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Amen, Amen, Amen

Amen, Amen, Amen

Memoir of a Girl Who Couldn't Stop Praying (Among Other Things)

  • reading group guide
In this vibrant memoir, Abby Sher recounts her life with precision and humor as only a woman who is both a comedian and obsessive-compulsive can. The death of Abby’s father when she is eleven years old leaves a void that she fills with rituals: washing her hands, collecting litter, kissing her father’s photograph over and over. Then, with a child’s understanding of cause and effect, Abby begins to pray, certain that she can prevent further disaster. She carries the weight of this belief and the accompanying devotion to God through high school, college, and beyond, when it is joined by darker compulsions of anorexia and cutting.

Amen, Amen, Amen
is an elegy to parents lost and to a youth consumed by grief and anxiety; it is a spiritual mystery about Abby’s search for answers and someone to guide her to them; and it is a romance about discovering the true nature of unconditional love. With remarkable candor and insight, Abby offers a brave and exquisitely written account of obsessive-compulsive disorder and the bounds and boundlessness of belief.
Choose a format:
  • Scribner | 
  • 320 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781416589464 | 
  • September 2010
List Price $15.00
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Get to know author Abby Sher

Writer and performer Abby Sher shares her inspiration for her novel AMEN, AMEN, AMEN.

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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Amen, Amen, Amen includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Abby Sher. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


In this vivid, humorous, and candid memoir, Abby Sher invites us into a life consumed by rituals. When she is ten, Abby’s favorite aunt and father both grow ill and pass away unexpectedly. Overcome with a grief she does not know how to handle, she takes to rituals of comfort: kissing her father’s picture repeatedly, singing songs as she passes familiar landmarks, and praying incessantly for the safety and health of others. Soon, her fervent prayers for the protection of those around her have consumed her life. As Abby transitions into adulthood, her compulsions manifest in new and darker ways. This is her tale of living with obsessive compulsive disorder—a life filled with tragedy, impermanence, and uncertainty, but also joy, passion, and comedy. And, most importantly, an unshakable faith that both nourishes and confounds her being, forever and always, amen.

Questions for Discussion

1. Abby provides a number of examples of early compulsive behavior. Are these innocent childhood see more

About the Author

Abby Sher
Photograph by Sylwia Lepiarz

Abby Sher

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 TheNew 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 SecondCity in Chicago and the Upright Citizen’s Brigade and Magnet Theater in New York. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and daughter.




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