Monday, May 24, 2010

Book Review: I Am Hutterite

I received a copy of the book I Am Hutterite for review recently from the publisher Thomas Nelson. I was intrigued by the book's cover photo and the idea of learning about the Hutterite community through a memoir.

I found the beginning of this book to be far from a page turner. The author attempts to retell the story of generations before her. I experienced a strong disconnect between myself and the text. I found the timeline hard to follow and the voice of the author lost in the pieces of narrative that she has tried to piece together.

The memoir really begins to take shape almost a third of the way into the story, as the author retells her personal story growing up in a Hutterite community. The stories and tales offer glimpses into an otherwise private community. I was fascinated to read about the Hutterite traditions of marriage, parenting, and even the mundane daily tasks. The author takes the reader through the small joys of daily living, a deep tragedy suffered by the family, and through the many conflicts of living in community. The reader follows this family as they leave the Hutterite community and make their own way into living and functioning as a family apart from the Hutterite community. The author, in many ways, shares her deep desire to recapture her Hutterite memories and ways of life as she tells her life after the family's exile.

The author is able to strike a chord of resonance in her audience by revealing how deeply ingrained a person's childhood circumstance and family is into one's identity. While my childhood greatly differs from one growing up Hutterite, it seems clear to me that I am in some way defined by my parents, siblings, church, and childhood experiences. I believe the book's greatest impact comes in the epilogue where the author writes, "The Hutterite culture has defined me in ways that can never be erased. In my heart, I will always remain a Hutterite."

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Intersting review. You stated your opinion well and to the point. This is one of the few 'less then positive' reviews I've read concerning this book...and I've read dozen...I was born and raised on a Hutterite colony. Still live in one actually. I have my personal review of this book posted on my blog...