I Am Hutterite, by Mary-Ann Kirkby
The Fascinating True Story of a Young Woman's Journey to reclaim Her Heritage
Imagine growing up within a community so close, it's more like a huge extended family...where the pressures and distractions of the outside world don't exist...beautiful gardens, sandy paths, simplicity. Then imagine being taken from the security of structured order and routine, family, friends, all that you'd ever known and being thrust into a world that is cold, judgmental, strange and confusing. Where people laugh at your strange way of speaking, make fun of your social ignorance, and send you a Valentine's Day card (when you'd been home sick for weeks) that says "I hope you never come back." Imagine discovering yourself amongst the jumble of pieces found in two realities...this is Mary-Ann Kirkby's true tale.
I had never heard of the Hutterites before, but found the brief history provided in the book to be absolutely intriguing. Kirkby's talent for story-telling, which she must have inherited from her Uncle, kept me riveted to each page and hungry for more. It was almost as if she were right there, telling the tale herself. Perhaps growing up in an area heavily populated with Amish made this book more appealing to me, but I think anyone who has ever felt rejected, alone, and out of place will find this true tale of a young Hutterite girl (and the intrigues of Hutterite colony life and family...which at times were every bit as interesting as a television soap opera or sitcom) fascinating and encouraging.
Mary-Ann Kirkby learned many important lessons from her heritage and from her family's exodus from colony life. Her artful and humorous descriptions of life on the colony, full of hard work, simple living, and faith in God give us a glimpse into this reclusive sect. And chronicling the smoldering resentment and bitterness between her brother and her husband teaches an important lesson in forgiveness.
I highly recommend this book! In fact, I'm reading it again...this time around I am reading it aloud to my 9 year old daughter at bedtime and she is finding it just as fascinating as I did. My only disappointment is that the book is not longer! I wanted to know more about her life and her heritage...and so, we plan to research the Hutterites this summer. I'm also suggesting that our local library add this delightful tome to their shelves. Many thanks to Mary-Ann Kirkby for sharing this wonderful, and at times, heartbreaking, story of her life.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com