"I am Hutterite" – Book Review

“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!).
I review for BookSneeze

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.”

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A Tale of Two Books.

Fair warning, there’s no knitting in this post. It’s about books I finished in the last month or so.
I recently came across an interesting website, BookSneeze.
I review for BookSneeze
Cute slogan. I signed up because even though most of my free time where I could be reading is usually spent knitting, I do enjoy new books and if Thomas Nelson is willing to provide me with a complimentary copy of this book, then so be it.

I selected “The Map: The Way of All Great Men” by David Murrow.

Here’s the description from BookSneeze: A map, hidden in the gospel of Matthew, is the key to awakening the sleeping giant in the church—men.

Sounds like fiction, but it’s true. The apostle Matthew embedded a map into his gospel. History’s greatest men, including Christ himself, followed this map.

The Map begins as a fictional tale of murder, deception, and greed as three men fight to uncover the most important discovery since the Dead Sea Scrolls. Then, using the tale as a parable, Murrow shows men what the map looks like, where it is found in the Bible, and how to walk its three ancient pathways today:

* Submission
* Strength
* Sacrifice

David Murrow stumbled across the map by accident in 2006. After three years of research and writing, he is ready to reveal it to the world.

So, the book starts out in an admittedly “DaVinci-code”-ish way – there is mystery about an ancient map that is hidden in the Bible text. That part was interesting – it kept my attention as I was curious as to what would happen next. But then, in the second part of the book you are let in on the secret, that the story in the beginning is all for show, but that there is a “map” in the Bible, right there in front of our noses and it is important for men to follow in order to feel more involved in Church and be more like Jesus. Jesus is presented as following a path of submission, strength and sacrifice. I found the discussion of the map and the path of the map interesting – it did bring together much of the Catholic education I received as a kid in a way that I hadn’t considered before, yet makes complete sense. However, the second and third parts of the book lost me. This is where the book started to loose me and I started to skim the pages. Maybe because I am a woman. Maybe because my religious background is Catholic. Maybe because all I kept thinking of was mega-churches and evangelists (and honestly, I don’t know much about them, maybe I’ve already got some prejudice there from the media). While skimming the last part of the book I felt I was being talked down to, not inspired, and I just wanted to give the book a big ol’ eye roll. Yes, the author is clever in his presentation, but I think he’s the only one who finds himself amusing. Point for the author: He’s got a dachshund though according to the author information on the back cover.

If you’re interested in this book I’m happy to pass it along, I’ll be sticking with Eat, Pray, Love (which I absolutely adored!).

On a different book note, I borrowed a great book from my mom, Art of Racing in the Rain – I am talking this book up to everyone that I know. If you’ve ever had a dog (especially a “good dog”) or known a good dog, you must read this book. Told entirely from the dog’s point of view, this is a story of a dog and his devotion to his owner / family, and their life through the good and bad. I often stay up at night to read when Dan goes to sleep and so many points brought on such emotion I wanted to wake him up to discuss! But I didn’t, instead I’m waiting for him to read this book. Enzo, the dog in the book, is truly deserving of a “Good Dog” title – he is thoughtful and eloquent and now I look at Jackson and wonder if he thinks in a similar fashion.

Ok, enough about the books for today. I do have knitting to finish up – hoping to post about that tomorrow!