Amy Oestreicher is happy to be alive. At nearly 18, she was headed for her prom, college, then hopefully, Broadway, until a blood clot caused her stomach to explode. Oestreicher slipped into a coma for months, only to emerge to be told that she may never eat or drink again, while coming to terms with a long kept secret — that she was sexually abused by a trusted mentor. Her soon to be released memoir (June 30), My Beautiful Detour: An Unthinkable Journey from Gutless to Grateful, chronicles her poignant journey. Barnes and Noble will host Oestreicher’s book launch on Thursday, July 11 at 6:30 p.m., which will include an author interview, brief reading, musical performance, and book signing. There will be a literary gift basket door prize and light refreshments. The community at large is invited to attend.
Oestreicher is now 32 and has accomplished much since that fateful hospital stay, which wouldn’t be her last. She has endured 28 surgeries and survived seven years without food or drink, while her digestive system was repaired and her inner self healed from devastating trauma. The good news is, Oestreicher has made it to the spotlight and has beyond thrived: She’s not only a memoirist, but an Audie Award-nominated author, PTSD peer-to-peer specialist, artist, speaker for TEDx and RAINN, award-winning actress, and playwright. Oestreicher is also a mental health advocate, workshop leader, clothing designer and all-around dynamo, despite her continued challenges.
“I’m excited to share my story: how I navigated a seemingly impossible situation to find the real gifts that anyone can discover from facing obstacles of their own. I wrote My Beautiful Detour to convey my unwavering love of life and to set a template for those who follow. I’m grateful for all who have played unmatched roles along my journey and am proud to celebrate at Barnes & Noble — which has always felt like home,” Oestreicher says.
My Beautiful Detour is gripping, unique, and the subject of her one-woman musical, Gutless & Grateful, which she’s performed in 200+ venues nationwide; she’s now fine-tuning a reimagined version of her tale in her new show, Passageways, premiering August 6-8 in NYC’s HERE Theater.
Oestreicher’s story begins senior year in high school, chronicles her betrayal by a longtime teacher that corresponded with her medical emergency, and takes the reader to present-day. The memoir illustrates how Oestreicher used creativity to help transform adversity into personal growth and invites others to do the same. Her miraculous comeback stems from more than a decade of intense resilience-building. And she knows what she writes: Oestreicher has survived organ failure and powered through the PTSD that comes from both emotional and physical trauma. In addition to her moving memoir, Oestreicher is a regular lifestyle, wellness, and arts contributor for over 70 online and print publications. In addition, her story has been featured on NBC’s Today, CBS, Cosmopolitan, Seventeen Magazine, Washington Post, Good Housekeeping, and MSNBC, among others.
Oestreicher will be interviewed by award-winning local writer, Gabi Coatsworth, followed by a short Q & A. Coatsworth has been published in anthologies, is at work on a memoir, pens the blog, The Write Connexion, and runs the monthly meetups, WritersMic and Westport Writers’ Rendezvous. Oestreicher will also read a short excerpt from My Beautiful Detour and perform a song from her musical, accompanied by her brother, acclaimed Apollo Theater musician, Matt Oestreicher.
“My Beautiful Detour is a page-turner as Amy’s story both encourages and inspires. I’m thrilled to be part of her book launch as it’s an evening to support local talent, and especially to salute this hometown author,” said Gabi Coatsworth.
Oestreicher has much to celebrate and welcomes all to her July 11 launch for conversation and community, but especially to come away hopeful about reframing life’s detours. To learn more about Amy Oestreicher, visit her website, amyoes.com.
Westport's Barnes and Noble is located at 1076 Post Rd E in Westport, Conn.