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Why I Left the Amish: A Memoir

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Fascinating and Heartfelt Memoir

Ms. Furlong's memoir takes us inside the rural life of the Amish in Ohio; a life ruled by the men of the community. Growing up in an abusive and dysfunctional family, the author suffered many indignities before summoning the courage to embark on a new life in Vermont, ...
Ms. Furlong's memoir takes us inside the rural life of the Amish in Ohio; a life ruled by the men of the community. Growing up in an abusive and dysfunctional family, the author suffered many indignities before summoning the courage to embark on a new life in Vermont, a place she had only visited in magazines and in her own imagination.

As an outsider, or someone considered "English", I didn't know much about the Amish culture before reading this book. I always considered them to be peaceful religious people who worked the land and didn't participate in wars or use modern technology. Their sense of community seemed to be the cornerstone of their peaceful existence. And let's not forget those beautiful quilts we all covet.

It never occurred to me that even within this group there could exist a caste system and tolerance for abuse -- emotional, physical and sexual -- with little or no protection for the young women of the community. Every facet of the author's life as a young Amish woman was training for subservient community life with no concern for individual pursuits. As her anger at her situation grew, so did her desire to create a life of her own.

How wonderful for Ms. Furlong that she was able to meet so many people that would assist her in finding her way in the world. As she became more mature and confident, she was able to return to the Amish community for her father's funeral with far less trepidation than one would expect.

If you'd like to learn more about the Amish life, Ms. Furlong's book raises the curtain for a peek inside this culture and religion in her fascinating and heartfelt memoir. The author's courage is uplifting and I look forward to reading the next installment of her journey. Lynn Kimmerle

posted by Lynie on October 29, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Recommend

This book was the story of the author's struggle between the world she was born into and the one she was meant to be in. We learned in Saloma's words of her troubled family life, the abuse she endured and her father's mental illness. Yet we also got to see both the posi...
This book was the story of the author's struggle between the world she was born into and the one she was meant to be in. We learned in Saloma's words of her troubled family life, the abuse she endured and her father's mental illness. Yet we also got to see both the positive and negative sides of Amish culture. I got a lot of insight into a culture unknow to me. I was thrilled to see her courage to make the tough decision to leave and glad she found people on her journey to help her.

posted by LisainNJ on August 28, 2011

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  • Posted October 29, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Fascinating and Heartfelt Memoir

    Ms. Furlong's memoir takes us inside the rural life of the Amish in Ohio; a life ruled by the men of the community. Growing up in an abusive and dysfunctional family, the author suffered many indignities before summoning the courage to embark on a new life in Vermont, a place she had only visited in magazines and in her own imagination.

    As an outsider, or someone considered "English", I didn't know much about the Amish culture before reading this book. I always considered them to be peaceful religious people who worked the land and didn't participate in wars or use modern technology. Their sense of community seemed to be the cornerstone of their peaceful existence. And let's not forget those beautiful quilts we all covet.

    It never occurred to me that even within this group there could exist a caste system and tolerance for abuse -- emotional, physical and sexual -- with little or no protection for the young women of the community. Every facet of the author's life as a young Amish woman was training for subservient community life with no concern for individual pursuits. As her anger at her situation grew, so did her desire to create a life of her own.

    How wonderful for Ms. Furlong that she was able to meet so many people that would assist her in finding her way in the world. As she became more mature and confident, she was able to return to the Amish community for her father's funeral with far less trepidation than one would expect.

    If you'd like to learn more about the Amish life, Ms. Furlong's book raises the curtain for a peek inside this culture and religion in her fascinating and heartfelt memoir. The author's courage is uplifting and I look forward to reading the next installment of her journey. Lynn Kimmerle

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 11, 2011

    Highly recommended if you enjoy learning about different groups of people

    Saloma Miller Furlong's book "Why I left the Amish" introduces you to a way of life which appears to be lost in a previous century. Mental health issues, brutality, incest and strict conformity are all part of everyday life. A thirst for education cannot be appeased, because schooling stops after 8th grade. If you do not follow the prescribed rules of the community you will be ostracised. Men exhibit power over women, since they are considered to be lesser humans. It is a very closed community, and has it's own mores, which differ from those which most American families subscibe to.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 28, 2011

    Recommend

    This book was the story of the author's struggle between the world she was born into and the one she was meant to be in. We learned in Saloma's words of her troubled family life, the abuse she endured and her father's mental illness. Yet we also got to see both the positive and negative sides of Amish culture. I got a lot of insight into a culture unknow to me. I was thrilled to see her courage to make the tough decision to leave and glad she found people on her journey to help her.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 20, 2011

    Fascinating Story

    A fascinating story about a dysfunctional family that happens to be Amish. Ms Furlong has a delightful way of telling her story going between the present and past while interweaving bits of Amish customs and belief. M. Furlong is a remarkable writer and woman who survived her childhood and blossomed in adulthood. I am grateful to her for sharing her story.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2014

    Good but not the best

    This was an interesting read. Not the best amish story out there, I have read many amish books that were better than this one. The story is good, and at time very shocking and tense. But the biggest downfall here is how its put together, jumps around a lot, skips many important moments. And just isn't writen with a good flow. Again good story just put together horrible.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2013

    Good insight to living in the amish world

    It amazed me some of the things they keep hidden from what they call the English world. They have the same issues we all have bit it's apparent if they don't say anything it will go away. The abuse is mind boggling to say the very least. Domestic violence,molesting,it happens in everyone's world
    its eye opening
    Enjoyed reading it to learn about Amish

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2012

    Good story


    Worth reading.

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  • Posted August 20, 2012

    Extraordinary Courage

    The Amish life is filled with much that is good, but we live in a world of duality, and Saloma's story shows us the other side, the dark side of being in a community separate from the "English" where education beyond the eighth grade is forbidden, and physical and mental health support is difficult to reach. The author demonstrates extraordinary courage, faith, and determination as she seeks answers to life's deepest questions about God, family, and self. It takes an entire book to explain why she left the Amish. It's a story each one of us can relate to when it comes to being true to our own unique path in life. This book is a must read for anyone seeking to "know thyself" on a whole new level.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2012

    When I was a child, I often would view a painting and imagine I

    When I was a child, I often would view a painting and imagine I stepped into it. In her book, "Why I Left The Amish", Saloma Miller Furlong has carefully made a painting of her early life and allowed us to step into it and see fully, without censure, what she experienced. We can then thoroughly understand the choice she made to the Amish. She did not just become English. she excelled and graduated from Smith College, one of the most prestigious colleges in the nation. Saloma's family was dysfunctional. She endured things that no child should endure. Yet, she was the only one who saw the good in her father and who ever spoke of the good things he did and despite all the horrors she endured she gave her brother a chance to redeem himself. That surely evidences the Amish way. of heart. This book will help someone who needs to leave the Amish. It is not for someone who wants an easy peaceful read about typical Amish life.

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  • Posted June 7, 2012

    Saloma Miller Furlong’s book, Why I Left the Amish: A Memo

    Saloma Miller Furlong’s book, Why I Left the Amish: A Memoir, is interesting, informative, revealing and realistic. Ms. Furlong narrates her story from two perspectives, one as an Amish child and the other, from that of an adult who has left the Amish community, but who has returned for her father’s funeral. Her style gives the reader realistic insights into a community of very real people, stripped of the romanticized version that is often portrayed in Amish bonnet fiction.

    For some unknown reason the general population seems to equate the “simple” life of the Amish to a life without the problems and strife that plague the rest of the human race. The author reveals that nothing could be further from the truth. In Saloma’s family there was severe physical abuse, emotional abuse and sexual abuse. A woman’s life is very difficult. Women and girls must submit to the will of their fathers, husbands and even brothers. Birth control is not practiced and women must raise large families that can physically and emotionally deplete them. The physical labor of keeping house without electricity and labor saving devices is an arduous and never ending task. Education ends after eighth grade so there is no chance for personal fulfillment if a woman wants to continue her education and have a career unless she leaves the closed Amish community. Saloma had to make that difficult choice.

    Saloma’s memoir is one women’s journey of self-discovery and making peace with her past. I highly recommend this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2012

    I bought this book after hearing Mrs. Furlong speak to a standin

    I bought this book after hearing Mrs. Furlong speak to a standing room only crowd about living and leaving the Amish community. The book is a very honest portrayal of the good and bad of the Amish life. She details the yearning of having an education beyond the 8th grade, her determination not to be confined to the community--but to travel, and her frustrations of not being able to question the rules of the church. She give us insights into the Amish community that only someone who has lived in it could relay. She tells an honest story of many forms of abuse and mental illness that affected her family and the response by the Amish community.

    The book is written in a conversational style--as if the author is personally sharing her story with you. I read the book in 3 days and could not put it down. I am looking forward to the sequel of what life was like once she was able to be free and live her life her way.


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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2011

    Interesting story

    All the Amish stories I have read were always sweet,gentle,love stories about a community that serve God and love one another. This was quite the opposite.It was quite disturbing to read some of the details that occur in some of the Amish families. I am praying that this story reflects only a small percentage of the families. I Love reading about the amish because of their facinating way of life. In my heart I was hoping that they were different than the "real world".

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2011

    Highly Recommend

    This was a very good read. Finished it in two days!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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