Monday, November 15, 2010

Amy Inspired by Bethany Pierce

Rating: 4 stars

Amy Inspired tells the fictional story of aspiring writer, Amy Gallagher, but it is a journey of self-revelation and inspiration for both Amy and the reader.  Told in first-person, the reader experiences Amy's emotions as she approaches thirty, works as an adjunct faculty member in a college English department, and faces rejections from publishers.  With a brother planning his upcoming marriage and a friend anticipating the birth of her first child, Amy feels anything but inspired.  In fact, she begins to question her ideals and faith.  When Zoe, her quirky roommate and aspiring writer, invites a friend to stay at their apartment on a "temporary" basis, Amy meets Eli.  Despite their differences, Amy finds herself drawn to Eli, and she struggles to maintain only a friendship with him.  During the months that follow his arrival,  Amy, Zoe, and Eli cope with the relationships and family events that continue to shape their lives.  Through these obstacles, Amy questions herself and God, while seeking wisdom, direction, and inspiration in her life.

As I read Amy Inspired, I was impressed by the story's depth and opportunities for discussion.   The discussion questions at the conclusion of the book offer insightful questions that can be applied to each of our lives.  Because this story is told in first person by an aspiring writer, I am also amazed by the novel's many layers.  Like Amy, I feel that the author's own experiences play a significant role in the story.  As a reader, we see into Amy's soul, but also a bit of Pierce's.  Since Pierce is a young author who worked as an instructor at a university, perhaps Amy Inspired is a bit autobiographical as well.  It appears to be a masterfully told story within a story, in which we can peel away its rich layers.  Ultimately,  Amy Inspired has the ability to inspire its readers. 

While reading Amy Inspired, I found that I could relate to Amy's doubts and struggles.  The novel is not a light read that allows the reader to escape reality.  Instead, it encouraged me to apply some of Amy's lessons to my own life.  The ability to inspire is one sign of a true work of art, and Amy Inspired possesses that trait.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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