Saturday, December 11, 2010

Amy Inspired by Bethany Pierce

I picked up Amy Inspired by Bethany Pierce,  impressed by its beautiful cover, and anticipating a great read because the protag, Amy Gallagher, is a writer. I am a writer. I could relate. And relate I did, but not often enough. 

Try as I might, I had difficulty getting into the book and staying there. I’ve seen other reviews on this book where the reviewer said he/she didn’t know how to review the book. And I concur. There were moments I really enjoyed what I was reading and times when I struggled to get to the end of a chapter.

Amy, who is the one and only POV character in this first person tale, teaches English at a small Ohio college and is a struggler. She struggles with her fundamental Christian upbringing which leads to struggling when she doesn’t feel comfortable not ordering a beer in a tavern despite the fact she doesn’t  drink beer. She then struggles when she doesn’t have the courage to ask a visitor to not smoke in her own apartment. And she struggles when she and her platonic live-in male roommate, Eli, and she share a mattress one night without doing anything but sleep. The next day she berates herself for what she did, despite what they didn’t do, and carries the guilt over the bad decision for quite a while. Some readers will likely squirm at this scene, but I think what happened after that night was more effective than if Amy had stopped it before it happened. Pierce effectively used this to show consequences for doing something that is against God's moral code despite the fact that in the world's point of view, it would be much ado about nothing.

I think this entire story would have read better if it were tightened. Copious sections are taken up with excerpts from her students’ essays and short stories. I found it difficult to justify so much of this as there seemed to be no purpose to their being there. They did not move the plot along, nor did they do anything to deepen Amy’s characterization.

Having said all that, there are moments of humor that made me chuckle and smile. The reviews on line include quite a few who thoroughly enjoyed it and gave it a high score. Check it out and decide for yourself!

Note: I received this Book from Bethany House Publishers for purposes of review. The opinion expressed is strictly my own. I was not asked to give only a favorable review.

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