and Crooked Little Heart, as well as three best-selling books of non-fiction, Operating Instructions,Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, and Traveling Mercies. Anne Lamott has been honored with a Guggenheim Fellowship, and she has taught at UC Davis, as well as at writing conferences across the country. Lamott's biweekly Salon Magazine online diary Word by Word was voted The Best of the Web by Time magazine. Filmmaker Freida Mock (who won an Academy Award for her documentary on Maya Lin) has made a documentary on Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird with Annie (1999). Her latest novel is The New York Times bestseller, Blue Shoe.
About the Narrator

Susan Denaker is an actress and Earphones Award–winning narrator. Her extensive theater credits include numerous plays in the West End of London, national tours, many English rep companies, including a season with Alan Ayckbourn’s company in Scarborough. In the US, she has appeared in Our Town and Sweet Bird of Youth at the La Jolla Playhouse and Breaking Legs at the Westport Playhouse.