In 1969, the author’s parents did something unthinkable: they packed up their things and left the Hutterite colony where they’d lived with their seven children for years. They intended to start a new life outside the colony, and the entire family was thrown into a society they didn’t understand and which looked at Hutterite people as strange, bizarre creatures.
The book records the early days of Kirkby’s parents — before they met — traveling through their courtship, the birth of their children, the conflict between her father and the colony leader, and eventually their ‘running away’ (leaving the colony was referred to as “running away”).
Some of the most interesting points of the book were: learning about which customs today’s Hutterites have kept since their sect was founded 500 years ago; the communal nature of the colonies; the bizarre politics involved in the daily interactions; seeing Kirkby’s family attempt to integrate themselves into ‘modern society’.
Mind you, the “running away” doesn’t come until three quarters of the way through the book… and that was the thing the book description focused on the most, so I was a little surprised to see that less than half the book was devoted to this material. I understand that most people don’t have any concept of who the Hutterites are, but I don’t think it’s fair to label a book as being about someone’s journey to find her self of self outside the only life she knew, but spend most of the book talking about that former life.
But, it’s interesting at the very least. It’s not the most riveting read — sometimes the endless description of life inside the colony can get a bit dry, and I admit to skimming pages more than a few times — but if you’re interested in the Hutterites and who they are, you’ll probably find a lot to like here. Just don’t expect to spend a lot of time reading about the transition (though what IS there is fascinating).
I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com
book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review.