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.
I couldn't quite figure out my feelings on this book. It was better than OK but not quite "I liked it" so, trying to be optimistic, I rounded up. Learning about the Old Order Amish in Iowa was eye opening -- not quite the characters I read about in my dearly loved Beverly Lewis novels. I take my hat off to Garrett for having the strength to write about her exodus and the strife that went with it, and probably still continues today. She and Rick Farrant did a nice job of bringing the story to us but I think I would have liked to have known more about her family (other than how good they were at using guilt and intimidation).
Personally, I like to read fiction because it always wraps up so nice and neat. Real life isn't that convenient. This was my second book in Amish non-fiction this month. I think I'll stay in the fiction world.