At first I wasn't sure what I'd think about ALMOST AMISH. Reality TV shows, English living as Amish (dressed in pioneer closets?) and women's fiction.... Not a genre I'm a huge fan of, though I do read some. But this book - ALMOST AMISH grabbed me from the first page. I totally got Julie. Not perfect. Real. Gifted with organizing, but not cleaning. Gifted with seeing people, but not baking for school functions. And running ragged with all her and her children's and her husband's activities... Crazy. She needed a breather, and when her sister-in-law, Susan accepted a reality TV show position (for a needed boost with her career) she jumped at the chance to get away.
But the situation is far from perfect. They take out the propane stove and put in a wood stove -- which neither woman had even seen one before, much less baked/cooked with one. The producers "greeked' labels, meaning they didn't know what ingredients were what in some cases, and well, there were NO privacy. Julie found herself going to bat over and over for her children and Susan because Susan wouldn't stand up for herself (afraid to risk her career plans) and the producers were running alll over them. . .
Add a "handyman", a potential romance and lots of heart and realism and you have ALMOST AMISH.
This was a beautifully written story that I totally LOVED. I have made decisions to slow our family life down as I grew older -- getting rid of TV, baking most meals from scratch, not eating out, and spending time together as a family. We have a reputation of being "The Waltons" around here - actually eating at the table as a family. . . etc. I am not good at gardening, (Julie was) and not good at sewing (Julie was) but otherwise I totally related to her. GREAT story. I haven't read much (if anything else) by this author, but I will look up more, based on this book.
This was not really what I thought it would be, having read the back cover, but it was still very interesting and thought provoking. Susan was the star of the reality TV show, but Julie was the main character of the book, the one who truly embraced the concept of a simple life, and the one whose lessons most effected me. I was disappointed by all the compromises made under cover of the "Almost" in the title. It would have been more challenging for them to go totally Amish, including the humility and peacefulness of that culture. I did enjoy seeing Julie realize that being an enabler for others is a ministry in itself, and a valuable one. It was great to see the changes in the children and family dynamics brought about by a lack of 'technological noise.' I really appreciated the wisdom of Rosemary and the gentle way she shared it.
Almost Amish, a thought-provoking and enjoyable read, explores what might happen when urban Californians try to live without modern conveniences in Amish country. And their foibles and failures are broadcast on national TV as part of a reality series. Sisters-in-law Supermom Susan and Overwhelmed Julie, along with their children, meet the challenge head-on, although not without soul-searching and conflict. The plot is intriguing, but I wonder if most teens would adjust as easily as those portrayed on the novel's pages. I appreciate the way the characters changed and the lessons they learned.
"Almost Amish" by Kathryn Cushman is a novel (which actually has no Amish people in it) that entails two women, Julie and Susan, who are sister-in-laws, become the stars on a reality TV show. On this reality show, which contains very little reality, the two women and their children must live a lifestyle similar to the Amish for three months. Susan has plans of becoming a "Martha Stewart" of sorts with cookbooks and lifestyle books. Her career rides on this show. In actuality, Martha Stewart would probably consider Susan an anal nightmare. She is your classic stick in the mud (or stick somewhere). She railroads over everybody, and everything must be perfect at all times. Julie is me, you, your typical American mom. She is over scheduled, under appreciated, and stressed to the point of hating her life.
This is a pretty good book. The main characters bounce off of each other well and the side characters are great. One of my favorites is Kendra, the producer. Kendra could be easy to hate, but you don't. She is kinda fun to hate actually. The kids are real and this whole book is just pretty darn good. I think it would make a pretty good movie. I received this book for free from Bethany Publishers.
This is the first book I have read by author Kathryn Cushman. Although I have read books on the Amish before, this one was different from any I had ever read before. The storyline follows two woman who are sister in laws and their teenage kids as they participate in a TV reality show.
I found it very interesting that the two women were as different as night and day. The author did a good job of drawing me and made it easy to relate my own life to these women. I had to stop and think, what is important in life? Am I always rushing around working and not taking time for my kids and husband?
The book also portrayed that a simple lifestyle doesn't necessarily mean an easier lifestyle. I liked how the teenagers did a good job at adapting to change. They even realized they didn't need their computers and cell phones to occupy themselves. Can you imagine if a lot more of us would realize there is a world outside of electronics?
I really liked that when the show was over the woman spent some time incorporating all the good things they learned into their lives when they returned home.
All in all this is a well-written novel focusing on slowing down and spending time with family.
Thank you Bethany House Publishers for providing me with a free copy to review. My opinions are my own.