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B. Kinnari

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I Am Hutterite: The Fascinating True Story of a Young Womans Journey to Reclaim Her Heritage
I Am Hutterite: The Fascinating True Story of a Young Womans Journey to Reclaim Her Heritage
by Mary-Ann Kirkby
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Memoir Without Bitterness, 13 May 2010
I am Hutterite, by Mary-Ann Kirkby is a memoir. As a reader, I often find myself bored when reading memoirs, but this book was an exception. I had a hard time putting it down, and read it througfh from start to finish with only one short break when twilight made the room I was reading in too dark to continue. Once I settled in again at the kitchen table with better light, I continued on to the end.

What was it about this book that kept me turning pages? It begins with a man martyred for his religious beliefs back in 1536. Those beliefs were taken from the second chapter of Acts in the Bible, where it says, "All that believed were together, and had all things in common; and sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need".

Although Jacob Hutter, the founder of the Hutterite Church, was marytered, along with many others, those who survived carried on. From its roots in Austria, the group eventually found refuge in the Russian Ukraine, then fled from there to the United States. Many left the United States and moved to Canada during World War I because of their pacifist beliefs, and it is in Canada that Mary-Ann's story begins.

Growing up in a Hutterite colony, Mary-Ann (then called Ann-Marie), enjoyed abundance, security, and safety. While she knew the "English" (non-Hutterites) were different, everything she wanted was within the colony. However, her father and uncle were at odds with each other, and this eventually led to her family leaving the colony.

Outside the colony, Mary-Ann and her family were lonely, and the children were shunned at school because of their differences. Even making sandwiches and packing a lunch for school was a new experience for Mary-Ann and her mother.

Mary-Ann had to find her place in the English world at a time when she was also coming of age. For her parents, finding a way to feed a family of nine was a bigger challenge. Mary-Ann's father had an eight grade education and nothing but an old truck and camper when they left the colony.

Finding forgiveness for wrongs done by Mary-Ann's uncle is as important to the family's survival as finding a way to feed everyone. Mary-Ann's parents do find forgiveness through their faith in God.

Rather than drawing critical conclusions about the way she was raised, Mary-Ann is able to show respect and honor for her roots, while finding a way to fit in with the ways of the English outside the colony. This book does not have a trace of bitterness in it. It's an inspirational and thoughtful book from beginning to end.

Thank you to Thomas Nelson Publishers, for providing me with a free copy of this book.

Digging to America
Digging to America
by Anne Tyler
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!, 23 Aug. 2007
This review is from: Digging to America (Paperback)
As an adoptive parent of two children born in Korea, and as a foreigner living abroad myself, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. My sister in law, a native in the country in which I have lived for the past fifteen years, and who has never been a long-term foreign citizen anywhere, did not understand this book. She was almost apologetic when she loaned it to me, but she thought I would like it because of the two characters who were adopted from Korea. I, on the other hand, loved Digging to America from cover to cover.

When Marjam said that she will always be a foreigner--both at "home" in Iran, as well as in the USA--I knew I had found an author who understood what it is really like to be transplanted. That it involved Korean adoption seemed to be a secondary theme.

If a person doesn't care for this book, it will be because they either lack the empathy to understand what it's like to be a foreigner in a different culture, or because they believed it to be a book about Korean adoption when it's really about something much deeper than that.

A must read for anybody who has struggled with their identity as a result of having changed countries and cultures.

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