Tony Agnesi is a storyteller. He’s built an audience by sharing his Catholic faith using whatever tools are at hand: writing, podcasting, speaking. You need never have heard of him before in order to enjoy his newly-released book, A Storytellers Guide to a Grace-Filled Life.
This collection of more than 70 brief stories could be read as a guide, as the title suggests. If “guide” implies to you a cover-to-cover formal approach, though, don’t be put off. Each story stands on its own. A few minutes at a time with one or two or three of the stories is refreshing. This is a book to leave by your favorite seat at home, or to carry when you’re traveling.
Each story includes some questions – challenges, even – inviting the reader to draw from the well of God’s grace. Scripture references aptly complement each story’s theme. Practical steps and reflections wrap up each piece. A story could take only a couple of minutes to read, and the time wouldn’t be wasted. Taking time to reflect, though, brings the real rewards.
Agnesi never forgets Who’s in charge. The grace of which he writes isn’t his to dispense; it comes from God. Agnesi doesn’t talk down to his readers; he assumes he’s dealing with adults who sincerely seek God, even in the middle of struggles that seem overwhelming. He knows he’s not writing for angels.
His tone is a gift to his readers: calm and kind, with just enough edge and challenge to inspire even a temporarily-bewildered believer. He’s a guide walking alongside the reader, not goading from behind.
The Storytellers Guide is divided into five chapters, each with a theme. The section on Holidays has Lent and Advent entries, as one could expect. A surprising one: Father’s Day. Agnesi takes that secular observance and turns it into what it ought to be: a celebration of the God-given gift and responsibility of fatherhood.
The tone and structure of the book make it adaptable for group study. While it’s written by a Catholic man, it has no figurative “Catholics only” signs. All it needs is a reader in search of a grace-filled life who is willing to listen.
A Storytellers Guide could have been written by your most encouraging friend, who has seen your messy life (and has probably lived one of her own), and is still willing to help point you in the right direction. No false cheer, no nagging. This is a guide worth seeking out.
SPECIAL OFFER: A Storyteller’s Guide to a Grace-Filled Life is for sale at Tony’s web site. He will personally autograph the book, and he’s offering FREE DOMESTIC SHIPPING (Media Rate). Go to https://tonyagnesi.com/store to take advantage of the offer!
(Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for a review.)