Saying Yes to Life In Spite of Everything is a combination of both a memoir and a self-help book. It begins by detailing the lived experiences of Amy Guduza, who once, felt unworthy of love. Her lack of emotionally available parents created a void in her life that she filled with things that left her unfulfilled. Her mother’s willingness to sacrifice everything all in the name of God led to the neglect of her children. The constant manipulation, dictatorship and disregard of Amy’s feelings and well-being, resulted in a turn for the worst in her mental state. On a journey to find herself, Amy managed to pave her own path to freedom – freedom from depression, amongst other things.
In the midst of the transition from pain to a new beginning is hope. Amy had hope that things would get better, that she would get better and she did. What you will read within these pages is ultimately an account of her hope manifested into a reality. As you delve deeper into the book, you will find practical steps that will enable you to explore your inner space and become one with yourself, thus granting you the ability to learn how to best walk freely in all that you have been given.
*This book was sent to me by the author, please read our disclaimer policy for more information!*
I don’t normally read self-help books.
But this book left me completely astounded and with new sense of purpose.
Amy Guduza’s ‘Saying Yes to Life In Spite of Everything’ is a glorious debut book detailing her life and the lack of emotional support she received growing up from her parents. But ends with a heart-warming message of ‘learning to love the life you’re in’ and understanding that God will never give you more than you can control. Her debut reminded me of my faith and also, my path to freedom.
I say freedom in the sense of peace, joy and love. The journey to experiencing all those things is never easy but the liberation is worth it.
Memoirs are more often than not, someone’s truth. They are an often detailed glimpse into the author’s life story. More often than not, the author has laid themselves bare to articulate exactly how they felt during some of the toughest moments in their lives. All we can do is try to understand and even then, we’re normally only experiencing a fraction of the pain/hurt they actually went through.
Amy doesn’t hold back and detailing her life journey. Her open honesty is hard-hitting and extremely emotive as she describes her relationship with her parents, the struggles she’s faced growing up and the obstacles life throws in her path. However, what I loved about this book is how Amy juxtaposes this with her hopes and dreams. She never allows life to tear down her wishes for the future. Amy continues to push through for everything she wants and deserves.
“Keep your head up high and fight the good faith.”
Whilst, I admired her strength this novel serves as a testament for tearing down that “strong Black woman narrative”. Firstly, I want to point out that Amy was incredibly strong. She often went through so many difficult events and journeys. But yet, she never sought out professional help outside of family, friends and God. However, the vulnerability she showcases in this memoir reveals that Black women can be strong but tender. Both exist within us and both need each other in order for us to truly express ourselves.
It alludes to the strength in being vulnerable and the emotional and mental toll it can have on you.
Amy’s memoir part of the book drove this home for me. It was a startling reminder that showing grace to everyone is necessary and that there is so much that people go through in their personal lives that we have no idea about. I had to read this chapter by chapter. Slowly. To take a minute and really understand what she was detailing to me.
I often know a memoir is good if I start to contemplate my own life. Perhaps there are moments that according to the memoir, I’ve taken for granted without realising. Amy’s memoir will do that and more. But I love how it wasn’t in a condescending way and in all honesty, I’m not sure if it was Amy’s aim to make me reflect. But, the self-evaluation you do is very natural.
For instance, Amy’s description of her relationship with God can only be described as a journey with many different paths. But yet, she always came back to Him in spite of everything that has happened. That alone, made me smile despite the very emotional parts of the book. She details how she connects with him and exactly how she came to love Him regardless of what was happening in her life. Her journey is a testimony to how good God’s love is and will always be.
“I realised that God first chose me before I chose him.”
Through all of Amy’s pain and vulnerability was an undercover tone of hope. That tone continued to rise throughout the memoir until you came to the end. There was a sense of freedom. A liberation in that despite everything, through God she’s learned how to extend grace to herself and to others. Through God’s love, there’s hope.
A heartwarming message that will without a doubt leave you smiling.
“In order to bloom where you are planted, you must have a certain type of hunger…you have to decide that you want more from life.”
The second half of the book is a self-help with passages for you to fill out. Amy pushes you to self-evaluate your own negative beliefs and opinions. You begin to question all the doubts you’ve ever had and learn how to explore who you are. What makes you, you. How much do you want to help yourself?
Because that’s what it all comes down to. You must want to help yourself as nobody else can do it for you. Through this memoir/self-help, you’ll begin to put those steps in place.
“Success doesn’t come overnight but you must be hungry enough to keep on going even when the going gets tough.”
You begin to look at the life you’re in…the tools you’ve been handed and realise that you have all the ingredients to make a masterpiece. It’s always been there…inside of you. Amy’s words coax that out of you.
I knew hope could be contagious but I truly felt it with this beautiful book.
“I am happy. I am loved. I am free.”
You can purchase Amy’s book on Amazon or through her Instagram: