Is there anyone not completely fascinated with the Amish? Is it not the most interesting culture? No electricity or cars or phones? I’ll admit that there is part of me that always wished I were Amish. Not the part that likes to wear makeup, though. Or the part that enjoys being Mormon. Or the part that uses the internet 500 times a day. But there is something so wonderful about having such a simple life. Which is why I didn’t even hesitate to grab Growing Up Amish off the shelf when I saw it at my library.
It is, obviously, about a man who grew up in the Amish faith. He is in his mid-late 40’s now so I’m not sure how much has changed since he was a boy. From the looks of the Amish, not much. It was fascinating to read a first-hand account of the different sects of Amish. I had no idea there were such things as Old Order, New Order (no, they do not listen to 80’s New Wave music), Nebraska (who don’t live in Nebraska, oddly enough), Schwartzentruber, Andy Weaver and Lancaster. These sects all differ in clothing, buggy styles, shunning practices and the ways they may incorporate “wordly things” (some sects allow a phone at the end of the driveway, some allow one in the area school, some don’t allow one in the community at all). Most Amish sects don’t interact with each other. You can even be excommunicated if you decide to affiliate with a different Amish group than your own (depending on which sect it is). So fascinating!
The author, Ira Wagler, tells the story of how he joined and left the Amish church multiple times. Honestly it got kind of annoying how wishy-washy he is. But eventually he undergoes an actual conversion and finally joins a church that he is happy with.
While I though the author’s personal story was interesting, it was a little frustrating. Why did he keep leaving and then coming back? I had to guess at his motives. Ultimately I would have liked him to spend more time talking about the day to day activities. The world of Amish women isn’t really discussed since he’s a man and didn’t spend much time with women, obviously.
All in all, though, this is a super interesting book. I would highly recommend it to anybody who’s interested in the Amish lifestyle. You can get it here on Amazon as a book for about $10 or on your kindle for 3.99. Or check your library!
*If you buy this book through my link I’ll get filthy rich.