Growing up in rural Missouri we had a large Amish Mennonite community. A few of the children attended the local public school but left after the ninth grade. I imagine they left because they were needed back home on the farm. These girls kept to themselves in school, so I didn’t have the opportunity to socialize with them. But I have always been fascinated by their religious cultures; a way of life other than my own Christian Nazarene upbringing.
That is why I was excited about reading Plain Wisdom by Cindy Woodsmall and Miriam Flaud. Plain Wisdom is a collection of short stories told by the unlikely friendship of Cindy, a modern city woman, and Miriam, an Old Order Amish woman. I was hoping this book would shed insight on the way of life of the Old Order Amish but sadly this book didn’t deliver on that promise.
I found the book lacking emotion in the stories. Take out the fact that the Old Order Amish don’t use any form of electricity and these stories could have been told by anyone of us. I could not get over the “too much unimportant information” in these stories, which made the stories even that more boring. At one point I wanted to stop reading this book halfway through…I was falling asleep!
If you want a positive review, here it is: The book wasn’t all bad. Although I knew that the Amish in generally are very hard working. It’s part of their community and life. Imagine preparing supper or dinner for 110 people without the aid of an electric hand mixer. This is a common event. The Amish are also a community that comes together in a time of need, even helping an Englisher in their time of need. When those same Englishers have shunned them in the past, the Amish help anyway. They take “love thy neighbor” to a whole new level! Not many of us can say that.
I do like this little tidbit from Cindy: “Finding peace with our imperfect world and its imperfect people isn’t always easy, but if we don’t find a way to let go of our stringent ideals of how things should be, we’ll never be free to enjoy the greatest gifts life gives us.” I liked this quote so much I wrote it down.
It pains me to say it but Plain Wisdom just didn’t hold my interest enough to pass the book on to a friend.
Disclaimer: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.
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