Thinly-disguised as fiction, this excellent book by Ms Naylor presents an unbiased view of the Amish lifestyle in America. She examines their belief system, traditions, morals, religious and social goals all in highly readable language. Enhanced by the captivating pen and ink sketches of George Armstrong, this book soon gives up the pretense of plotline, expanding frankly into non-fiction. A reader could almost drown in so much researched material, but a real Amish family could read this work without qualms, as their values are given without "English" prejudice.
Fourteen-year-old Simon Stolzfus prefers book learning to farming; why can't he take pride in the simple, homespun occupations which satisfy his brothers? For generations the male patriarchs have cultivated a strong sense of family and land usage in harmomy with Nature. Is it right for the youngest brother to keep Simon's secret? Naylor leaves us wondering at the end how Benjamin, the grieving patriarch, will handle the explosive situation of his son's flagrant disobedience. Is compromise possible or the death knell to century-old tradition? What happens when a small Society begins to wink at its own prohibitions? And what happens to Amish youth who can't--or won't--fit into the predetermined niche? The verdict is yours--will you decide for young Simon or for the venerable patriarch?