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Lamott’s father is a central inspiration in Lamott’s novel Hard Laughter.
In Bird by Bird, Lamott depicts him as a central
figure in her life, although she focuses more on the effect of his
writing rather than on her father himself. In fact, she does not
reveal his name, or the kind of books he wrote. She does portray
him as a free thinker with a bohemian circle of friends. Lamott
remembers his friends staying for dinner and drinking too much when
she was a child. She also emphasizes her father’s discipline. He
woke up at the same time each day—a practice that Lamott herself
advocates—and began writing promptly after breakfast. His writing
was often controversial; for example, he wrote a disparaging essay
about Lamott’s hometown. Lamott is alternately thrilled and embarrassed
by her father’s career as a writer, and her father is a steadfast
supporter of hers. He encourages her to write a novel about his
illness in the same way he encouraged her to go to the library every
week to read.
Ace your assignments with our guide to Bird by Bird!