Top critical review
7 people found this helpful
OK, but that's about it
on January 1, 2011
Anna Mae grew up Amish but was shunned when she left to marry outside the faith. Though she lives a Christian life with her new husband and is happy, she misses her family terribly and wants to visit them--especially as she is carrying her first child. So she writes to her sister-in-law Katherine for help arranging a visit. Anna Mae's brother, David, is opposed to the visit on the grounds that it will upset his and Anna Mae's father, a bishop. However, the plans go ahead over his wishes when Katherine arranges the visit.
That's the set-up for "A Plain and Simple Christmas," and that's pretty much the story. The rest you can fill in for yourself since there are no real surprises. I can see from the reviews that the majority of people liked the story, and I think that's wonderful. But it did not work all that well for me, and there are a few reasons why. To begin with, it seems to me that the Amish do not come across as, well, fully Amish. I am certainly no expert, but the novella sets up the premise that the men typically run the show and the women obey. Every important plot element, though, depends on the opposite, whether (as I noted in the plot summary), it is women disobeying their husbands directly or going against what they believe the men will want. To make it clear, I am not arguing that women should be subservient to men. I am, however, saying that the premise of the story and the actions of the characters did not ring true for me.
Still, this is a Christmas story of redemption and love, and there is always a tug at the heartstrings from such stories. I just found this one somewhat muted. Your mileage, though, may well vary.