Why I Left the Amish: A Memoir Info

Explore new releases and best sellers in politics & government, sociology, social sciences, and philosophy.Read reviews, ratings and answers about your favourite author and books. Here you will find multiple options to download or read Why I Left the Amish: A Memoir by Saloma Miller Furlong. Don't feel like Why I Left the Amish: A Memoir is the right title# Check our community reviews and make the right decision.


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.


Average Ratings and Reviews
review-bg

3.79

658 Ratings

5

4

3

2

1


Ratings and Reviews From Market


client-img 4
62
23
20
12
5
client-img 3.9
6
7
3
1
1
client-img 3.46
183
176
55
4
0

Reviews for Why I Left the Amish: A Memoir:

5

Apr 08, 2012

I am from Lancaster county, Pennsylvania. It is normal to see Amish people where I live since there is a pretty big population here. However, even though I was born and raised here, I don't know much about the Amish other than the little bits my dad told me.

I read this book because the author of it was coming to the Hershey library. I missed her visit, however, I still wanted to read her book. Since I don't know much about Amish life, I did learn a lot from reading her book. I think, more than I am from Lancaster county, Pennsylvania. It is normal to see Amish people where I live since there is a pretty big population here. However, even though I was born and raised here, I don't know much about the Amish other than the little bits my dad told me.

I read this book because the author of it was coming to the Hershey library. I missed her visit, however, I still wanted to read her book. Since I don't know much about Amish life, I did learn a lot from reading her book. I think, more than anything, this book shows that the Amish are just like anyone else and have their share of problems.

The author, Saloma Miller Furlong, grew up in a dysfunctional family and had a mentally ill father. She knew from a very young age that the Amish life was not for her, but she still tried to do what was expected of her. She tried to accept the Amish ways, that this was just the way life was. But in the end, she couldn't accept it. She wanted to learn more, have freedom and not be in fear every day of her life.

Reading this book was very thought-provoking for me and it was also very hard to put down. I very much like the way the author writes. It draws you right in and you can picture everything in your head that she describes. I also at times really felt like I was there, like I was in her head and in her shoes. It was very well-written and inspiring and I highly recommend to anyone interested in the Amish, or those who like memoirs.

It was an amazing book that I won't be forgetting. I actually wish that it was longer, that is how much I liked it. ...more
3

Mar 16, 2012

What is it about the Amish culture and religion that intrigues us? Is it the romance of a simpler lifestyle? The pastoral scenes of horse drawn buggies with barefoot children in quaint clothing? Their self-sufficiency and industrious work ethic? Unless we live among or work beside the Amish we probably don't have a realistic picture of what it means to be Amish. Thanks to Saloma Miller Furlong we move in with and sit elbow to elbow with one Amish family. We share their family life and are What is it about the Amish culture and religion that intrigues us? Is it the romance of a simpler lifestyle? The pastoral scenes of horse drawn buggies with barefoot children in quaint clothing? Their self-sufficiency and industrious work ethic? Unless we live among or work beside the Amish we probably don't have a realistic picture of what it means to be Amish. Thanks to Saloma Miller Furlong we move in with and sit elbow to elbow with one Amish family. We share their family life and are introduced to their fear based church dogma that requires community over individuality, unquestioned male authority / female subordination and living off the grid. It is also Saloma Miller Furlong who pulls back the veil and exposes what we as outsiders would consider abuse and hypocrisy within the Amish culture.

Many would claim the Millers to be a dysfunctional family. But are we not looking from the outside in? As an Amish family steeped in Amish tradition they seem to be abiding by and upholding the rules of their faith community. Is incest an accepted practice for the Amish? It would seem so, for certainly on one in authority put a stop to it. Is untreated mental illness the norm? Is violence and inflicting physical injury to one's children a father's role?

So where, if not from her family or her religious community, did Saloma find the insights to question her Amish culture? Saloma seemed to know from a very young age that the lifestyle she was living was not a lifestyle she would choose for herself, yet the fear of eternal death bound her to her community for nineteen years. Whether it was her personality, her rebellious nature, her desire for further education, her need to make her own choices, her exposure to the outside world, or all of these or more, Saloma is to be commended for her bravery when she left the Amish.

I have esteemed and romanticized the Amish. Saloma answers many of my questions, including, "are there Amish trailer trash?" and "what about the Amish who are not industrious?" So, after reading this book, I must admit my sentimental, nostalgic, pastoral picture post card of the Amish is just that, a snap shot and not the big picture. This is a bitter sweet admission. ...more
4

Jan 06, 2016

My mom gave me this book because it is written by one of my relatives, so I figured I'd give it a shot but didn't expect much.
I was really surprised to find such a engaging, honest story. As someone who knows very little about the Amish culture, I learned so much from this book that was both interesting and heartbreaking. Saloma writes clearly and confidently about some very difficult experiences that sadly many people who experience abuse can relate to.
I'd definitely recommend this book to My mom gave me this book because it is written by one of my relatives, so I figured I'd give it a shot but didn't expect much.
I was really surprised to find such a engaging, honest story. As someone who knows very little about the Amish culture, I learned so much from this book that was both interesting and heartbreaking. Saloma writes clearly and confidently about some very difficult experiences that sadly many people who experience abuse can relate to.
I'd definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in how background and culture influence decisions made in the face of trauma. ...more
2

Jul 01, 2012

WHY I LEFT AMISH, a memoir, is written by a courageous woman who has a good story to tell but lacks the finesse to make the book anything more than a competent chronicle. The book needs considerable editing, but since its already in print, its too late. Nevertheless, the story reveals life behind the Amish curtain, which is edifying. The authors father was not an exemplar of the best of Amish tradition. He was brutish, her elder brother sadistic, and the violence inflicted on the children, WHY I LEFT AMISH, a memoir, is written by a courageous woman who has a good story to tell but lacks the finesse to make the book anything more than a competent chronicle. The book needs considerable editing, but since it’s already in print, it’s too late. Nevertheless, the story reveals life behind the Amish curtain, which is edifying. The author’s father was not an exemplar of the best of Amish tradition. He was brutish, her elder brother sadistic, and the violence inflicted on the children, particularly the sisters, drove the author away. The stories she tells about these Anabaptists (the name means “re-baptized,” because the Amish, like the Mennonites, must choose to be baptized as adults) allow us a glimpse of this closed community. When “Lomie,” as the author is called, finds herself unwilling to sacrifice her individuality for the community, she bolts. She is about 20 when she leaves, and she plans her departure with remarkable patience and precision, particularly for someone whose world has always been so confined. Among the exceptions to this confinement are the strange dating customs, that have young couples sharing a bed as part of each rendezvous. How this complies with rules of a chaste youth is puzzling. There were times when vignettes felt like non-sequiteurs. They didn’t seem to lead anywhere. No doubt that was my fault, for reading this in the wake of a series of fine crime novels, filled with plot twists and cliff-hangers. There is no suspense here, just a n intriguing story. Given that it’s written as a memoir, the self-referential tone throughout can be forgiven. But others have written of similar trials and tribulations without needing to stay so firmly in limelight. That must sound unfair. I’m sure it is unfair. But I like reading good literature. This is merely a good story. Had an editor stepped in (or stepped in more diligently), the writing might have improved. ...more
2

Jun 05, 2012

(this book was recommended to me by the author)

This memoir reminds of "The glass castle" - a family life that is so astoundingly dysfunctional that one fears to believe it's true. I don't doubt that its true, and I'm impressed that the author seems to have as much love and forgiveness as she has (as opposed to the bitterness I found in "Growing up Amish").

That being said, I found this compelling story hard to read - and not for the subject matter. Written in a semi flashback method, I found the (this book was recommended to me by the author)

This memoir reminds of "The glass castle" - a family life that is so astoundingly dysfunctional that one fears to believe it's true. I don't doubt that its true, and I'm impressed that the author seems to have as much love and forgiveness as she has (as opposed to the bitterness I found in "Growing up Amish").

That being said, I found this compelling story hard to read - and not for the subject matter. Written in a semi flashback method, I found the flashbacks occasionally jarring, and the lack of chronology confusing. Add to it the fact that the book charges at you with no set up (introduction of the who, when where, "I was the second oldest of 7" type setting up) I found keeping track of people incredibly difficult.. (I think she only once says there were 7 children... The siblings come in and out of stories and are very difficult to keep track of - with the exception of Joe, the eldest child, the other siblings pop in and out with such irregularity that I couldn't keep track.) I also question the detail of the memories of her early childhood... perhaps its because my early memories are not nearly that clear...

Her choice to leave and her leaving was depicted very well - her fear of hell, of the impact on her family, her naivete once in the "English" world. I think the tail end of the book was the best and most cohesive.

The book could have used a sterner editor - one that could have encouraged a "set-up" introduction of the family, and one that kept the stories focused a little better - the author's familiarity with the subjects was all to clear in the stories -- too bad the audience isn't as familiar! ...more
4

Dec 29, 2014

This is the memoir of Saloma Miller Furlong, returning to her Amish community for her father's funeral after having left 24 years earlier. Her journey home brings back a flood of memories of her painful childhood: a mentally ill father with a violent temper, an abusive older brother, and a mother who rarely tried to protect her. She also reflects on the events that led up to her deciding to leave and start a life of her own, at the age of 20, in Vermont.


This book is a very interesting and This is the memoir of Saloma Miller Furlong, returning to her Amish community for her father's funeral after having left 24 years earlier. Her journey home brings back a flood of memories of her painful childhood: a mentally ill father with a violent temper, an abusive older brother, and a mother who rarely tried to protect her. She also reflects on the events that led up to her deciding to leave and start a life of her own, at the age of 20, in Vermont.


This book is a very interesting and unromanticized look at the darker side of life within the Amish. That's not saying of course that all Amish families are dysfunctional of course, in any society, you are going to have people at both ends of the "good and bad" scale. But with the Amish living a more sheltered life, a lot of that abuse and dysfunction is hidden from the outside world.


One of Saloma's sisters is intellectually disabled, but it was barely touched upon in this book. I would have liked to have known more about her disability, when it was discovered, and how the family dealt with it, and why as an adult, she was living in a group home in another state.


Even with all the author had been through, she does not write with bitterness about the Amish, and she does share a few stories of what she admires about them.


This book left me wanting to know more about her life after she left, so I am looking forward to reading the rest of her story in "Bonnet Strings", in which she writes about what happened after she arrived in Vermont, and her struggles with feeling as if she were in between two worlds. ...more
3

Aug 20, 2014

Ms. Furlong is brutally honest in this memoir. Incest, physical abuse, and animal cruelty all make their appearances.

I got a kick out of the digs she'd sometimes slip in about her parents. Several times Mem's wide girth, "large hips nearly filling the doorway", and Det's lack of intelligence (and teeth) are mentioned. It's clear she still (understandably, they were rotten parents) holds a grudge.

It was interesting reading about her Amish upbringing, and her family that was dysfunctional even by Ms. Furlong is brutally honest in this memoir. Incest, physical abuse, and animal cruelty all make their appearances.

I got a kick out of the digs she'd sometimes slip in about her parents. Several times Mem's wide girth, "large hips nearly filling the doorway", and Det's lack of intelligence (and teeth) are mentioned. It's clear she still (understandably, they were rotten parents) holds a grudge.

It was interesting reading about her Amish upbringing, and her family that was dysfunctional even by Amish standards. I would have liked to know a few more details, such as why the kids attended a public school rather than a private Amish school.

I found the dialogue between characters extremely jarring. It's clear that conversations are put into the book to enlighten the reader. I would have preferred Ms. Furlong to just write that information into the book rather than have the wooden conversations.

I bet her sons were mortified when they read the brief descriptions of their parents "passionate" love making. That's one detail I could have done without. ...more
4

Aug 13, 2012

Growing up in a dysfunctional family, Saloma Furlong faced a hard choice - endure the abuse or leap across a big cultural gap to the outside world... in this memoir, she poignantly describes her pain as well as her successful transition and eventual reconciliation with her family.

Furlong draws you in with familiar images of Amish life... but goes on to reveal serious social problems that other more romanticized accounts of the Amish neglect.

This is a remarkable and gripping memory of a female Growing up in a dysfunctional family, Saloma Furlong faced a hard choice - endure the abuse or leap across a big cultural gap to the outside world... in this memoir, she poignantly describes her pain as well as her successful transition and eventual reconciliation with her family.

Furlong draws you in with familiar images of Amish life... but goes on to reveal serious social problems that other more romanticized accounts of the Amish neglect.

This is a remarkable and gripping memory of a female growing up within the Amish community... Furlong offers her readers a highly accessible but focused introduction to the centuries old traditions and practices in the community, the often painful dilemmas they produce, and the tale of her own remarkable escape and life-long response to those dilemmas.

Saloma Miller Furlong was born and raised in an Amish community in Ohio, which she left in her quest for freedom and a formal education. She graduated from Smith College in 2007 and currently works in the German Department and European Studies Program at Amherst College. ...more
5

Dec 12, 2015

I read this for the Just For Fun Challenge which encourages reading one book that has been on the TBR shelf for a long time and without doing a review. I still rated this book though and I enjoyed it.
2

Jan 02, 2012

Miller Furlong is not the most polished writer, but she did provide a portrait of Amish life that showed chinks in the idyllic armor. I was particularly interested in how mental illness was dealt with in her Amish community.
2

Jul 02, 2011

The writing was pretty difficult for me to read at times, especially the choppy dialogue. But overall the book was okay, and I'm glad I finished reading it even though I seriously considered stopping four or five times during the first 100 pages.
3

Jul 31, 2012

This is a very compelling memoir. No-one in their right mind could really fault the author for leaving the Amish after reading this---she grew up in a household that would be dysfunctional in any culture, and it sounds like she has had a good life after an awful childhood, and I am glad of that.

The writing is a bit stiff here. Sometimes, there are so many details about something fairly unrelated to the main story that it gets frustrating, and sometimes, there are mere mentions of issues that This is a very compelling memoir. No-one in their right mind could really fault the author for leaving the Amish after reading this---she grew up in a household that would be dysfunctional in any culture, and it sounds like she has had a good life after an awful childhood, and I am glad of that.

The writing is a bit stiff here. Sometimes, there are so many details about something fairly unrelated to the main story that it gets frustrating, and sometimes, there are mere mentions of issues that seems huge, and I would like to know more about. I can understand the author might want to leave some things out for privacy of those involved, but that doesn't seem to be the case here, as she will tell what is surely the most shocking part of an incident, but not what lead to it or what resulted from it.

I still found this much worth reading, however, for an unusual glimpse into Amish life that was not whitewashed or unbelievably romanticized as so much of what is written about the Amish seems to be. ...more
4

Jan 12, 2013

This dragged a little at times but overall was a very compelling memoir of a woman who grew up in a dysfunctional Amish family and finally broke free and left on her own. Saloma's father was abusive, her mother was an enabler of that abuse, and her brother committed incest against both her and her sisters, getting her younger sister pregnant with an incestuous baby. The community knew of these atrocities but did nothing. The Amish were painted a very bad light in this book. There is emphasis on This dragged a little at times but overall was a very compelling memoir of a woman who grew up in a dysfunctional Amish family and finally broke free and left on her own. Saloma's father was abusive, her mother was an enabler of that abuse, and her brother committed incest against both her and her sisters, getting her younger sister pregnant with an incestuous baby. The community knew of these atrocities but did nothing. The Amish were painted a very bad light in this book. There is emphasis on how they were forced to conform, how they were told that individual thinking was a sin, how women had no power and were subservient to men, and how they had no choice in following the community's rules and would be shunned if they left or fought back or spoke their minds. It sounded like hell on earth, and I will never look at the Amish the same way again. Something surprised me – the fact that there was a lot of premarital sex and the Amish community and that out of wedlock pregnancy was common. I really related to the author and her anguish and was very happy to read that she was very happy in her life with her husband and son many years later after she left the Amish and started setting up a good life for herself. A very enlightening book ...more
4

Aug 16, 2012

I enjoyed this book.

It is a walk hand in hand with the author while she struggles to decide what path in life is best for het. I found the information of the Amish culture startling. I always thought they were a gentle, loving people. Based upon the abuse and disfunction in the authors childhood, I am now rethinking my opinion. I find myself wondering if this is a somewhat "normal" practice due to the severe dominance of the men in the community.

I like to walk away from reading a book feeling I enjoyed this book.

It is a walk hand in hand with the author while she struggles to decide what path in life is best for het. I found the information of the Amish culture startling. I always thought they were a gentle, loving people. Based upon the abuse and disfunction in the authors childhood, I am now rethinking my opinion. I find myself wondering if this is a somewhat "normal" practice due to the severe dominance of the men in the community.

I like to walk away from reading a book feeling like I learned something. I feel that way with this book... ...more
3

Aug 29, 2015

There were parts of this book I really enjoyed, and parts that were a bit confusing. The set-up of the book--it's mostly told in flashback--is an interesting idea, but the author often tells you that something has happen, THEN later on, describes the event happening (like her rape by her brother). When the event actually happens, the dramatic punch is lost. Some of the dialogue is stilted between her, her husband, and her son. I kept thinking "teenagers don't really talk like this."
It's a good There were parts of this book I really enjoyed, and parts that were a bit confusing. The set-up of the book--it's mostly told in flashback--is an interesting idea, but the author often tells you that something has happen, THEN later on, describes the event happening (like her rape by her brother). When the event actually happens, the dramatic punch is lost. Some of the dialogue is stilted between her, her husband, and her son. I kept thinking "teenagers don't really talk like this."
It's a good description of Amish life that gives a truthful look at it, as opposed to a lot of the "Amish romance" novels you see in stores. Once Saloma was baptized, I thought the story really kicked off. Until then it had seemed a bit piecemeal in pacing and development. ...more
4

Jul 23, 2012

This memoir offers a chilling glimpse into what can happen when dogma trumps love and commonsense. Saloma Miller Furlong offers a picture of a dysfunctional family at its worst, and it is not a pretty picture.

The author grew up in an Amish family in Ohio and demonstrated tremendous courage by leaving familiar surroundings to enter a vastly different culture where she hoped to find safety and peace.

Furlong shares personal details of abuse and its impact on her life. She elaborates on the dating This memoir offers a chilling glimpse into what can happen when dogma trumps love and commonsense. Saloma Miller Furlong offers a picture of a dysfunctional family at its worst, and it is not a pretty picture.

The author grew up in an Amish family in Ohio and demonstrated tremendous courage by leaving familiar surroundings to enter a vastly different culture where she hoped to find safety and peace.

Furlong shares personal details of abuse and its impact on her life. She elaborates on the dating custom of bundling, which may be ignored in typical Amish novels. This memoir is a good read that raises hard questions about the Amish way of doing things. Appendices shed light on the origin of the Amish way of thinking as espoused by Jakob Amman, naming practices among the Amish and terms for “outsiders.”


...more
5

Jul 09, 2014

I found this story a difficult one at first, as I have an abuse history and it was hard to read the details of Saloma's abuse. Being brought forward into her life at the time she was a Smith College student helped to keep my balance. Her discussions with her son about Amish customs helped the balance and the way her old community received her at her father's funeral felt healing.

Saloma's stories have started me on a journey of finding out about Amish communities, the range of styles and customs I found this story a difficult one at first, as I have an abuse history and it was hard to read the details of Saloma's abuse. Being brought forward into her life at the time she was a Smith College student helped to keep my balance. Her discussions with her son about Amish customs helped the balance and the way her old community received her at her father's funeral felt healing.

Saloma's stories have started me on a journey of finding out about Amish communities, the range of styles and customs and the similarity with Old Order Mennonite communities.

With all the misinformation in sensational novels and on TV about the Amish, this book is an essential antidote. I highly recommend her second book, Bonnet Strings, with more detail about how she left her Amish community. Check out her blog on her web site as well at About Amish ...more
0

Oct 19, 2015

I wanted to read this because I am interested in first hand accounts of people who live unusual or different eyes from mine. I am also very interested in insular communities and cults.

This book, for me, was necessarily a reflection of Amish life or any religious community life, as it was a recounting of growing up in a family affected by undiagnosed and untreated mental illness and of how the community either did or did not accept and accommodate that family.

The writing could be very thin and I wanted to read this because I am interested in first hand accounts of people who live unusual or different eyes from mine. I am also very interested in insular communities and cults.

This book, for me, was necessarily a reflection of Amish life or any religious community life, as it was a recounting of growing up in a family affected by undiagnosed and untreated mental illness and of how the community either did or did not accept and accommodate that family.

The writing could be very thin and some of the dialogue, between the sisters, felt forced or unnatural. It did not seem to belong where it was placed in the overall narrative.

I'm glad that I read this, as it adds to my knowledge but I wish that maybe the author had a professional co-author, that would have made this novel more readable, I think. ...more
4

May 20, 2012

Look at the sweet little girl on the cover and be glad she is a happily married mother with a Smith College degree working in the German Department and European Studies Program at Amherst College and not still with her dysfunctional family in an Amish community setting. Granted, you could come from a dysfunctional family no matter what, but add on the, to me, strange rules that must be followed according to their way of life and you've got a pretty miserable existence, especially for a woman. Look at the sweet little girl on the cover and be glad she is a happily married mother with a Smith College degree working in the German Department and European Studies Program at Amherst College and not still with her dysfunctional family in an Amish community setting. Granted, you could come from a dysfunctional family no matter what, but add on the, to me, strange rules that must be followed according to their way of life and you've got a pretty miserable existence, especially for a woman. For Saloma there were doors into other people's homes when she was sent to work for the "English,"anyone not of their faith. After seeing the photos in a Vermont Life Magazine, she decided that's the place she'd like to live if she were to leave and be shunned. As she returned home to attend her father's funeral, she touches on the memories of her childhood. ...more
3

Dec 22, 2011

Gentle, kind, down-to-earth, live simply - so many words similar to these come to my mind when I think of the Amish. There are many books out now about the Amish and they continue your feelings of pleasant people who care for all of those in their community.

Why I Left the Amish gives you a view into the darker side. All is not sweetness and light and their communities have problems, also. Saloma grew up Amish with two brothers and four sisters. Her father had a dark side. He was depressed and Gentle, kind, down-to-earth, live simply - so many words similar to these come to my mind when I think of the Amish. There are many books out now about the Amish and they continue your feelings of pleasant people who care for all of those in their community.

Why I Left the Amish gives you a view into the darker side. All is not sweetness and light and their communities have problems, also. Saloma grew up Amish with two brothers and four sisters. Her father had a dark side. He was depressed and also suffered from mental illness, which was never given a name in the book, perhaps due to the fact that he wouldn't have seen a doctor about it. Saloma's mother was the strong parent but still had many weaknesses and did not protect her children.

At age 20 Saloma left her community with $450 in her pocket. This is her story. A story of strength, courage, and dealing with the hard parts of your life. ...more
3

Jun 07, 2014

I genuinely don't understand people flipping out about how hard it is to keep track of the characters in this book. I found it easy and straightforward, so maybe other readers were just skimming too quickly? Who knows. I also didn't see the problem with editing that other reviewers described. There are FAR worse memoirs with terrible organization. This wasn't the best or most brilliant memoir I've ever read, sure, but it was good. The story was engaging (and horrifying), and the action kept I genuinely don't understand people flipping out about how hard it is to keep track of the characters in this book. I found it easy and straightforward, so maybe other readers were just skimming too quickly? Who knows. I also didn't see the problem with editing that other reviewers described. There are FAR worse memoirs with terrible organization. This wasn't the best or most brilliant memoir I've ever read, sure, but it was good. The story was engaging (and horrifying), and the action kept going.

Furlong's story is an honest look at a community that is highly insular and can be very problematic as a result of that. Her level of self-awareness is incredible, and the fact that she could question the community in which she grew up is a rare quality.

And if I see one more review saying that we can't judge other cultures, my response is YES WE FUCKING CAN WHEN AN OLDER BROTHER IS RAPING HIS ELEVEN YEAR OLD SISTER. ...more
3

Jul 12, 2012

This book was recommended to me by the author, after she read my review for Unorthodox, on Goodreads. I decided to take her advice, and ordered the book. It is about the life of young Saloma Miller who grows up with a Father who has mental capabilities that are less than those of the average individual, and a Mother who looks the other way as her daughters are abused physically, sexually, and emotionally very roughly by their older brother and very harshly beaten by their Father. The memoir This book was recommended to me by the author, after she read my review for Unorthodox, on Goodreads. I decided to take her advice, and ordered the book. It is about the life of young Saloma Miller who grows up with a Father who has mental capabilities that are less than those of the average individual, and a Mother who looks the other way as her daughters are abused physically, sexually, and emotionally very roughly by their older brother and very harshly beaten by their Father. The memoir takes you deep into the world of what the author describes as where a young person must choose between leaving their family behind, and going their own way, which in her case this was wanting an education, and a chance to make her own choices, or joining the Amish church and blindly following the rules for the rest of your life. The book really opens your eyes to facets of the Amish culture that I was not aware of before, and struggles that Amish young people and children face within the Amish community, struggles that are often romanticized in novels about the Amish culture, which were brought out in a harsh light in this book. It ended on a brighter note, because Saloma does get out and marry someone she loves, and get an education... so that made me feel better, but some of the scenes I would not recommend for younger readers. But it does make you think about a culture that is often romanticized within our society...with facts that are obviously UNTRUE.
...more
4

Jan 24, 2013

This is the autobiograpy of Saloma Miller Furlong. First, I jsut want to say that her family is a mess and this is not just a problem in the Amish. However, the problems are magnified due to the structure of their society/religion.
From the time they are born, women are controlled by men. The males in the religion decide everything including how women dress and act.
Saloma's family had a difficult time as her father had mental health issues and maybe a developemntal disability. He has big This is the autobiograpy of Saloma Miller Furlong. First, I jsut want to say that her family is a mess and this is not just a problem in the Amish. However, the problems are magnified due to the structure of their society/religion.
From the time they are born, women are controlled by men. The males in the religion decide everything including how women dress and act.
Saloma's family had a difficult time as her father had mental health issues and maybe a developemntal disability. He has big depression issues and anger management problems. His family lives under fear of him as they never know what will set the father off and when.(then the beatings come) He doesn't work much and his family suffers because of it. (there isn't much money etc) The family is looked down upon in the community as they think the father is lazy. No help is given to them.
The older brother acts as head of the family. He is cruel to everyone else. Actually, he is abusive (physically, mentally and sexually) It should be kept in mind that people who are abusers probably have been abused themselves. The mother is very passive and lets all of this crap happen around her and never does anything about it. But then the women in this society are not really allowed to say much about what happens.
Some parts of the plot are slow as thee is too much detail. Generally, it is an inteesting story. ...more
5

Apr 01, 2015

I love the picture on the front cover, the smiling face that says Im here Saloma tells us that she wanted to be photographed and that this picture (one of only a few from her childhood) is very dear to her. After reading the memoir what strikes me most about this picture is that it shows a determination to exist rather than blend in. A pretty girl, no snub nose that I can see, but a beautiful button one and large sad eyes.

As the terrible sad tale unfolded - I related to the same experiences I I love the picture on the front cover, the smiling face that says “I’m here” Saloma tells us that she wanted to be photographed and that this picture (one of only a few from her childhood) is very dear to her. After reading the memoir what strikes me most about this picture is that it shows a determination to ‘exist’ rather than blend in. A pretty girl, no snub nose that I can see, but a beautiful button one and large sad eyes.

As the terrible sad tale unfolded - I related to the same experiences I had as a child, although I was not living in an Amish community. We are born into a lottery, dependent on our parents to help us to find who we are and the one thing every child needs is to feel love. But parents are flawed, and we learn to bend and shape around these flaws, children adapt and survive (mostly).

I know that some people are forever bent out of shape by the failings of their parents - Saloma tells the tale of her father Datt with a tender sympathy that tells me she is at peace with her past - unbent and upright, she has pieced herself back together and walks tall. It seems her father never was. I believe that we can only really be free when we have seen the human failings and found forgiveness in our hearts.

I set out to learn about the Amish, but what I found was that we might wear different clothes and maybe go to a different church but underneath we are all the same, human, flawed and often suffering. It took away the myth and romance of this lifestyle - though Saloma’s writing, we see a Community that failed to support a man who was in need, its the same everywhere.

I was so proud of her leaving, it takes tremendous courage, but once you escape you are free of the mould cast for you as a child, able to choose your own destiny. Saloma seems ready for her new life- she found a loving man and had a wonderful family around her, she was loved at last.

The memoir is well written - flicking back through memories and the present day - I found Saloma a very likeable character, someone with a mind of her own and a desire for questions and knowledge. ...more
5

Feb 27, 2012

A Remarkably Wise and Grace-Filled Memoir

Millions of Americans met Saloma Miller Furlong in PBSs two-hour American Experience documentary: The Amish. In one short vignette within the two-hour film, viewers heard from Saloma, saw photos from several points throughout her life and learned what leaving the Amish felt like for herin short, very painful yet also liberating.

Even at the generous length of two hours, Saloma's real story is more complex than PBS and its expert narrators like Kraybill A Remarkably Wise and Grace-Filled Memoir

Millions of Americans met Saloma Miller Furlong in PBS’s two-hour American Experience documentary: The Amish. In one short vignette within the two-hour film, viewers heard from Saloma, saw photos from several points throughout her life and learned what leaving the Amish felt like for her—in short, very painful yet also liberating.

Even at the generous length of two hours, Saloma's real story is more complex than PBS and its expert narrators like Kraybill could hope to explain. The film suggests that Saloma simply was restless and wanted to continue her education beyond the 8th Grade. In fact, in this newly published memoir, Saloma tells the world "the rest of the story," which involves deep psychological wounds in her father's life that left him a cruel and brutal taskmaster over his children. Worse than that, an older brother who was brutalized by her father wound up becoming a sexual predator in her family—abusing Saloma and her sisters at early ages. Saloma describes this brother as torn in several directions—between his own tortured childhood as a beaten child, the calling of Amish pacifism and forgiveness, and his compulsion toward the serial abuse of others. I won’t spoil the outcome, but this is not simply a story of unrelenting tragedy.

Obviously, Saloma's story was too complex for the documentary to capture more than her experience of leaving the community and suffering through her family's initial shunning of her. Yes, her family sided with the older brother, even though (we learn only in this memoir) Saloma's mother was aware of what this brother had done to her. If the PBS documentary intrigued you, then you're likely to want to meet Saloma in the pages of her new memoir. While this may sound like a disturbing book, given some of the violent incidents described in the memoir, readers are likely to find themselves astonished at Saloma's graceful way of trying to make some spiritual sense of her family, their culture and her own life in both Amish and outside worlds.

As an added endorsement of Saloma's writing, her higher education included an internship with Kraybill's scholarly center. Kraybill himself wrote the first back-cover blerb praising Saloma's book. Through his long and distinguished career, Kraybill has spanned both worlds—and he is widely trusted in both worlds to this day. Here is his endorsement of Saloma's memoir: "Growing up in a dysfunctional family, Saloma Furlong faced a hard choice—endure abuse or leap across a big cultural gap to the outside world. In this memoir, she poignantly describes her pain as well as her succesful transition and eventual reconciliation with her family."

The Amish Way: Patient Faith in a Perilous World ...more

Best Books from your Favorite Authors & Publishers

compare-icon compare-icon
Thousands of books

Take your time and choose the perfect book.

review-icon review-icon
Read Reviews

Read ratings and reviews to make sure you are on the right path.

vendor-icon vendor-icon
Multiple Stores

Check price from multiple stores for a better shopping experience.

gift-icon

Enjoy Result