“I Am Hutterite” by Mary-Ann Kirkby
From the booksneeze.com website and Thomas Nelson publishing company:
**A fascinating journey into the heart and culture of a reclusive religious community.
“I Am Hutterite” takes readers into the hidden heart of the little-known Hutterite colony where author Mary-Ann Kirkby spent her childhood. When she was ten, her parents packed up their seven children and a handful of possessions and left the colony to start a new life. Overnight they were thrust into a world they didn’t understand, a world that did not understand them.
With great humor, Kirkby describes how she adapted to popular culture, and with raw honesty she describes her family’s deep sense of loss for their community. More than a history lesson, I Am Hutterite is a powerful tale of retracing steps and understanding how our beginnings often define us.**
I am very happy that this was one of the choices over on booksneeze.com. I hadn’t heard of the book, nor had I heard of Hutterites, but I like a good memoir and the idea of having to endure such a radical culture shift from religious colony to “English” in 1969 sounded really interesting. I devoured this book in 3 days – I found so much of the detail of colony life to be so engaging, if a bit slow to start (though in reading before bed I found it quite calming – maybe that’s the qualities of the Hutterites coming through?) I had a bit of trouble in the beginning keeping all the relatives straight, but it didn’t take away from the story. There is a family tree in the back of the book, along with a glossary for the Hutterite language sprinkled throughout the book – I wish that had been placed in the front of the book for my own reference. The book details life on the colony, her grandparents, parents and siblings, but I felt stopped short when it came to life outside of the colony. We are told of the authors early years in “English” school (middle school / early high school), but I would have liked to learn more about her adjustments into the outside culture and her trips back to the colony. Overall this was a very enjoyable read and I plan to share this with family and friends (Wife, “Mom”, Knitter – I’ll bring it to knitting for you!).
Disclosure: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program in exchange for a fair review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”