Friday, May 15, 2015
Book Review: "Called to Be Amish," by Marlene C. Miller
About the book:
Fewer than one hundred outsiders have joined the Old-Order Amish -- and stayed -- since 1950. Marlene C. Miller is one of them. In this rare memoir, Marlene recounts her unhappy and abusive childhood, how she throws herself into cheerleading and marching band, and how she falls in love with Johnny, the gentle young Amish man who helps her lace her ice skates.
Against the wishes of both sets of parents, Marlene and Johnny get married and begin a family. Follow the author on this unusual journey to find out how God's love called her out of bitterness and depression and into the warm embrace of her new Amish community.
Accompany her as she dons an Amish dress and prayer covering and gets baptized. Learn how she endures the strain of ten children, a hundred-acre farm, and accidents and tragedy, and find out how she comes close to walking away from it all. Turning Amish has proven to be anything but plain and simple for this former majorette. But nearly fifty years later, Marlene is still living out God's call as an Old Order Amish woman.
I've always been fascinated by the Amish, so I jumped at the opportunity to read this book to see what it's really like to live the Amish life. This very honest memoir describes a lifestyle of extremely hard work and many sacrifices. At first, Marlene seems to jump at the chance to marry Johnny and eventually join the Amish because she is yearning for the closeness of a family that she didn't experience in her dysfunctional childhood. But, for most people who join for that reason, the hard life would eventually make them return to their former life. Although Marlene endured many tragedies throughout the years, including the death of a son, serious accidents of several children, the loss of their home and more, her deep faith in God kept her going and convinced her that she was meant to be Amish. She admits that many of her grown children (she has nine living) have turned away from the Amish faith (and one son is even in prison), but she continues to find purpose and joy in being Amish, and mourns the loss of a lifestyle that appears to be on the decline. The Amish continue to fascinate me for their commitment to their principles and never shying away from hard work. This is an important book in understanding the Amish culture from someone who has lived it for most of her adult life.
About the author:
Marlene C. Miller joined the Amish as an adult and has been a member of the Old Order Amish for almost 50 years. She and her husband of 48 years live on a farm in Ohio surrounded by their nine children, more than 40 grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book to facilitate my honest review. All opinions are 100% my own. This post contains my Amazon affiliate link.