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Growing Up Amish: A Memoir

Average Rating 3.5
( 83 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(24)

4 Star

(33)

3 Star

(13)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(9)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

20 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

Amish Must Read

I have always loved reading and hearing about the Amish life. There are several reasons for this. I grew upon a farm in Indiana. My parents became Christians when I was five. With no one to guide her in her walk, my mother decided it was better to err on God's side....
I have always loved reading and hearing about the Amish life. There are several reasons for this. I grew upon a farm in Indiana. My parents became Christians when I was five. With no one to guide her in her walk, my mother decided it was better to err on God's side. Board games, dancing of any kind, and most television shows became off limits or a sin. My books and comic books were scrutinized. My mom's first question whenever I told her about a new friend was, "Are they a Christian?" I had few friends growing up because they did not fit into my mom's "category" of what a Christian was. I worked on the farm just as the Amish do. When we moved to Florida I learned that what we called a garden the people down here called a truck patch or small farm. I learned how to can and freeze fruits and vegetables. We smoked our own meat. In the winter we filled a concrete tub in our 'milk house' up with snow and put perishables in it. It was a tough life yet one I miss.

It may be these memories that have always drawn me to Amish fiction. I can see so many parallels. I was thrilled to read Ira Wagler's book Growing Up Amish. In this book we get a look at the "real" Amish. Not the ones so often written about in romance novels, which make the Amish come across as a people who do, or think no wrong. We find a man who has struggled to find where he truly belongs. He wanted to be a part of the Amish world he was born into, yet felt it was not for him. At age 17 he left his Amish home in Iowa. He later returns, and must admit all of his sins to the congregation before he is allowed to join the church. He tries, but still doesn't seem to feel as if he is where he should be. I can only imagine how difficult it must have been to once again make a decision to leave his Amish life. He subjected himself to this pain many times before leaving for good.

The pain of being shunned by everyone you know is hard enough. Their belief is if you left the church then your soul was headed for damnation. I was happy to learn that Ira finally asked God about his situation and got an answer. He found salvation outside of his Amish culture. Unfortunately it is not only the Amish that are like this. We see this in many denominations. They become so legalistic that it seems they forget what Jesus was all about. I thank God each and every day that his love for us is not based on a set of laws. We see where that got people in the old testament.

This book is a great look at the Amish. However, I believe the message I it is clear. We all need to take a look at our lives and ask if we are where God wants us. If not then maybe we need to talk with him to find out where he wants us to be. I do find it funny when I think about how they try to separate themselves from the English. When we get to heaven Go is not going to separate us, say, "You Baptist over there and You Amish over here. We who have found salvation through Jesus blood are all God's children and he has prepared a home for us in heaven, together.

This is a must read book for anyone who enjoys learning about the Amish.

posted by skstiles612 on September 4, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

Interesting but a bit anti-climactic

I purchased this book and tore through it with great interest. It was an honest, open and heart felt account of the author's intense personal struggle of choosing one way of life over another. I empathized with him throughout the book and found myself far from envious...
I purchased this book and tore through it with great interest. It was an honest, open and heart felt account of the author's intense personal struggle of choosing one way of life over another. I empathized with him throughout the book and found myself far from envious of his predicament of having to choose between personal freedom to live his life as he chooses in the modern world, with all of it's excitement, danger and opportunity or the security of family and a faith tradition that was stable but contrary to what his heart told him was best for him. The reason I give it three stars is that unless I missed an important detail, I found it anti-climactic in the sense that there was no mention of what his relationship with his Amish family is now, which leaves the reader wondering if he's been all together shunned or if there is nominal familial contact (though there were hints in the book that make me tend to believe it's the latter). Enjoyable and insightful all the same and I definitely recommend it.

posted by TimInBrooklyn on August 12, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2012

    meandering story

    Wagler's story started out interesting, but I soon tired of his soul-searching and seemingly aimless quests for life outside the Amish community. I really never fully understood his life experiences, the influential people he met were never fully woven into his story: what did he learn about living among the "English." Then when he made the final decision to leave his fiance and the community was like he outgrew an old coat to be tossed aside with little regard to emotional toll on the fiance and family. In the end, I had no sympathy for his situation since his story was like a man-child searching and not knowing where his life was taking him.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 13, 2011

    Amish Unplugged

    When you hear the word "Amish" you instantly think of the furniture, the dark clothing, and the rustic lifestyle. In Growing Up Amish: A Memoir by Ira Wagler, the author takes you inside the Amish world.
    Reared as the youngest boy in a family of eleven children, Wagler knows no other way that the rigid simplistic life of his faith and the Amish way of life. However, this boy as he transitions to manhood yearns for the world outside the confines of his community.

    Wagler ventures out to discover the true ways of the world only to be outcast from his community. Throughout the journey Wagler comes home to reconnect with his roots only to realize that he must carve out his own path to discover happiness, success, and himself. He chronicles the adventures the challenges life throws his way from being shun from his community to losing his beloved. All the while he stays strong and moves forward to a new day.

    Growing Up Amish: A Memoir by Ira Wagler is a candid tale of a young man's odyssey into manhood.

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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