I love books about other cultures because I am fascinated by the way people live. Because of that, I was excited to get a copy of I Am Hutterite by Mary-Ann Kirkby from Thomas-Nelson to review on my blog. I Am Hutterite is the story of Kirkby’s Hutterite heritage, and later, her assimilation into popular, or “English,” culture.
Although I was excited to read this book, I ended up terribly disappointed. More than half of the book focuses on not “the fascinating true story of a young woman’s journey to reclaim her heritage,” as the book’s tagline reads, but of her family’s historical and cultural roots. This does, of course, have an important role in the story Kirkby is telling, as the rich and deeply-rooted Hutterite culture is at the heart of her story. But there was so much emphasis on the past and so little on the transition in Kirkby’s life after leaving her colony that I felt cheated. This book had the potential to be a much, much longer story, one where her transition from running away to adulthood is more fully developed. That’s what bothered me the most, I think – the lack of development. Because when I was reading about the culture itself, and its traditions, and when I was reading about Kirkby’s experiences with other kids, I was drawn in. But in the meantime, during the transitions and back story? I was totally lost.
Overall, I’d say read this, but know that it might not be what you were expecting.