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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, perhaps the same ones that Mary-Ann Kirkby was part of, and would always come home with his arms full of chicken, eggs, bread and other fruits of the industry of the Hutterites. They became his...
Published on July 6 2010 by Johanna

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting life
This memoir enlightens us to the hidden world of communal living practiced by more than 10,000 Hutterites living on the prairies. Mary Ann Kirby writes of her life from childhood living in a Hutterite Community and through her young adolescent years after she left the colony when her parents "ran away".

This is a very educational read. It is a narrative, a...
Published on Sept. 12 2009 by Patricia G.


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5.0 out of 5 stars A lovely read!, July 6 2010
By 
Johanna "Jan" (Kelowna, B.C. Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: I Am Hutterite: The Fascinating True Story of One Woman's Journey to Reclaim Her Heritage (Paperback)
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, perhaps the same ones that Mary-Ann Kirkby was part of, and would always come home with his arms full of chicken, eggs, bread and other fruits of the industry of the Hutterites. They became his friends, and I often saw them uptown, although I was too shy to talk to them. Now, in Mary-Ann's well-written and absorbing account I feel like I have made a new friend. Despite the human flaws of some of its adult members, life on the colony for a small child was a happy protected haven where love could grow, and despite the difficulties of adapting later to the outside world, I feel Mary-Ann is the richer for it. I feel her book is a valuable contribution to the history of Western Canada, and an aid to understanding these other-wise reclusive people. As someone who has myself spent eight years living in community as a nun, I identify in part with some of her experiences. Although ultimately I left my community as well, it was a wonderful formative, humorous, mystical time that will always remain with me. People who are gathered together, sharing deeply felt beliefs and goals based in love, can only help make our world a better place. My recently published memoir, entitled 'Graffiti On My Soul' is also available on Amazon for those who like to read of a different life, a different time, a different place. Johanna
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4.0 out of 5 stars I am Hutterite, May 22 2010
By 
Emma Rose (Alberta, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: I Am Hutterite: The Fascinating True Story of One Woman's Journey to Reclaim Her Heritage (Paperback)
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. She paints a powerful picture of the lives of the individuals that have impacted her during this impressionable stage. Ms. Kirkby allows us to understand the decisions made by the Hutterite in their chosen approach to life. We are permitted an in-depth look at the clothing, relationships and religious passion that makes up the colony. In order for this detailed examination, Ms. Kirkby exposes her inner most fears and joys in a passionate fashion that creates a bond between the reader and the author. We are able to picture not only of the depiction mentally but physically as well.
This novel answers the questions that I have had in regards to the Hutterites. While I find it disturbing in places on how different their lives are from conventional society, I find it a breath of fresh air to know that the same difficulties arise in their lives as in the lives of what is considered a typical lifestyle.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting insight into an unknown culture, Jan. 14 2011
This review is from: I Am Hutterite: The Fascinating True Story of One Woman's Journey to Reclaim Her Heritage (Paperback)
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. The author shares her story and her memories in a very personal way and takes you along on her journey through childhood in the Hutterite community. It moves along well and keeps you coming back. My only comment, and what prevented me from giving it five stars, is that it felt a little "light" by the end. I learnt lots but it could have benefited from a little more information about the culture as she was going through it. Although I know it was a personal story, I found I wanted to know more about what made some of the characters tick? What was behind some of their believes and lines in the sand on certain issues? In a few cases we hear that some one did such and such but we never really get to understand why. I'd recommend this though, you won't be disappointed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I can't wait to read it again!, July 11 2010
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This review is from: I Am Hutterite: The Fascinating True Story of One Woman's Journey to Reclaim Her Heritage (Paperback)
I must tell you I loved this book! I could not put it down. I learned so many interesting things about the Hutterite culture. I had no idea that they pooled their resources and shared their assets. I love that each member of the community has a job to do and that the function of the colony is so well organized. I actually found myself thinking that Hutterite living just might be a great idea (then I remembered how much I love my ipod and my SUV).

I highly recommend reading I am Hutterite. The only thing I didn't like about the book is that it ended and I wanted the story to go on.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful look into not only the good sides of the ..., July 27 2014
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Unbelievable incite into Colony and segregated life from mainstream society and the emotions felt when a family leaves that lifestyle and works to make it on their own. Wonderful look into not only the good sides of the Colony lifestyle but also the bad. Wonderful, emotional story that made me want to reach out and hug the little girl the Author used to be. A book I couldn`t put down.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a new appreciation, March 22 2015
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When I lived in Alberta I would see Hutterites in my community and wondered what their lives were like. I now feel Ike I have spent time with one family and have come to appreciate the communal lifestyle, the politics and the joys and frustrations of being Hutterite. I am glad that Mary-Ann has written this wonderful book and that I had a chance to read it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A terrific read!, July 13 2014
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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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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I am Hutterite, by Mary-Ann Kirkby, May 20 2010
This review is from: I Am Hutterite: The Fascinating True Story of One Woman's Journey to Reclaim Her Heritage (Paperback)
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.

In 1969 he decided to leave, even knowing that was the most shameful thing a Hutterite could do. He had no money or bank account. He took care of the cows for the colony, keeping records of the livestock, but when he asked for one cow that request was denied too.

His daughter, the book's author, was nine years old at the time.

Life went from the busy, bustling community to the loneliness of a single family in a dilapidated house, from fresh food to outdated groceries that were cheaper. The family adapted to their first phone, baseball and McDonalds. And Mary-Ann struggled to "transform from a Hutterite nobody to an English somebody" - all the while caught between two very different worlds.

Readers may have a little difficulty telling who's who and keeping track of all the people involved, and the story isn't as dramatic as, say, Carolyn Jessop's "Escape". At times it was a little slow-moving, but then I'd come across an anecdote like this:

"Hutterite dresses didn't have pockets, so most of the women used their bras to store small items such as hairpins, safety pins and Kleenex. Esther, Annie reported, carried tea bags and sugar lumps that way too. When an outsider dropped in to see Esther's husband, she sent one of her children for him and offered the stranger a cup of tea, nonchalantly pulling a tea bag and two sugar lumps from her bosom.

When she asked whether he took cream, the flabbergasted businessman jumped out of his chair and cried, "No thanks!" as he fled the scene."

Worth reading, I'd say.
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4.0 out of 5 stars I love reading true stories, Sept. 17 2014
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This review is from: I Am Hutterite (Hardcover)
I love reading true stories, and I Am Hutterite is proving to be very enjoyable and giving me a glimpse of a simpler life and a perhaps more fulfilling life, compared to the life that many of live in our technological society.
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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
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This review is from: I Am Hutterite: The Fascinating True Story of One Woman's Journey to Reclaim Her Heritage (Paperback)
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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