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I Am Hutterite: The Fascinating True Story of One Woman's Journey to Reclaim Her Heritage [Paperback]

Mary-Ann Kirkby
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 1 2010

In 1969, Mary-Ann Kirkby’s parents did the unthinkable. They left a Hutterite colony near Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, with seven children and little else, to start a new life. Overnight, the family was thrust into a society they did not understand and which knew little of their unique culture. The transition was overwhelming.

More than 40,000 Hutterites live on 400 colonies throughout the U.S. and Canada’s Prairie provinces. Spiritual cousins to the Mennonites and the Amish, this 500-year-old culture with European roots has been in North America since the late 1800s, yet few outsiders know anything about its customs or traditions.

I Am Hutterite

takes you inside Fairholme Colony, where Kirkby spent the first ten years of her life. Her detailed portrait of Hutterian people opens a window on a closedcommunity and reveals a way of life that seems extraordinary to the outside world.

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Product Details

Product Description


"A superb memoir... this has the makings of a prairie classic." - AWARD JURY, SASK BOOK AWARDS

"Honest, strong, clear, direct, it opens the door on what has been for so many of us a completely closed world." - WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Journalist and award-winning author MARY-ANN KIRKBY covered aboriginal issues for CTV and served as media relations consultant for the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations. She has won Can-Pro Awards for political reporting and for hosting a children's program. Kirkby lives in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan with her husband and son.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A terrific read! July 13 2014
By Gramsie
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I loved the in depth look at a culture that seems so 'off the grid', to me. Mary-Ann presented her story in such a way that she brought out the good, the not-so-good and the human side of the Hutterites. If you have ever been curious about the Hutterites and their Colony's this is the book for you.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars July 11 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed the book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting July 7 2014
By Norma
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Was a good read, written to be an easy but kept interest . Always interesting to learn how others live and their believes.
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4.0 out of 5 stars but then got better. Could not put it down June 29 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Sarted off a little confusing with the characters, but then got better. Could not put it down.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Book I've Read in a Long Time... May 17 2010
Mary-Ann Kirkby is a wonderful writer. Once I started reading this book, I could not put it down. Reading her memoir is like reminiscing with a close friend. Having grown up in Winnipeg, I often saw the Hutterites in the Sears and Woolco department stores, and wondered about these odd people who looked like they stepped out of the 18th century. My grandparents knew a lot about the Hutterites, given our family's German Baptist heritage. Looking back, it is amusing to think the the Hutterites would have thought of my very strict, religious grandparents as being "English". Mary-Ann's account gave me a pretty good idea of what life was probably like for my great great grandparents in the German farming communites in Poland and Russia. All in all, a wonderful book, probably the best I have ever read.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly wonderful story Dec 5 2013
We were talking about books one night and my neighbour handed me I Am Hutterite by Mary-Ann Kirkby and he said, "You must read this." So I did. What a wonderful read this was! Heartwarming, honest and beautifully told, this was a fascinating glimpse into a part of Canadian culture that is generally hidden and misunderstood by the rest of us "english." All of it was so vividly described that I found myself wanting to sit around the communal kitchen and share in those mouthwatering meals, or attend a wedding, or walk down those sandy paths. I Am Hutterite is pure joy and I would recommend it to anyone.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I am Hutterite, by Mary-Ann Kirkby May 20 2010
Did you know of a community of people called the Hutterites? Nearly five thousand strong, living in both the United States and Canada?

I didn't either, until I read this book. It was sent to me for review by Thomas Nelson. Kirkby tells the story of her family, lifelong Hutterites, who eventually left the shelter of their colony and struggled to make a life for themselves in the outside world.

The main principle governing Hutterite life is the sharing of food and property. Meals are cooked communally - "twenty-five dozen buns and fifteen loaves of bread" for one colony each week. Men meet regularly to discuss major purchases which will be used for everyone's good.

Like so many things in life, this has positives and negatives. No one goes hungry, but there's no much chance of a private life either. And one day, the needs of Mary-Ann's family conflict once too often with the wishes of the colony's minister.

But the book actually starts with Mary Maendel, the author's mother, and her marriage to Ronald Dornn. While this wasn't fast-paced or dramatic, it was fascinating to read because it described the Hutterite mindset, daily life and history in detail. It's like an adult, German-influenced version of "Little House on the Prairie".

One warning, though. If you're going to try this book, please have some food on hand. I got really peckish after reading about soft cheese sprinkled with caraway seeds and waffles soaked in whiskey.

Mary Dornn's marriage resulted in seven living children, the youngest of whom was only four when her husband cut his ties with a community where his family was fed and protected but where he had almost no autonomy. For instance, he was denied permission to take a trip to visit his sisters in Ontario.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A compelling read May 15 2010
I am Hutterite by Mary-Ann Kirkby is an autobiographical look at life as a Hutterite. Mary-Ann Kirkby spent the first 10 years of her life living in a Hutterite colony until her parents chose to leave because of political problems. She then must find a way to fit into the rest of society as she grows into an adult.

This story really did read like fiction. It was interesting, well paced and a great read. I'd not known much about the Hutterite community before this and thanks to Kirkby, I have a much better understanding of their beliefs and their ways. I even found myself sometimes thinking that that kind of life wouldn't be so bad. I fell in love with many of the people she described. I especially enjoyed that it takes place in Manitoba. Being Canadian, I love reading books about or by other Canadians. This book made me smile and left me wanting more.

I received this book for free from Booksneeze in exchange for an impartial review.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars I Am Hutterite
Good description of life on a colony. Well written. Great book to help you visualize the setting, emotions and daily life of the people.
Published 12 months ago by Jeanette Viola
5.0 out of 5 stars I Am Hutterite: The Fascinating True Story of One Woman's Journey...
Mary-Ann has portrayed the Hutterite culture in a personal way. I was so happy to learn of this book from a Public Health nurse who has in her territory a Hutterite colony close... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Janice Nachtigall
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Service
Ordered this book just before Christmas and it came in the mail shortly and in perfect shape. It was my first order on Amazon and I am now a Amazon shopper.
Published on Jan. 16 2012 by Lane Jane
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting insight into an unknown culture
Like other reviewers I found this to be an absorbing read with fascinating insights into a culture that is not well understood or known by most people. Read more
Published on Jan. 14 2011 by Long Canadian Winter
4.0 out of 5 stars great insight
a great book and a learning experience into another culture.I come away from the book with a better understanding of other ways of life. Fabulous!
Published on Sept. 14 2010 by avid reader
5.0 out of 5 stars I can't wait to read it again!
I must tell you I loved this book! I could not put it down. I learned so many interesting things about the Hutterite culture. Read more
Published on July 11 2010 by Thomas C. Scott
5.0 out of 5 stars A lovely read!
I Am Hutterite left me with a warm feeling in my heart. My father built refrigerated coolers for a number of colonies in southern Alberta and Saskatchewan in the 50's and 60's,... Read more
Published on July 6 2010 by Johanna
4.0 out of 5 stars I am Hutterite
I was given this book by Thomas Nelson to review. The author, Mary-Ann Kirkby recounts her time within the Hutterite colony as a child. Read more
Published on May 22 2010 by Emma Rose
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