If you’ve ever wondered about Amish who leave their faith, then you’ll want to read Growing Up Amish, A Memoir by Ira Wagler. The author recalls his childhood and maturity into manhood through his Amish environment. Written from a different perspective than other Amish books, Ira did not have a happy home life and rebelled within the strictness of his community. He gives a bitter account of live within the isolated community and discusses everything from birth order, sibling rivalry, bullying, rebellion and church values. Most times, Ira’s words are filled with bitterness and disappointment for his family and Amish living.
I found the book to be an interesting view, though I was often offended by Ira’s detachment towards his family and community. Most books on Amish create images of serenity, simplicity and unity- and this book was far from the Amish way of living as we know it. Many times while reading the book I saw how the rebellious boy did not have a heart for his family and community. He was disconnected and his resentment shows up through his writing. The book is worth reading because it presents a different look from inside the Amish community. Ira is a good writer and captures the reader’s attention from cover to cover with his boyhood adventures. The memoir is a bit like Tom Sawyer in the Amish community!
About the Author
Ira Wagler was born in the small Old Order Amish community of Aylmer, Ontario. At 17, frustrated by the rules and restrictions of Amish life, Ira got up at 2 am, left a note under his pillow, packed his duffel bag and left. Over the course of the next 5 years, Ira would leave and return home numerous times, torn between the ingrained message that abandoning one’s Amish heritage results in eternal damnation, and the freedom and possibilities offered by the “English” world. Upon becoming a Christian at age 26, Ira left the Amish for good. He is currently general manager of Graber Supply, LLC and Pole Building Co. in Lancaster County, PA.
*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Tyndale House Publishers as part of their blogger review 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.” Click here to find out How to Become A Book Review Blogger.