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.
- recommended for those interested in Amish life practices and thought
the long and winding road...
evocative of aspects of my own family history, i took great interest in Ira's faith and life journey. a memoir of Ira's personal insights into Amish life, leadership, family, activities, worship. controversial, i'm sure, to those of the Amish communities, but the insider's view that answers many of the questions outsiders want to ask. it left me wanting to know more...
- Disappointingly Shallow
The book was a superficial recounting of I did this next and then I did that next and then I was angry and felt trapped and then I ran away again. I kept waiting for him to engage with his life, to grab ahold of his experiences and learn from them, to learn the basic lessons of forgiveness and the steps to repairing relationships, to learn to seek out truth and transparency, to quit dodging and pirouetting away from difficult things. It's really sad to see so many opportunities for life just wasted. Also, whenever he imagined what others were thinking about him, which was often, he assigned very negative thoughts to them, but he never checked his assumptions out with them. If you want to learn the details of how an alienated, oppositional, self-centered, youth grows up, written with very little self-knowledge or understanding of the choices he was making, then, this is your book. In the last 10 minutes of the 7-hour+ book, he says he met Christ and was cleaned from his guilt and fear of going to Hell. Well, that is a good thing, but I would recommend that future listeners skip the first 7 hours and go straight to the end.
- Growing Up Yes, But Nothing More.
This was a captivating book to listen to. The reader did a very good job of keeping pace and setting the tone, and I feel the reader actually made the story more interesting than it probably was had I read the hard-copy.
The story while a current release, is more than 20 years old, focusing mostly on his childhood and teenage years. The story then abruptly stops, still twenty years ago, and leaves you thinking this man ultimately chose the Amish/Mennonite lifestyle. Which he did not. After researching ever so slightly on the internet about the author, I found that he has been married and divorced, and that he is not one bit Amish or Mennonite. So what happened? What happened to his faith? And why did the story not continue to wrap up his entire life in the book? Did he continue in the direction of taking over his dads newspaper writing? Is his dad still alive? Why was Sam so upset at him that he would sever all ties with a man that everyone else in his life has chosen to forgive? Just so many things left unanswered. And then it ended.
The majority of the story was all about him leaving home and church, and returning. Constantly leaving and returning. After a while it got so tiring hearing about him leaving the Amish yet again, I almost quit listening. We get it, he left and returned about fifteen times. How about you consolidate those events and bring in more of the past twenty years into the book? And wrap it up nicely with a "where I am now" bow.
Overall it was an entertaining book that I couldn't turn off I so eagerly anticipated knowing more. But the story never developed. And before I knew it, it was over. Sadly, the English don't get to hear such first hand accounts about the Amish lifestyle very often, so it is unfortunate that the story had so many holes and cliffhangers.
I have faith that the author has more to tell, and I believe he has the gift of writing. He just needs to learn to evenly space out the events and complete the timeline within the book.
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- A good listen for a limited audience
I related to this story, but perhaps not in the expected way. I grew up a Baptist Fundamentalist in Catholic Brazil. My father was the minister of our struggling congregation. We were "The Believers" and anyone not a Baptist was "of the World". I couldn't wait to get out from under! I became a rabid atheist at age 20, and it was not until age 40 that I discovered God again, now outside of organized religion.
Wagler's story, even if rambling and repetitive at times, is pleasant to listen to. I think that it would appeal to anyone raised in a cult-type atmosphere.
- Wonderful story with great narration
'Verner’s strong, midwestern tones capture this memoir so authentically that we feel as if the author is reading his meandering reminiscences.'