Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Book Review: Growing Up Amish by Ira Wagler

Growing Up Amish: A MemoirGrowing Up Amish: A Memoir by Ira Wagler

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Amish lifestyle seems so exotic to me. I grew up in California, far away from most of their strongholds. In fact, before I read Growing Up Amish: A Memoir, I didn't know that Amish communities existed outside of Lancaster County, PA. I knew even less about how Amish teens rebel.

When I saw this book on NetGalley, I thought, why not check it out? So, I turned to Ira Wagler's memoir to expand my knowledge beyond the Hollywood version of the Amish in Witness.

Not to spoil the surprise for anyone, but I think it's safe to share that if you're looking for hot Amish/English sex, this is the wrong book.

From a sociological and psychological standpoint, Growing Up Amish is extremely interesting because Ira isn't the only young man in his community who feels oppressed yet enmeshed with the Amish traditions and lifestyle. Not only does he run away from home (multiple times), but so do all of his brothers. Several boys from other families also run away from home, and yet, a lot of them return.

The Amish lifestyle seems incredibly oppressive, especially for women, so before I read this, I don't think I could conceive of a reason someone would go back after even a slight taste of freedom. Ira Wagler illuminates the underlying complexities that simultaneously kept him close to the community and repelled him.

Overall, this was a very interesting read.

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