Mosaic: Pieces of My Life So Far
Even if you’re not a fan of Amy Grant’s gospel music, and even if you don’t know of her midlife, second marriage to country singer Vince Gill, as a book browser you’d be tempted to pick up this book. The jacket pictures a smiling --- probably laughing --- and barefoot Amy, sporting a bohemian-style skirt and lacy shawl. The pose suggests that she’s slightly vulnerable and inviting you into her life.
The title and subtitle don’t promise full disclosure or a running narrative. And the text truly is a mosaic --- thematic and episodic chapters and journal reflections that skip around in time, revealing “pieces” of a life. The back-jacket well describes the prose as being “varied in texture.”
Some chapters focus on her extended family: parents, sisters, nieces, aunts --- nearly all live nearby, clustered around Nashville. A tribute to an uncle killed before she was born feels like a eulogy written to and for Amy’s family. This “Uncle Larry” chapter starts: “I love family. I love being identified in the context of my family.”
Other chapters stay in the professional realm. A chapter titled “How Did I Wind Up Here?” is targeted toward her ardent fans. It recounts Amy’s career path, naming singers who influenced her and people with whom she has performed or schmoozed.
The best material describes specific days and encounters: an impromptu visit to the Nashville home of an octogenarian fan; a day with her children at the Tennessee state fair; a personal encounter with a wild deer. A few of these narrative accounts give the back story of a particular song, such as “Hats” and “Missing You.”
It’s obvious that motherhood and music are focal points of Amy’s life. And her Christian faith, which has at times waned, is renewed. She talks of this poignantly in a chapter about motherhood, “On Children and Faith.” She explains, “My most consistent prayer for my children has been, God, find them the way you found me. Give them faith to believe you.” Here she describes a journey of grace and forgiveness in the midst of personal turmoil.
Between chapters, Amy has interspersed the lyrics of more than 30 songs, including several that are new and unrecorded. The book includes 16 pages of color photographs, and small family photos enhance the opening page of each chapter.
The last dozen pages of the book, “The Times of My Life,” give a chronological life summary, which provides “a framework” for her mosaic pieces. She explains: “My intent is to show how quickly I was set upon a path I did not anticipate and how that shaped my life. If I do not have a unique stage persona that differs from the me who shows up at the grocery store, it’s because I’ve never felt any demarcation between life and art, faith and day-to-day living.” It’s that persona that shows in the jacket photograph --- she looks like the artsy sister next door.
Reviewed by Evelyn Bence on October 16, 2007