If you want to learn something about Amish culture, this book will not work for you. I deal with the Amish at markets, in their saddle and quilt shops, and have gone to their farms to purchase hay and canned goods, and as someone who has lived near Amish communities in three states, I found this book to be very sad. I hesitate to say "one-sided" as of course, she can only tell about the life she led, and as she says, her Old Order Amish family was extremely strict even by their own standards. I'm sure these people are like the rest of us, some good, some bad. You won't learn about Amish ways in this book, as she even admits she has no idea why some things are done. I took a course at Penn State on the history of Germanic peoples in America, including Mennonites, Hutterties and Amish, and the book "The Riddle of Amish Culture" by Donald Kraybill explores in depth the why of their way of life. This author would do well to read it too. It might clear up a few things for her.
R. S. reviewed Crossing Over: One Woman's Escape from Amish Life on
Helpful Score: 10
This is a very personal story. Still, since there's so little opportunity to see inside such a unique and closed society I found it worthwhile. There were a good many very specific examples of what Amish experience was like for one family and community.
I wouldn't take the family Garrett describes as typical and I'll look forward to other accounts of Amish society to complete my education.
tani reviewed Crossing Over: One Woman's Escape from Amish Life on
Helpful Score: 7
Anyone who likes Beverly Lewis' books on the Amish will find this one interesting, as it takes up the "shun" and many other cultural and religious matters that Lewis takes up in her novels. The case of old-order Amish who leave is rather different from the situation of people in other, modern, religions that stress "being separate from the world," in that the Amish generally live in all-Amish communities and have limited opportunities to know anything else.
Lewis' books mainly show Amish life in a positive light, though touching on some of its difficulties and unreasonableness (such as the mistrust of Bible study and the havoc that can be wreaked by a dogmatic local religious leader), but this book--being the story of one who chose to leave--reveals a lot of the negatives.
Started off very nicely. But the farther I went, the more I realized I was bored. She was very short on details of ANY kind, and truly, I am not talking about "dirt." No details. I would have been quite annoyed had I paid for this book.
I was somewhat disappointed in this book. For me there were not enough in depth details. It was like expecting a roast beef dinner to find that what is being served is the soup bone. Many aspects of Irene's life are skimmed right past. I never felt that I truly understood the reasons for her strong desire to leave the Amish way of life. Her descriptions of adjusting to the "English" way of life are funny and makes a person realize how isolated the Amish really are from the world that exists around them.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The author tells a fascinating story about her life within an "Old Order Amish Community", as well as her new life and marrige outside of the community.
I knew that the rules were very rigid inside the Amish Community, but I never really knew the intricasies and the strictness of an "Old Order Amish" community, that is, until I read Irene Garrett's book. I didn't know that there were different sects of the Amish way of life.
Living in Somerset County, PA, I am more familiar with the life of an Amish and a Mennonite community that does not seem as severe as an "Old Order Amish" community, but then again, I am one of "The English" and do not know as much about their way of life as I probably think that I do.
That being said, this book definately held my attention, making it a very good and a very quick read.
This short biography discusses how the protagonist left life among the Amish (the only life she knew) to be with the man she loved. The book discusses what it was like for this woman to be abandoned by her family and community, as well as the difference between the religious ordinances/conformity among the Amish and the spirituality this woman was allowed to explore when she left the Amish.
Interesting to take peak inside an extreme Amish culuture. Makes some of us "English" ponder the thought, "How can they think they're the only ones going to Heaven when they judge so harshly & will shun their own?". Good read into a life I'm glad I don't live.
A rather disappointing book on the whole. Hearing about her Amish life was interesting--although she doesn't go into great detail about it--but how she left it was really rather gross:
**** SPOILER ****
Don't read farther if you don't want to know details of the book!
**** SPOILER ****
The fact that she "fell in love" with an old, broken-down, grossly fat, unemployed guy that was 30 years older than herself--AND he'd been married 3 times already!!!--is just plain yucky.
He was the first adult man who treated her with kindness and it seems like she jumped for it. Here she is painfully grateful to be doted on for the first time ever, so she doesn't mind that they live in practically a shack, no income, and he can barely walk because of his gout. Ewwwww.
Hey, maybe it's a match for them, but it turned out to be one I didn't enjoy reading about whatsoever.
Strictly my opinion... this book sort of disappointed me; but then I mostly read the "made up" stories, so this personal experience book was not quite as indepth. I also felt that Irene fell for the first guy that paid any real attention to her, due to her very strict upbringing. She was miserable being around her father who was extremely strict in his upbringing of his children - evident by the way she describes her sister and mother. She had a hard choice to make in leaving her mother whom she loved dearly. I was also disappointed in how the book ended, it was rather blunt and I never got a complete feel for what her life in the Old Order Amish was really like. But it was evident that her past continually hounded her because of her immediate family sending horrible letters to condemn her. The rest you will have to find out for yourself... Happy reading!
An interesting tale of one woman's exit from a very strict (old-order) Amish community. Because it was her story it was one-sided, and didn't really delve into the Amish faith as much as I'd anticipated, but more about her personal beliefs. I admire her courage.
Very nicely written. A lot of the details I already knew though from previous reading about the Amish and my own visit to an Amish community in Iowa (not sure if it may have been hers or not). Though if you are a "newbie" to the Amish world and want to know more information, this is the book for you. Also talks a lot about the ban (being shunned) from her community.
A samll but interesting read.the author was the 5th of 7 children raised in Kalona, Iowa. born into a rigid Old Order Amish family,she wasa brought up in a very strict family. this book offers a look into the shunning that the Amish do to their blood family if they break the rules.
Ruth Irene Garrett was the fifth of seven children raised in Kalona, Iowa as a member of a strict Old Order Amish community. She was brought up with rigid rules and intense secrecy in a world where the dress, buggies, codes of conduct, and way of life differed from that of other Amish societies a mere one hundred miles away. Her community uncompromisingly avoided all interaction with "the English" -- everyone who lived on the outside. As a result, Ruth knew only one way of life, one way of doing things.
This compelling true tale offers a striking look inside a hidden community as a woman comes to terms with her discontent and ultimately leaves her family, faith, and the sheltered world of her childhood. She bravely crosses over to a new and unfamiliar reality in hopes of better understanding her emotional and spiritual desires. The result is a powerful and inspiring story -- a search for meaning and the extraordinary lessons learned along the way.