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Growing Up Amish: A Memoir [Kindle Edition]

Ira Wagler
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

New York Times eBook bestseller!
One fateful starless night, 17-year-old Ira Wagler got up at 2 AM, left a scribbled note under his pillow, packed all of his earthly belongings into in a little black duffel bag, and walked away from his home in the Amish settlement of Bloomfield, Iowa. Now, in this heartwarming memoir, Ira paints a vivid portrait of Amish life—from his childhood days on the family farm, his Rumspringa rite of passage at age 16, to his ultimate decision to leave the Amish Church for good at age 26. Growing Up Amish is the true story of one man’s quest to discover who he is and where he belongs. Readers will laugh, cry, and be inspired by this charming yet poignant coming of age story set amidst the backdrop of one of the most enigmatic cultures in America today—the Old Order Amish.

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1344 KB
  • Print Length: 283 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.; Reprint edition (June 28 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1414339364
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414339368
  • ASIN: B0051CC7LC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #113,202 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, Heart-Wrenching Memoir July 6 2011
I could not put this book down - and I'm sure my facial expressions gave my inner emotional turmoil away as I read it! Ira Wagler's honest view of 'growing up Amish' from one who tried so hard to be a 'good Amish kid & adult' but never quite fit, and never quite found his place was heart-wrenching. The struggles were so raw as he explained them - through rebellion, attempts to conform, fears of being condemned eternally, the feelings of being 'stuck' and the conflicting emotions of considering being shunned - that I could not help being drawn in.

This is possibly one of the best memoirs I have read - I was so drawn in that I would love to know more... and yet, I also, strangely, had just enough information from Ira to be satisfied as I finished the last page.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heart breaking and honest Jan. 14 2012
I can honestly say that I haven't been this emotionally gripped and moved by a book in a long time. This is a harrowing and ultimately triumphant narrative.

Ira Wagler grew up Amish and left and returned multiple times. This book is the story of that journey with all the despair and a final triumph at the end. I think this memoir is as fair as it can be - considering that the writer ultimately rejected his Amish roots for the outside, he does not universally condemn his former community. But he does criticize some things, and the things he feels could not be lived with will of course be the most controversial elements in this book.

The greatest success of this memoir is its convincing portrayal of the emotional and spiritual life of the protagonist. The prose is efficient, not wasting time layering adjectives in an attempt to provide adequate description - rather he uses the right words and the right number of words.

Perhaps you could criticize the emotional closure that is provided at the end as too tidy and unrealistic. Closer scrutiny will show this is not the case, however. The only closure is the final peace that comes with acknowledging the Amish are not his home. The rest of his journey can only continue.

p.s. The reviewer that said the writer didn't explain why he left the Amish either didn't read this book or is illiterate. That's all I can say.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Enjoyable Ride June 16 2012
I enjoyed this portrayal of the struggles of an young Amish man as he repeatedly tries to leave the group he grew up in.

Ira does a fantastic job conveying his complex personal history. He writes with remarkable passion and depth of emotion. His memoir is accessible to anyone who has a passing knowledge of the life of the Amish. He's a pretty good story teller--he tightly packs emotions into words that endear the reader. He's pretty good at picking out details, stories, characters, and anecdotes that help to illustrate and adorn what he is saying.

Though I've never been Mennonite or Amish, I did grow up and spend a portion of my Christian life within another less radical Anabaptist group. And while I would certainly not pretend to have had a similar experiences, I can relate to some aspects of this memoir.

Ira has long, strange tale to tell, one which will help those who are parsing similar experiences or just want to understand the Amish and their discontents. I will never again be able to see the buggies that traverse the dusty county roads of New York state in the same light.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent! Bring on the sequel! May 21 2012
By GeRiMe
"Growing Up Amish" is a poignant story of one man's journey to freedom and personal identity. While not Amish, I grew up Mennonite and understand the strong ties--both good and bad--that grab the heart with a strangle hold. The rich culture of forgiveness, if one surrenders to the rules ,and the strong sense of family and community are powerful, and painful to leave behind! Yet, the rules suffocate the life out of those who cannot adopt, who dare to question and who simply cannot surrender to the mind control. Those of us, who by nature are communicators, intellects and adventuresome, cannot fit the mould. Besides being a gifted and articulate writer, with the ability to captivate the reader, Ira Wagler did an outstanding job of telling the good, the bad and the ugly without slandering his people. I laughed, I cried and, at moments, felt angry. The book came to life in my hands and my heart! Thank you Ira!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and Informative Feb. 18 2012
This is an easy to read and understand book concerning the Amish way of life. It is quite informative in a respectful way. Can be humorous but kind. Enlightening and enjoyable to read especially as it is the true life story of the author. I would certainly recommend it for everyone teen and up.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A fairly written, interesting read Nov. 19 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book was an easy to read and respectfully written account of a young man's childhood and struggle to find spiritual peace. I liked that I could sympathize with all parties, not just the author but also his parents and siblings and feel for the impairments they all faced as a result of growing up bound within the narrow confines of this society. A few elements were missing a bit imo. While alluding briefly to general discontent and missing the stability of home, it still felt like a somewhat abrupt decision that he returned home on several occasions given the angst he had just went through to leave. I wanted to read more about the struggles he encountered trying to fit into his new English life when he was on the outside. One surprise for me was when Ira alluded to his religious conversion close to the end of the book. In that respect, I felt very surprised that the devout Amish church leaders had not previously clarified that he had such an experience already. It appeared that he became a baptized member of the Amish without being what religious people typically refer to as a born again Christian. Just wondered to myself how common this may be in the Amish community, in that it is more of a commitment to the traditions and church, than actually to `God'. Lots of interesting thoughts to take away from this book.
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