Friday, April 27, 2007

Book Review: Crossing Over

April 27, 2007

Subtitled One Woman's Escape from Amish Life, this book by Ruth Irene Garrett leaves me feeling cheated. I simply don't trust her narrative. In her account, she leaves her abusive,stifling Amish family at age 21 for a 43-year-old, thrice-divorced, 450-lb. non-Amish man. (Of course, she prayed before she did this and apparently God told her this was OK.) Her life is then filled with letters from her family, which are supposedly reproachful but which mostly sound sad to me. (And why, exactly, is she sharing all these private letters, anyway? They don't add to the story.) I'm not saying she didn't have an authoritarian father, and I concede that the Amish belief system is legalistic. My beef is that this book seems to be a thinly disguised forum for a "poor me, I'm a victim" narrative. Also, she really takes Scripture and yields it as a dangerous weapon, justifying her behavior with all kinds of out-of-context verses. Methinks Ottie needs to get off his 400-lb. butt (according to the author, he is on a diet and has lost 53 lbs.) and get a job. And the author needs to deal with her demons in a less public forum.

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