Wednesday, 30 March 2011
Growing up Amish by Ida Wagler
Synopsis: This biography tells the story of Wagler's Amish upbringing and his struggle between the comfort of his traditional life on one hand and the freedom of the outside world in the other hand.
This memoir was an enjoyable read and was pacy enough to keep the pages turning quickly (I finished it in two sittings). Wagler's life was covered in chronological order and I particularly enjoyed the sections about his childhood. As a primary school teacher who often bemoans the amount of gadgets children have and how they don't 'play' anymore, Wagler's childhood seemed idealistic. And it also contrasted effectively with later sections in which he was more tormented.
These later sections really got across the point that it was impossible for Wagler to be happy anywhere. When inside the Amish community he strained against the restrictions but when outside he was tormented by the certainty that turning his back on the Amish church would lead to him going to hell. That part was hard for me to relate to as a non-religious person (as was the very end of the book), but imagining what having that certainty would do to your mind and self-esteem was powerful enough.
I did enjoy learning about the Amish way of life and differences between the various Amish communities. My only criticism was that I wanted a bit more of that, and thought that the book could have taken the exra length.
Score: 3.5 out of 5
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers (many thanks for the review copy)
Publication Date: 1st July 2011