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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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"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
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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 ›
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I found this to be pretty good. I really interesting story.Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
A Raw and honest story! I love the characters in this memoir! I love the honesty and the hope. Abby is the real deal! Read morePublished 14 months ago by Lindsey
This story is so raw and emotional throughout....in places I could totally feel her OCD in myself! She's been through a lot of rough times in her life, along with a lot of therapy,... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Teresa Kander
This beautifully crafted, haunting and hilarious memoir educates and captivates. Bearing witness to the authors traumatic losses beginning in childhood and persisting into her... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Dr. Stephanie Jones
A MUST READ!EXCELLANT SALER WILL USE ANYTIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!GOD BLESS YOU AND TY...VERY HONEST SALERS.THIS BOOK IS A TRUE STORY......A COLLECTION KEEPER.Published on September 14, 2013 by Robin Scott
This author wrote a brief article entitled "The Kindness of Strangers" in the July 2013 issue of Good Housekeeping. The blurb about her listed this memoir. Read morePublished on June 30, 2013 by Amazon Customer
If you take this book for what it is, a memoir from someone in the grips of OCD, it is an interesting, although somewhat self indulgent, view in to what this may feel like. Read morePublished on April 27, 2013 by S. Cohen
Obviously when you pick up a book about a person who "can't stop praying", you realize that you're about to read something about a disturbed person who has an unhealthy way of... Read morePublished on March 28, 2013 by Jason Hornbuckle
This book made my heart ache for this beautiful little girl who could only make sense of death and loss by internalizing it. Read morePublished on November 11, 2012 by Susan Little