Probing into a timeless array of chaos and personal tragedy, Lamott manages to tie the story together with a mixture of personal experiences and documented historical references creating an almost nostalgic, dreamy tone. As Naddy Goodman, the narrator and main character of the saga is introduced, she is undergoing a series of hypnosis sessions which reveal many painful childhood memories. While none too extreme, the sheer simplicity of her emotional problems is ironic.
After a lifetime of longing for emotional and physical acceptance from others, she has come full-circle to the realization that she must first accept and love herself. I especially enjoyed the way the author expresses her feelings about the breakdown of morals in society. This, to me, was best exemplified when the neighborhood fathers, including Naddy’s, decided the world held more fascinating things for them than they could find within the boundaries of their own, settled lives. Before this time it was almost unheard of for a father to leave his family because he was “tired of it.” Lamott clearly and loudly states the meaning of her book in the title, All New People. This book was written for anyone who has ever looked back on his or her life with regret.
Whether a pessimist or an optimist, “In a hundred years? -All new people.”