Having visited a Huterite colony near Billings MT, I was anxious to read this book and could not put it down. Well written, after readng it I donated it to my daughter's United Methodist church, since it is on the UMW reading list this year.
I would probably rate this about 3 1/2 star. I would tell my friend the pros and cons, and sort of recommend it, but not always (which is why I put no). I did recommend it to my sister, but I don't think I can say I would flat out recommend it to any friend.
Ann-Marie lived in a Hutterite colony in Manitoba, Canada for the first 9 years of her life. Just before her 10th birthday, her family uproots and leaves the colony to go live in a farmhouse in the middle of nowhere. This book describes her transition to the 'English' world. It also looks into the beliefs of the Hutterites and how this affected her and her family growing up.
(I will admit I'm not the best at writing summaries.)
At first, I didn't really like the writing style, and though the story was interesting, it was slow slogging. Of course, when I'm reading something for homework, or for something like this, I want to be sure I wasn't missing anything. So that's just me. After a while of having it, and only reading it off and on, I made a bigger effort to get through it. Once I got farther into the story, it became even more interesting. It is neat seeing a different lifestyle like this, from the perspective of someone that grew up in it. The Hutterites remind me of the Amish.
Because of the spiritual perspective of the Hutterites, which impacted the author and her family, there's a different perspective on salvation. The Hutterites think that if you don't live on their colony, then you'll be going to hell. Well, after they leave, Ann-Marie's mother starts listening to evangelists on the radio and gets very fired up about people needing to be saved. Now while that is in one way good, the way Ann-Marie ends up thinking spiritually seems to be somewhat erroneous. It's as though they desire to serve God and accept Jesus, but then the author talks about the Hutterite faith as though it helped ground her a little, or that she found the answers she was looking for inside of herself. It's a little hard to explain, so hopefully this makes sense. I wouldn't say it is entirely biblical and this shows how colonies like that can mess up one's thinking.
It is somewhat of a disappointment that they basically take God's name in vain a few times, sometimes in their native language. In some contexts, they are actually talking to God (at least it seems like it) and so it can be a little hard to distinguish between the different times. I'll probably go through and block out some of it, but then sometimes I'm sure it'll be hard to figure out if I should block out certain ones. That is frustrating. Also, it does have a few awkward things in it - for example they call back pockets on men's pants 'ass pockets'. There are a couple other things which I would say are a little more objectionable, so this is definitely not a book for younger readers or for families. I would say even something like 16 and up.
Now, I will say that there were some extra-entertaining parts in it - before but especially after the family moves outside the colony. These are what I really enjoyed about the book. They are funny and keep you interested - from talking about their 'English' teacher that came to the colony wearing skinny high heels, to the baseball game between Ann-Marie and her siblings against the rest of the school.
Here is an excerpt from after she started attending 'English' school. She talks about how English kids were always paranoid about getting dirty.
"They acted as if their mothers didn't know how to use a washing machine. Even some of the boys had this unnatural obsession with being tidy. I remember one muddy afternoon when Marty Wilkes came screaming down the far end of the playground, pointing to a large gob of mud on his light-brown corduroy pants. "My mother's gonna kill me! My mother's gonna kill me!" he wailed.
I had never in my life heard such a pronouncement, and I rushed toward him, completely forgetting my inferior status as I faced him friend to friend. I had to know what he had done that would condemn him to death at the hand of his own mother. His mouth-watering lunches flashed before me as I recalled thick egg-salad sandwiches on soft, white bread and chocolate cake with at least an inch of icing. "What did you do?" I asked, my heart pounding.
"She's gonna kill me because I got my good pants dirty!" he howled, tears streaming down his face.
Mouth agape, I looked down at his spoiled pants and back up at him. By now Mrs. Erb had arrived, but I stood there as if I were nailed to the ground. I had no words for a young boy about to be killed by his own mother."
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I was provided with a complementary copy by BookSneezeÂ® in exchange for an honest review.
The book starts by telling the story of how her family began and her parents getting married prior to having her. Mixed in are the traditions of the Hutterites and an intimate look into their society.
Her parents moved their family off the Hutterite colony and were thrown into the modern world of the time. Thrown into a completely different culture Mary-Ann had to begin to redefine who she was and the way she had once lived.
I found it to be a very interesting read; having never heard of the Hutterites prior to obtaining a copy of the book. I enjoyed reading about the traditions and way of life in which the Hutterite community lived and being taken into their world. One of my favorite parts is that throughout the text is scattered with the Hutterite German words and the meanings of them. The only issue I had with the book is that I wish it would have talked a bit more about the transition fr
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
I really liked this book, and while I was reading it was transported to that place and time. It really shows some good insight into the Hutterite communities back then. Only thing I didn't really like was it didn't finish well. The last chapter just seamed to be thrown together.
I Am Hutterite by Mary Ann Kirkby is a stunningly beautiful story of a woman's retracing her family's history to make sense of her life. The author spent the first ten years of her life living in a Hutterite community in Manitoba, Canada, like three generations of her family before her. The Hutterites are a religious group that live communal life with no personal property. With the motto: work makes life sweet, labor is a natural part of life for all ages. They wear plain and simple clothing, and the women have distinctive headgear of polka-dotted handkerchiefs. Their life sounds intriguing and idyllic. Children are schooled from the age of 2-1/2 through eighth grade, and life has a strict order. When someone turns seventeen they begin working in the community and will do so until they are forty-five and then retire (!). Women who have given birth have another woman from the community come into the home and take care of them for several weeks, then a young girl is chosen to be the child's caretaker while the mother cares for the home, her responsibilities on the farm, and her family. It all sounds like a beautiful way to live, but as Mary Ann learned, if the leader of the group is a dictator, it can make life miserable. After repeated clashes with their leader, her father decided to uproot his family of seven children from the only life they'd ever known and try life in the real world. She and her siblings were forced to adapt to living without neighbors within shouting distance and going from feast-like meals three times to a day to scrounging for the necessities and eating cast-off produce. Her difficulties fitting in with her classmates eventually caused her to turn her back completely on her heritage until having a child made her re-evaluate. Kirkby has a stellar voice, and the reader is completely pulled into her world until in the end it feels like a terrible loss to have to say good-bye to the characters.