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Amen, Amen, Amen: Memoir of a Girl Who Couldn't Stop Praying (Among Other Things) Hardcover – October 20, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner (October 20, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416589457
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416589457
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.5 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,648,473 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Abby Sher has written a beautiful book. It's deeply personal and original, but deals with the big issues we all struggle with -- faith, family, food, and of course, Neil Diamond." -- A. J. JACOBS, author of The Guinea Pig Diaries and The Year of Living Biblically

"Amen, Amen, Amen is Abby Sher's brave, haunting, amazing memoir of her lifelong struggle with OCD. But it's more than this -- it's an inspiring tale of a woman overcoming adversity, learning to trust herself, allowing herself to fall in love, letting go of her parents' complex legacy. For memoir lovers, it is a prayer answered. Told in the author's fresh, wise, witty voice, the book, at times, is impossible to put down. This incredible book makes for obsessive, compulsive reading." -- JENNIFER FINNEY BOYLAN, author of She's Not There and I'm Looking Through You

"Even if you've never had one obsessive thought in your life, which I highly doubt, you will find yourself in Amen, Amen, Amen. Fine, maybe you don't count your kisses or speak Hebrew or create elaborate anorexic exercise mantras, but I'm fairly certain you know what it's like to feel out of control, small, and unseen. Abby Sher's humanity, humility, and hilarity will make you feel less alone and blessed to be alive in this fragile world." -- KIMBERLEE AUERBACH, author of The Devil, The Lovers, & Me: My Life in Tarot

"Amen, Amen, Amen offers a poignant, pitch-perfect look at love, loss, danger, and redemption through the eyes of a young woman struggling with OCD. Abby Sher illuminates her fascinating story with insight, wit, and compassion, making for a compelling and powerful read." -- RABBI DANYA RUTTENBERG, author of Surprised by God: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Religion

"Amen, Amen, Amen is a memoir of a girl's broken heart -- and all the absurd, funny, and oh-so-sacred pains Abby Sher endures to pick up the pieces and walk them silently home. Tender and lovely." -- BARBARA ROBINETTE MOSS, author of Change Me into Zeus's Daughter

About the Author

Abby Sher is a writer and performer whose work has appeared in Modern Love: 50 True and Extraordinary Tales of Desire, Deceit, and Devotion and Behind the Bedroom Door: Getting it, Giving it, Loving it, Missing it as well as in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Self, Jane, Elle, HeeB and Redbook. She is also the author of the young adult novel Kissing Snowflakes. Abby has written and performed for the Second City in Chicago and the Upright Citizen’s Brigade and Magnet Theater in New York. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and daughter.

More About the Author

Abby Sher is a writer and performer whose work has appeared in Modern Love: 50 True and Extraordinary Tales of Desire, Deceit, and Devotion and Behind the Bedroom Door: Getting it, Giving it, Loving it, Missing it as well as in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Self, Jane, Elle, HeeB and Redbook. She is also the author of the young adult novel Kissing Snowflakes. Abby has written and performed for the Second City in Chicago and the Upright Citizen's Brigade and Magnet Theater in New York. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and daughter.

Customer Reviews

She writes her story fearlessly.
Crystal M. Toegel
Amen, Amen, Amen is a courageous beautifully honest telling of Abby Sher's experience growing up with OCD, but really just about growing up.
Picky Reader
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has been newly diagnosed with OCD, or has a friend or loved one with the condition.
LMS

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By book lover on October 28, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Amen, Amen Amen is a brilliant, creative, genuine, and heart-wrenching account of Abby Sher's experience with life, love, and loss. Rarely do we as readers see so clearly how a child's mind works to make sense of the complex world around her. It is a must read for anyone who has struggled to understand the ways of the world - meaning it is a must read for just about everyone.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Annie on December 14, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Sher's frank portrait of growing up with obsessive compulsive disorder is well-written and moving. OCD is often seen as a humorous disorder that causes people to be neat freaks or do quirky things like turn the lights on and off fifteen times so the oceans don't dry up. Amen, Amen, Amen rips the comedic veil off OCD and exposes it for what it is: a disorder that can ravage a person's life. It begins slowly, with repeating prayers a certain number of times daily, and ultimately leads to an eating disorder as well as other major life problems.

Amen, Amen, Amen is beautiful and heatbreaking, a painful snapshot of what it's like to experience loss and to be mentally ill, but it never bogs down into hopelessness.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Zora O'Neill on November 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Wow. Such skilled writing! What I found most compelling about this book is the subtle way Sher's voice grows up as the book progresses. She recaptures the confusion of her 10-year-old self trying to fit huge, adult issues into her kid worldview, then shifts just as easily into teen angst, and again into more self-aware adulthood.

And throughout it all, even though the various OCD rituals, bad relationships and anorexia crisis, she maintains a stellar sense of humor. AND she avoids painting anyone in her life as cruel or evil. AND it doesn't have a magical completely happy ending.

So this is no maudlin "My Struggle with [X]" memoir--it's a smart, thoughtful book about a woman who just happens to deal with some big psychological issues. And it made me look at my own little compulsive habits and how they affect my relationships.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Just My Op VINE VOICE on November 11, 2010
Format: Paperback
I am a literary voyeur, I love to look at others' lives, so I thought this "memoir of a girl who couldn't stop praying (among other things)" would be right up my alley. In some ways it was, in others - not so much.

Abby has had much too much loss in her life, beginning when she was most vulnerable, as a child. Her OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) began manifesting itself before the losses but was greatly exacerbated when someone close to her died. She began to feel she was responsible for countless deaths and she had to find ways to ward off the deaths she was causing. Lots of rituals, hours of compulsive prayer, and ridding the world of anything dangerous.

That last part meant picking up trash, stray paperclips that could puncture a tire causing a blowout and death for an entire family, pieces of glass, sharp metal, even leaves with sharp, pointy stems. If she let down her guard or didn't pray enough or if she let down G-d (she couldn't write "God" for reasons she explained), catastrophe was sure to follow. Her religion seemed more of a superstition than faith.

I know that repetition is a huge part of OCD, but the reader shouldn't have to suffer the same fate. A good part of the first half of the book involved countless recollections of imaginary deaths and molestations she caused. Abby even quit a job working with children because she convinced herself she was molesting them. She would circle a block numerous times, looking for the person she thought she mowed down on the previous lap. Very sad, but the repetition got old.

The second half of the book was more interesting, but also frustrating to me in some ways. Memoirs are supposed to be about the person writing the book, all fair and good.
Read more ›
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Eileen Granfors TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"Amen, Amen, Amen" is the memoir of Abby Sher's OCD life. The rituals she created to survive by lasted from the age of ten into her thirties. She tries to hold her world together, but she loses her friends, her dreams, and her family members in the process. She continues to believe she can control the acts of the world and that SHE has caused her father and her aunt to die, added to a list of others she "kills" day by day through her negligence to her rituals.

But she cannot obsess her demons away, not even by tripling her rituals, not by anorexia nor by cutting. Her mother is both loving and baffled. They fall into a pattern of a love-hate relationship.

Her therapists, her boyfriends, a girlfriend she finally confides in. . . no one can find a key to help her, and she is delighted to keep her secret self hidden away and to distort attempts to help her.

How she begins to heal is a miracle of learning to love herself and forgive herself and to find her place in life in a very imperfect world. This is an intimate and unflinching portrait of mental illness.

Sher writes with passion and honesty. The hurt is visceral and almost tactile. It hurts to read this book, and yet it is impossible to stop reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By P. Bergbauer VINE VOICE on July 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I found Amen, Amen, Amen to be a leisurely read that offers some humor while examining some serious issues - primarily Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) releated.
Abby develops OCD as a ten year-old girl. Her aunt, and then shortly thereafter her father, dies and Abby's OCD manifests itself in her dealings with that loss in several ways such as kissing, collecting, counting and praying. Her story continues through high school, college and adulthood.

I found the honesty and full disclosure to be an intriguing read. OCD is a frustrating disorder that not many understand. Sher explains how her thoughts enabled the OCD.

Overall, I did find it interesting and enjoyable, though, not in a fun way because the issues are of a serious nature. However, her writing, humor and candor add much to telling her story in an engaging manner.
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