Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Amy Inspired by Bethany Pierce

June 25, 2011 by  
Filed under Book Reviews, Books, Industry

Amy gave up her mundane job to go back to school, get her MFA, and become a published writer.

Except she’s not getting published, and she’s struggling with writer’s block. In another dead-end job and disillusionment, Amy worries that she won’t live the meaningful life she’s expected herself to. Cue twenty-something identity crisis.

Add to this: her disappointments in relationships.

Then in walks Eli, a man whose profuse artistic output astounds her and whose bohemian, vagabond ways confuse her. There’s also Amy’s roommate, Zoe, whose mother is dying of cancer. And who also can’t seem to stop writing while Amy types the prose of classic books in hopes of stumbling upon inspiration. Who wouldn’t be jealous of their success? Amy likes her lists and plans, but Eli and Zoe bring in some unscripted scenes to Amy’s life. They challenge some of Amy’s suppositions from her fundamentalist background, adding more uncertainty to her already precarious life.

Pierce writes with delicate prose. Reading Amy Inspired was like contemplating some of the difficulties of faith next to an idyllic brook. It lends peace and gentleness to the turmoil. She honestly deals with issues facing twenty- and thirty-sometimes, especially, and single men and women, namely how do we live out our faith in an increasingly secular world? How do we (or even, should we) remain sexually celibate in a culture where marriage is later in life than it was in biblical times? How do we live extraordinarily with ordinary lives? She deals with a generation coming to terms with their fundamentalists backgrounds as well as with their (often disappointed) hopes of living significantly.

Pierce also addresses questions regarding art, such as the nature of inspiration and the legitimacy of art that has not found its way into the public eye. Without a readership, can one be considered a writer? What is the relationship between art, the creator, and the audience? Wherein lies meaning?

Amy Inspired serves up a hearty meal for those willing to take the time to eat a many-course meal. As a Christian and an artist, the questions Bethany Pierce raised resonated with me, and I highly recommend this book as a contemporary Christian novel playing with the fringe of our unasked questions.

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