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.
In this personal and moving memoir, Furlong traces the genesis of her desire for freedom and education and chronicles her conflicted quest for independence. Eloquently told, Why I Left the Amish is a revealing portrait of life within - and without - this frequently misunderstood community.
The book is published by Michigan State University Press.
"Furlong is relentless and even fearless about describing what went wrong within her family and her community. She relates in painful detail...although there are universal lessons here about the problems inherent in living inside an isolated, closed religious community, it's important to separate out those problems from the more personal problems inherent in particular families." (Bill Tammeus, Faith Matters; columnist for the
National Catholic Reporter)
"Readers thirsty for a primer on Amish life will enjoy the detail, description, and insider knowledge. Yet lurking behind customs and practices outsiders label quaint and admire for supposed simplicity are powerful forces of control, chauvinism, and cruel constraint exposed by Furlong." ( ForeWord)
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