Monday, August 3, 2015

Plain Choice

Title: The Plain Choice: A True Story of Choosing to Live an Amish Life
Author: Sherry Gore
Expected Publication: August 25th 2015 by Zondervan
Format: Paperback, 224 pages
Genre: Memoir
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and Zondervan for an opportunity to read an advance copy of this book.

Halfway through this book and I was ready to put it down. For some reason, I thought that this was a book that chronicled a woman “living an Amish life”, not a woman that was essentially playing dress up. A woman that would choose the aspects of a simple life with what would work for her. There are moments of hypocrisy where she would throw out her children’s toys because they ran on batteries and made obnoxious noises that were contrary to her Christian values, but she saw no problem with her ownership of a computer.

Sherry Gore was a lonely girl with low self-esteem that could never find her place. Always running, always traveling to someplace else for some different reason and dragging her children with her in hopes of finding, or copying what she saw in other, to yet another place where they could all fit in. Reading this book reminded me of parallel play – where one child sees what another is doing and then modify their play accordingly. Sherry saw what was making a community work and decided to duplicate it but never fully being a part.

Anabaptists – Mennonites – Amish to me the terms were used so interchangeably for Plain People that I think that I am confused as to what each has to offer. Yet, Ms. Gore did seem to find the right place for her. After leaving Sarasota, Florida for many years in her religious journey, and subjecting her children to barebones living, and horrendous situation she discovered that Pinecraft was her true home and chose to return to the place that would care for her and her children. That would finally give them all the stability and a sense of belonging that was missing for most of her life. As she herself said, sometimes I wonder if it was a life or just survival.

Though a short book, there were many points in which I wanted to quit. I understand that she had a devastating upbringing when her father chose the new family that he created over her. I understand a young girl’s heartbreak when a mother makes it obvious that you are in the way. I can even understand the guilt when a sibling dies. What I cannot get over is the excessive dramatization throughout the book including that of Sherry’s baptism and reawakening with the understanding of God’s plan. That one just had me rolling my eyes.

Each person will come away from this book with a different opinion. I wished that it had been better written. Less soppy and woe is me. More along my original belief from the synopsis of how to live a Plain life and how to come to terms with biblical writing not just the parts of Plain that work for her. The summation states that “she becomes one of the few people on earth to have successfully joined the Amish from the outside.” By the end of the book, I did not get that feeling. I felt that the community may have accepted her being there, but I do not recall reading that she was baptized into the Mennonite-Amish community. So I am now wondering what the true point of this book was. Was it to give the readers of her inspirational romance books or recipe books more background on this author? Guess that this is something that I will not be able to figure out.

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