Born Amish


Born Amish is a curious mix of fact and personal reminiscence. It is cowritten by Ruth Irene Garrett and Deborah Morse-Kahn. Its stated claim is to educate readers about the Amish lifestyle. It begins by describing the daily life of Amish children, then daily life on an average farm, schoolife, clothing, and marriage. Throughout the book, Garrett shares anecdotes from her life growing up Amish.

Ruth Irene Garrett grew up Amish in Kalona, Iowa. She left the community when she was 22 to marry an outsider. She has since written several books and toured around the country talking about the Amish life. Crossing Over is her first book and describes her youth and romance with an Englisher. (English is the word applied to all people who are not Amish.)

Born Amish had interesting facts and stories. Unfortunately, it suffered from repetition and organizational flaws. The emphasis upon the ordnung, gender roles, and clothing certainly made the reader understand the importance of these things. Nonetheless, this information was repeated so often that I began to skim over it. The organization of the book could have been improved, IMO. It followed the chronological events in the author’s life. I would have preferred clear chapters in which the subject was clearly discussed. 

The book also omitted some information that left me hanging. For example, who was this man she fell in love with and how long did it take her to make her decision to leave the faith? Of course, that information is covered in her other books. However, that sense of loss affected me throughout the book. It felt as though it was merely an addendum to another story; it did not stand on its own. The personal stories scattered throughout the book merely whet my appetite for more. Usually that would be good because I’d be prompted to buy her other books, but in this case, it just irritated me.

I recommend this book with reservations. It contains interesting information from an insider’s perspective. The authors did a great job providing non biased commentary. However, due to the above concerns, read this book but research more information to satisfy any questions it leaves you.

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About shortlibrarian

I am a woman working in the Twin Cities as a programming Librarian.
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