Sunday, February 5, 2012

Discovering Bethany Pierce

Rummaging through  the list of books by one of my most cherished authors, Jodi Picoult, my hand sailed across "Amy Inspired" by a Bethany Pierce. The title looks interesting enough.    I pulled it out of the shelf and examined the cover and the picture of the author herself.  Bethany Pierce looked very young, fun and sassy.   I've read enough books to know, one can't truly judge a book by its cover nor the picture of its author. 

The weight of the book in my grasp as well as the picture of the curly red haired girl, with her back towards the reader on the cover, was captivating.   So I checked it out and dove into the interesting, idyllically not yet established  life of Amy Gallagher.  It was far more pleasing then what my expectations had assumed. When I'm unfamiliar with an author, I read apprehensively.    Bethany Pierce has a uniqueness in her writing that delved deeper and beyond her fictional  characters, surrendering a glimpse (I can only concede) into the reality of her own life as an author.

I became irrefutably inspired, loving the fact that as an aspiring writer, Amy's faith in Christ was her anchor and leverage in a life chocked with rejections and uncertainties: 

"But forsaking Christ himself was impossible.  The basic precepts of faith defined my life as the skeleton give the body definitions;  I could as soon function apart from Christianity as sever muscle from bone and retain shape."

On Chastity:

"...particulars of is moral codes, however, had grown increasingly tiresome.  While I couldn't make love where I didn't feel love, Chastity for its own sake had become pure drudgery".

And Virginity:

"It has been fairly noble to champion virginity when I was sixteen.  But the closer I got to 30 the more I began to worry."

And Writing:

* "Who is it that you see in your mind when you sit down to write?  What faces-what crowds-do you write for?

*...may be we get so busy trying to please a target audience that we miss the very story we have worth telling.

* "Sometimes people can hinder our voice.  How many times when you are writing do you hold back for fear of what your mom would say if she read it?  Or for fear of what a professor will say about your style?"

"The actual act of writing is a very private thing.  But the private act of writing is only half the life of a story or a book.  Its other half is the life it lives for its audience."

"Free your mind from the burden of that critical audience.  To write what it is that you need to write."


*  "THE WHOLE POINT OF WRITING IS TO BE HEARD."


And family:

"When push comes to shove, you always know who to run to.  That being a family isn't a social construct, but an instinct." 

"My mother had always instructed me to live life before settling down, settling down requiring seismic shift."

"Grown up in  a home where misunderstandings dissolved into laughter almost on their own accord, my brother too good-natured to fight and my mother too easily distracted to remember an offense. 

"Find something you love to do", my father told me, "and you'll never work a day in your life."

Bethany Pierces crowned her  "Amy Inspired" characters with systematic calibers that nearly borders obsession.  For instance, Amy, herself.  The strictures she fences herself in with "to-do list".  And what her best friend Zoe feels about that through her own mother's battle with cancer:  "Watching her struggle for even the smallest pleasures the healthy takes for granted, I've learned the hard way that life is too short and the world too varied to fit into carefully drafted rows of check-boxes."


Also, Zoes consistent persistent with her running.  Come rain, snow or shine, she doesn't waiver.  Her effortless ability to write.  Had no complications with writers block and can sell her work.  She outright disapproves of to-do lists or check lists:  "Checklist were symptomatic of a woman's need to feel productive...used "we" and "our", lumping all women, cancer-driven and homemaker alike, into one homogenous, guilt-tripped class of multi-tasking do-gooders."   

Then there's the ever so mysterious, carefree and handsome Eli.  A very talented, out-of-an-apartment artist that Amy falls hopelessly in love with but didn't quite approve of first.  He was tattooed and definitely unavailable for her.  Yet, she was drawn to him like a magnet. 

All in all it was utterly refreshing reading "Amy Inspired".  Now I'm reading "Feeling for Bones" as I am Bethany Pierces newest fan.  I was actually a little surprised that the Publishing Company is a Christian Publisher.  Pierce didn't overindulge in virtue, chastity and purity like some Christian authors do.  Her characters were life-like and flawed yet grounded with their Christian faith and upbringing.  Loved it.

7 comments:

  1. Wow! I'm going to put her on my list of things to read!! I love Christian books...by Christian authors who don't shove it down your throat and make you gag. ;)

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  2. How funny that both you and I chose to write about books in our most recent posts! I'll definitely be checking this author out!

    The book I mentioned in my post is by Kristin Hannah, called Night Road. Totally loved it, as you could tell by my blog post!

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  3. Sounds like an interesting book. And yes, nice having some good clean books.

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  4. I am definitely going to have to check out this book and author. It's been a while since I have read anything truly worth reading.

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  5. thanks for the review! I'm always wondering about books to read that aren't filled with a bunch of garbage. I will definitely have to add this one to my list!

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  6. I loved it too! A surprise discovery that brought me an unexpected burst of joy! thanks for your review. Bethany Pierce is my new favourite too. :-)

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