My Beautiful Detour: An Unthinkable Journey from Gutless to Grateful

Genre: Non Fiction

For Fans Of

In one sense, My Beautiful Detour has no comparative titles, because the book is unique in fusing together different genres in the crucible of Amy’s amazing life story. The book is one part memoir, one part recovery manual, one part inspirational narrative, and one part spiritual guide. But there are many successful books that have both inspired Amy and can serve as guideposts for positioning My Beautiful Detour in the market. Healing from Trauma and PTSD The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk Waking the Tiger by Peter Levine The Geography of Loss by Patti Digh Carry on Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life by Glennon Doyle Melton Upside: The New Science of Post-Traumatic Growth by Jim Rendon Wild by Cheryl Strayed Medical Journeys The Man Who Couldn’t Eat by Jon Reiner My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey by Jill Bolte Taylor Ghost Boy: The Miraculous Escape of Misdiagnosed Boy Trapped Inside His Own Body by Martin Pistorius and Simon Bubb On My Own Two Feet: From Losing My Legs to Learning the Dance of Life by Amy Purdy with Michelle Burford Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan Unmeasured Strength: A Story of Survival and Transformation by Lauren Manning The Quiet Room: A Journey Out of the Torment of Madness by Lori Schiller and Amanda Bennet Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxanne Gay When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi and Abraham Verghese It’s Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life by Lance Armstrong Through Fire and Rain: Surviving the Impossible with Love, Music, and Precision Medicine by MaryAnn Anselmo and Joseph Anselmo Memoirs Dancing on My Grave: An Autobiography by Gelsey Kirkland God Said Ha!: A Memoir by Julia Sweeney A Million Little Pieces by James Frey A Man Named Dave: A Story of Triumph and Forgiveness by Dave Pelzer Forward: A Memoir by Abby Wambach Mermaid: A Memoir of Resilience by Eileen Cronin Rethinking Possible: A Memoir of Resilience by Rebecca Faye Smith Galli I Am the Central Park Jogger: A Story of Hope and Possibility by Trisha Meili All Rivers Run to the Sea: Memoirs by Elie Wiesel A Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion On Writing by Stephen King Spiritual The Hero With a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell The Forgetting River: A Modern Tale of Survival, Identity, and the Inquisition by Doreen Carvajal Self-Help/Resiliency Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy by Sheryl Sandberg Lessons for Life’s Little Detours by Regina Brett Broken Open by Elizabeth Lesser Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth A Short Guide to a Happy Life by Anna Quinlan Creativity The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron The Wander Society by Keri Smith The Writing Life by Annie Dillard

Book Summary

What happens when an ordinary teenager has to turn into a warrior just to survive? And can the journey through Post Traumatic Stress Disorder really become an “adventure?”

Amy had ambitious plans for college and a Broadway career, until her stomach exploded the week before her senior prom. Months later, she awoke from a coma to learn that she might never be able to eat or drink again. After 28 surgeries and seven years on IV nutrition, her digestive system was miraculously reconstructed and her first bite of food awakened her senses to life's ordinary miracles. Yet now, Amy was suddenly faced with memories of being sexually abused by a trusted mentor for months, just before the unexpected rush to the emergency room that fateful Passover night. With determination, imagination, relentless resilience, and an inner “hunger” for life, Amy created a roadmap where none existed. Her journey through life's unthinkable detours is nothing short of miraculous, but the creative path to healing she forged is accessible to anyone.

As a survivor—and “thriver”—of abuse and extensive medical trauma, Amy discovered sources of resilience she didn’t know she had but it turns out we all possess. In this book, she creates a tapestry made from each of each thread of her journey, empowering others to find gratitude in every setback and discover their own infinite inner strength. Amy’s search for “home” proves to be the greatest test of cultivating resilience after near-death, and reclaiming identity after both sexual assault and medical trauma. Amy’s journey is ultimately a celebration of ordinary and extraordinary challenges and miracles.

How can you cope for years without even an ice cube to nourish your thirst for knowledge, or a breadcrumb to fuel your insatiable hunger for life? Amy found many ways, and in this book, she shares her many twists and turns, setbacks and triumphs, obstacles, and ultimately, opportunities. And in between, her humorous adventures from graduating high school in the surgical ICU, breaking out of the hospital to go to the mall, and flourishing as a mixed media artist through the unexpected discovery of a paintbrush during a year-long hospital stay.

In this coming of age story, Amy shares her struggles and discoveries living with both visible and invisible illness, the tremendous gifts to be reaped from trauma, its lessons which have illuminated her path, and how these gifts can be discovered as a unique, yet universal way to navigate any kind of uncertainty.


““Her survival journey, unveiled in My Beautiful Detour, is more than inspiring; it is a celebration. Against all odds, Amy finds—and creates—the magical out of the impossible.””
— Amanda Gronich, co-creator, The Laramie Project'

"Amy's extraordinary life and work reveal the power of art to transform. Her survival journey, unveiled in My Beautiful Detour, is more than inspiring; it is a celebration. Against all odds, Amy finds--and creates--the magical out of the impossible." -- Amanda Gronich, co-creator, The Laramie Project

"Thank you, Amy, for this book and teaching us all that when we live in and from gratitude for EVERYTHING life hands us, ANYTHING is possible." --David Friedman, Broadway Composer, author, The Thought Exchange

"Amy Oestreicher is truly a 'life lover'." As courageous and feisty as they come, this woman has lived gracefully through things that would crumble most of us. She has turned her trauma into her gift and now shares her memoir with the world, so her healing process can carry forward, reminding others that anything is possible, no matter what our challenges." --Sheri Gaynor, LCSW, Creative Awakenings International

"Amy's book is a gift--a fantastic reminder and an inspirational guide that shows us that painful detours happen in life, and it's up to us to choose to find the beauty in the struggle." - Joshua Rivedal, author, The i'Mpossible Project

"What Amy shares through her embrace of her vulnerability is a treasure for all of us. Crisis truly does manifest as opportunity!" - Mel Schwartz, author, The Possibility Principle

"Amy alchemizes trauma into wisdom in this memoir of pure gold. Read it. Be inspired."

--Brian Leaf, author, The Teacher Appears: 108 Prompts to Power Your Yoga Practice

"The fact that Amy is alive and well is a testament to the power of the human spirit. Read this book and you will never again feel sorry for yourself no matter what happens to you!"

-- Karyn Buxman, neurohumorist, author, Funny Means Money: Strategic Humor for Influence and World Domination

"Amy has a remarkable story of faith, resilience and determination."

--Srinivas Rao, Host/Creator: The Unmistakable Creative

About the Author

Amy Oestreicher is a PTSD Specialist, Audie award-nominated playwright, performer, and multidisciplinary creator. Amy overcame a decade of trauma to become a sought-after trauma-informed teaching artist, author, writer for The Huffington Post, international keynote speaker, RAINN representative, and health advocate. She has given three TEDx Talks on transforming trauma through creativity, and holds the record for the only woman to gives TEDx Talks for three consecutive years, reaching nearly 15K views. Her story has appeared on NBC’s Today, CBS, Cosmopolitan, Seventeen Magazine, The Washington Post, Good Housekeeping, and MSNBC, among others and she’s contributed to over 80 print and online publications. A singer, librettist, and visual mixed media artist, she dedicates her work to celebrating everyday miracles, untold stories, and the detours in life that can spark connection and transform communities. Amy has toured her autobiographical musical, Gutless & Grateful, to over 200 venues from 54 Below to Barrington Stage Company since its 2012 NYC debut, as well as a mental health program for colleges, conferences and organizations. She is currently developing her full-length play, Flicker and a Firestarter, on the dichotomies that emerge after trauma, and More Than Ever Now, a play based on her grandmother's story of survival. She most recently premiered her one-woman multimedia musical, Passageways, at HERE Arts Center, for which she created music, book, lyrics, and artwork.
As the 2014 Eastern Regional Recipient of Convatec’s Great Comebacks Award and WEGO Health “Health Activist Hero”, and WeGO Health Expert, medical community, speaking for National WOCN conferences and the American College of Surgeons Clinical Congress, and writing for the official print publication of the UOAA. She has devised programming for the Transformative Language Arts Network National Conference, the Eating Recovery Foundation, the 40th Anniversary New England Educational Opportunity Association Milestones Conference, three Annual National Mental Health America Conference, and others. She has been the featured keynote speaker for national conferences including the Pacific Rim Conference of Diversity and Disability, the International School of Social Work Conference, and Women of Resilience.
As a playwright, Amy has received awards and accolades for engaging her audiences in dynamic conversation on trauma’s effects on society, including Women Around Town’s “Women to Celebrate” 2014, BroadwayWorld “Best Theatre Debut,” Bistro Awards “New York Top Pick, and the “Singular Award” at the Sarasolo Theatre Festival, presented annually for a “performance that is exceptionally uncommon, groundbreaking, original and inventive.” Amy has performed excerpts of her solo oral history play, Fibers, as part of Brooklyn's immigrants and Exile, Beechwood Art's Giving Voice, Dixon Place, Seekonk Storytelling Television Special, and Museum of Jewish Heritage Festival of Untold Women. She is a cabaret and theatre reviewer for BroadwayWorld, Her theatre education essays and monologues have been published in Creative Pedagogy journals, as part of a theatre curriculum for high school students in the Philippines. Her play, "We Re-Member" honoring the immigration stories of her grandparents, has been performed in twelve states, and her full-length Play, Factory Treasure, has been performed at the Philadelphia Arts Center, Identity Theatre, LIU, The Depot, and Actors Theatre of Newburyport. Her short plays have been published by the Eddy Theatre Company and finalists in Manhattan Repertory Theatre’s Short Play Festival, as well as NYC Playwright’s Women in the Age of Trump.
Amy’s collaboration with Beechwood Arts on the immersion salon, “Resilience and the Power of the Human Spirit”, has traveled around the world to health and arts facilities as a public installation, incorporating her monologues, art, writing and recipes to express the life-altering detours and ultimately the invaluable gifts of her resilient journey. Amy is also an active artist and teacher in the Jewish community, being honored by United Way in 2005 for her music programs at Hollander House, completing artist residencies at Art Kibbutz, and delivering “Hope, Resilience & Biblical Women” keynotes for synagogues and religious schools. Her theatre education essays and monologues have been published in Creative Pedagogy journals, as part of a theatre curriculum for high school students in the Philippines, and as a teaching artist, she is a strong advocate for arts integration and education. She is a teaching artist with Brooklyn's Community World Project, and trained ACTSmart, a Playback Theatre troupe in Amherst, MA. She is also a passionate arts education advocate, a successful mixed media visual artist, a continuing education studio arts teacher, and her artwork has been shown in esteemed galleries in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Chicago, San Diego and New York, as well as published in national publications including Conquer, Topology and Cargo Literary. She has recently published her memoir, My Beautiful Detour: An Unthinkable Journey from Gutless to Grateful. See more at

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