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Books

Furlong, Saloma Miller. Why I left the Amish: A Memoir. Michigan State University Press, 2011.

There are two ways to leave the Amish — one is through life and the other through death. When Saloma Miller Furlong’s father dies during her first semester at Smith College, she returns to the Amish community she had left twenty four years earlier to attend his funeral. Her journey home prompts a flood of memories. Now a mother with grown children of her own, Furlong recalls her painful childhood in a family defined by her father’s mental illness, her brother’s brutality, her mother’s frustration, and the austere traditions of the Amish — traditions Furlong struggled to accept for years before making the difficult decision to leave the community. (Goodreads)

Janzen, Rhoda. Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home. New YorkL Henry Holt, 2009

A writer/academic returns to her Mennonite roots for healing after several life-changing experiences sending her reeling and in need of help. Warm and witty, she portrays the puzzling and exotic aspects of Mennonite life as an outsider.

Miller, Lucinda J. Anything But Simple: My Life As a Mennonite. MennoMedia. Harrisonburg, Virginia. 2017

Part of the Plainspoken series, Anything But Simple is the stirring memoir of a young woman’s rich church tradition, lively family life, and longings for a meanigful future within her Mennonite Faith.

Showalter, Shirley Hershey. Blush: A Mennonite Girl Meets a Glittering WorldAvailable Amazon.com, 2013.

Little Shirley Hershey, named for a movie star, grew up with her nose pressed to the window of the glittering world. Three locations shaped her a family farm, a country school, and Lititz Mennonite Church. She later became a college president and then a foundation executive, but the rosy-cheeked, barefoot farm girl never quite disappeared.

As Willa Cather said, Most of the basic material a writer works with is acquired before the age of fifteen. This childhood memoir tells the story of a girl who might have left the church but found another way. (Credit: Amazon Books)

Snyder, Lee. At Powerline and Diamond Hill: Unexpected Intersections of Life and Work. Scottdale: DreamSeeker Books, 2010.

Writing out of a conservative Mennonite background, Snyder provides sketches of her childhood years in Oregon with loving parents who helped ground her in a strong faith. Her stories include her sexual abuse early in life along with her journey to become the first woman president of Bluffton College. Honest and insightful in tone.

Weaver-Zercher, Valerie. The Thrill of the Chaste: The Allure of Amish Romance Novels. Available Amazon.com.

Valerie Weaver-Zercher combines research and interviews with devoted readers, publishers, and authors to produce a lively and provocative examination of the Amish romance novel. She discusses strategies that literary agents and booksellers use to drive the genre’s popularity. By asking questions about authenticity, cultural appropriation, and commodification, Thrill of the Chaste also considers Amish fiction’s effects on Amish and non-Amish audiences alike

Wiebe, Katie Funk. You Never Gave Me a Name: One Mennonite Woman’s Story. Scottdale: DreamSeeker Books, 2009.

After dealing with the illness and early death of her husband, she describes the roadblocks she faced in her journey to establish herself as a single mother and writer to be taken seriously within a culture that decades ago required women to be silent and subordinate. Still writing in her eighties.

Blog

Ann Hostetler, professor of English at Goshen College, Indiana

Blog: http://www.mennoniteliterature.blogspot.com

Shirley Hershey Showalter, born in Lancaster County, PA, former professor and retired president of Goshen College; weaves her personal story with other sources

Blog: http://www.shirleyshowalter.com/blog