• Imperfect Birds

  • A Novel
  • By: Anne Lamott
  • Narrated by: Susan Denaker
  • Length: 11 hrs and 22 mins
  • 3.4 out of 5 stars (125 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A powerful and redemptive novel of love and family, from the author of the best-selling Blue Shoe, Grace (Eventually), and Operating Instructions.

Rosie Ferguson is 17 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.

©2010 Anne Lamott (P)2010 Penguin

What listeners say about Imperfect Birds

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Imperfect birds not quite perfect but good.

If they had had 3.5 stars I would have given the book that rating.

Imperfect birds came along right at the same time I was dealing with the same issue w/ my 26 year-old step-daughter so I was very well able to relate to it.

At the beginning of the book I felt lost. The story didn't seem to move forward - just focus on past events every two minutes. I literally felt like the book took one step forward, 2 steps back for the first couple of chapters. Additionally, and maybe I'm naive, but they already knew some of the drugs she was taking and the promiscuity and excused it! At the beginning I thought, "Well what is the story about - they already know exactly what she's doing." But it does actually get worse.


When the story did finally start moving, I found that James is the only character I liked. The girl's sense of entitlement infuriated me as did the mother's total denial of the situation. As the pattern of behavior I've experienced is the same, it is probably true to life.

It is an interesting book and a scary commentary on parents and teens today. Although I felt like it dragged in places, overall, i enjoyed it.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A poignant and well crafted rendition of an intervention

This is another story of a dysfunctional family coping with addiction. Elizabeth is a recovering alcoholic, her husband James a struggling writer. Their daughter Rosie, a successful junior slides from casual experimentation with drugs to full-blown addiction. She quickly learns all the tricks: lame excuses, lies, and manipulations to fool her parents. Family life deteriorates rapidly but her parents remain clueless for months until they can't. This novel brings a sensitive and poetic perspective to a somewhat trite plot. Through the voices of Elizabeth and Rosie, the author brings depth and amusing or provoking insights to the difficult journey toward recovery. I enjoyed thoroughly the slow rhythm and detours of the narrative.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Nothing happens

I’m halfway through this book and nothing has happened. I love Anne Lamott so I do give her some leeway but this book is terrible.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Teen Substance Abuse

This is a realistic depiction of substance abuse in teens. It is well written and humorous.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Drag on, Drag On

The only reason I finished this "read" is that I had spent credits for it. The story drags on with too much detail and then ends abruptly.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Couldn't even get into it....

I was three hours into it and it was going no where so just had to stop! Weird mother daughter relationship and I just could not see it going any where interesting..

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

This is probably the worst book I have read

I gaveit on star because I couldn't figure out how to give it -5!!!! This is probably the worst book I have read in 20 years. The writing is shallow and the topic of contemporary teenage issues was apparently very poorly researched thus presented in the story. Seems like the writer just wanted to write for shock value. The book is a waste of time, money, and effort.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Very slow

Did not enjoy this at all - had to stop 3/4 of the way as it was dragging on.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Disappointing

The story was all too predictable. Not sure what the message was besides don't believe everything your child tells you.