A Beautiful Detour: An Unthinkable Journey from Gutless to Grateful – book review

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A while back I did a review of the book The Things We Don’t Say: An Anthology of Chronic Illness Truths which contained stories from 42 different authors and bloggers. After my post was published, I was delighted to be contacted by one of those authors, Amy Oestreicher, and asked to do a review of her own book My Beautiful Detour: An Unthinkable Journey from Gutless to Grateful. And here it is. I was kindly gifted a Kindle version of the book for free.

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Admittedly it’s taken me a few months to get round to reading A Beautiful Detour and writing this post, but this was nothing to do with the book. It was to do with my reading list and my slow pace of reading – I’m a lot slower than most readers. Once I got going though, I didn’t want to put the book down and I don’t think I’ve ever read a true event story so quick!

The book is pretty long – the print length is 513 pages – but this did not discourage me. It was emotional and gripping from the beginning and I wanted to keep reading to find out what happened next. Amy’s life has been a rollercoaster of one detour after another. 

I was drawn in to Amy’s story but also her positivity. Chronic pain and illness often don’t go together, and it all depends where you’re at in your journey and your mindset and take on things.

Amy with her book, A Beautiful Detour with her art in the background
Amy with her book, A Beautiful Detour

As I was reading I knew that it wouldn’t be long before another twist of fate in Amy’s life would cause things to change. The next event happened and I wanted to keep reading to to see how Amy coped, how that positivity and mindset got her through, and how things turned out. I literally felt my mouth gasp open many times while I was reading. 

Although no one will have faced the exact same journey as Amy, I can guarantee that everyone with a chronic illness or pain journey will resonate with many parts of this book. How unplanned events and sudden life changes can steer fate in a new direction: an unexpected detour that can turn into something beautiful.

It’s not often I read a book and I just want to give the author a hug. It gave me a whole new dimension to being grateful. I don’t want to give away any events, but I’ve never been more grateful to be able to eat and enjoy my food like I do, and to be outside in the fresh air whenever I want. Amy couldn’t do that and I felt more heartbroken for her as I kept reading.

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Amy describes her book as a “true-to-life adventure navigating the detours that stemmed from “unthinkable” traumas. Transforming obstacles into personal empowerment and community change has inspired my three TEDx Talks, musicals, artwork, writing, teaching, and keynotes, and now my book is the full roadmap for not only my story, but how anyone can reimagine their identity and blaze a path as a “Detourist.” 

A roadmap it certainly is. It’s also a wake up call that we all need about stress, as well as learning to focus on the good stuff. It also made me realise the importance of art, creativity and keeping busy in our chronic pain journey.

Amy turned to art to help her get by. As a result she became an artist, using the medium to help her explore her PTSD and locked in emotions. As stated in the book, creativity got Amy “out of her head.”

Buy my own book here – also available on Amazon.com.

We often dwell and think too much when we have bad pain days, or wish things were different for us, and it’s very often not helpful. Keeping busy and using distraction as a way to cope can make all the difference between surviving and thriving.

“When you’re just surviving, life is getting through the next minute, hour or day. When you’re thriving, it’s exciting to look ahead.”

Amy creating her art
Amy creating her art

Amy faced each challenge with determination, courage and a real zest for life; a life that knocked her down again and again and again. She said she wouldn’t change anything about what happened to her, and I really envy that. I also feel the same. I wouldn’t be where I am now had I not got chronic pain. As hard, and literally painful as daily pain is, it’s teaches us resilience and to learn more about who we are. Amy is a real hero and fine example of living life our one life no matter what it throws our way.

“Everything and anything became possible once I was willing to take on this new life proudly…Detours have the power to change us through an alternate route, leading us to experiences we could have never known about. But most importantly, on a detour anything is just about possible.”

Little things stood out and resonated with me in this book. I was delighted to read that Amy uses a height adjustable desk like I do, and also wrote in a 5 year line a day book like I do too. Amy demonstrates that it’s about making the most of and adapting to life’s challenges, and making each day count no matter what. 

A short interview with Amy about her book, A Beautiful Detour

In summary, this harrowing but heroic book is an amazing story of how tragedy can turn in to hope. How fate, faith and our future intertwine in the most unexpected ways. This book is about holding on, enjoying the ride, and making the most of everything no matter what.

Thank you Amy for this opportunity to read and review your book.

About Amy

Taken from Amy’s book Press Pack:

Amy Oestreicher is an international keynote speaker, Huffington Post columnist, actor, artist, songwriter, playwright, Audie Award-nominated PSTD peer-to-peer specialist, and author.

A survivor of extensive medical trauma, including 27 surgeries, and sexual assault, she shares her life story and creative strategies with therapists, medical professionals, patients, sexual abuse victims, and general audiences nationwide.

Creator of the #LoveMyDetour movement to inspire individuals to thrive because of, rather than in spite of, obstacles, she has been featured on the Today show, delivered three TEDx talks, and performed her one-woman musical, Gutless & Grateful, in more than 200 venues across the country.

She is also a passionate voice in the ostomy community and presents narrative medicine workshops.

Where to find Amy’s book

As well as the Kindle version, you can get Amy’s book in paperback at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk and Barnes and Noble, as an ebook at Apple Books, Kobo, and Smashword. It will soon also  be available as an audiobook – view a teaser on Amy’s website

Please note: I am not affiliated with any of the above links in any way.

Amy’s TED talks

Find and follow Amy on social media

Your thoughts

Have you read Amy’s book? What did you think? Or have you now added it to your reading list?

Let me and Amy know in the comments below 😃

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