Bird by Bird is a collected reflection on the writing process. Author Anne Lamott begins with a vignette on the origin of the writer within, then discusses writing styles while adeptly weaving in examples, writing in different instances as a child, for a child, and as an adult reflecting on childhood so her students, er, readers experience the affects of character and narrator on a story. One can appreciate the candor with which the author reveals the realities of a writer's life (although it seems more specific, perhaps a middle-class, sufficiently connected writer's life): the bumps, trips, jealousy, depressions and near breakthroughs and almost made its and little acclaim for all that effort. Though the book attempts to defy categorization, this writer has labeled it a narrative lesson plan for a writer’s workshop with real life illustrations. Perhaps Lamott is a sweet but determined gangsta issuing a thinly veiled warning to aspiring writers that this is tough work and her turf. Maybe she's a writer with a deadline and a drawer full of notes (on writing?) jotted on index cards that, with her insistence, arranged themselves into this book. Peruse the collection and draw your own conclusions.