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Crossing Over: One Woman's Escape from Amish Life Paperback – January 7, 2003


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Crossing Over: One Woman's Escape from Amish Life + Why I Left the Amish: A Memoir + Growing Up Amish: A Memoir
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne (January 7, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006052992X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060529925
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (99 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #632,811 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Garrett lifts the veil from one of the most private, most fascinating Christian sects, the Amish. The fifth of seven children, she grew up in Kalona, Iowa, as a member of the strict Old Order Amish, who owned no motor vehicles and went without electricity and telephones. Unthinkably for an Old Order Amish young woman, she fell in love with an outsider 15 years her senior. Worse, he was divorced, and wedding him was equivalent to adultery in the eyes of the Amish. But leaving the order was her most serious offense, and for it she suffered the severe consequence of being shunned by her home community. Garrett is exceedingly honest, unafraid to criticize what she considers rigid and hypocritical in Amish behavior. Her subsequent life among "the English," as the low German-speaking Amish call outsiders, makes a wonderful tale of self-discovery, as her relationship with her husband slowly blossoms. Moving and life-affirming, the book ends on a hopeful note as her family comes to grudgingly accept her difficult, life-altering decision. June Sawyers
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“A beautiful story of a young lady’s struggle to be free.” (Joseph Girzone, author of the best-selling Joshua series)

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Customer Reviews

This book was enjoyable and easy to read.
Felicia Rosen
I'm not Amish, or even religious, but I would be very upset if my daughter ran off with a morbidly obese, crippled man twice her age who had been divorced three times.
crg80
It's difficult to not come to the conclusion after reading this book that the author is a confused, naive and, unfortunately, also very insincere.
K Scheffler

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 44 people found the following review helpful By E. Abrams on June 20, 2007
Format: Paperback
I read this book for a book club, and do not recommend it. It has no literary value, and does not even provide much insight into Amish life. Instead, the author gives only random recollections and gripes about the Amish. The book is loaded with filler--lots of excerpts of letters, blank pages, and wide margins to hide the fact that it has little content. Nothing about the writing is worth mentioning. The author leaves her life with the Amish to lead what sounds like a completely pedestrian and uninteresting life (living off of her older husband's disability pension). I cannot think of any reason to read this book.
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47 of 52 people found the following review helpful By A. L. Caissie on August 19, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book did not live up to its description. It is a very superficial look at the societal and familial forces used by the Amish to control the behavior of their members. I ended up feeling sorry for the writer, Ruth. She believes, quite erroneously, that she has escaped a repressive life in order to be with the man she loves. In truth, she is being used by a thrice-divorced man, old enough to be her father, who is too morbidly obese to hold a job. Really quite sad.
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90 of 106 people found the following review helpful By Kathy Wiley on September 2, 2003
Format: Paperback
Coming from Amish and Mennonite family background myself, and growing up interacting with cousins in Kalona, it was very interesting to read Irene's story. I have always known that there were inconsistencies within the Amish culture, however, I was surprised at the severity of her father's treatment of his family. I was impressed with her courage to leave, yet also with her ability to maintain a desire to stay in contact with her family. It is obvious that she has an understanding of the concept of unconditional love even though this was not consistently modeled for her.
I have had the pleasure of meeting Irene and Ottie and was impressed with their honesty, love and unconditional positive regard they held for one another. Their book, "My Amish Heritage" is evidence of the hope that Irene holds in staying connected with her early life even as she moves on, evolving into a beautiful modern-day woman. Her heart is full of grace.
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124 of 150 people found the following review helpful By K Scheffler on June 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
It's difficult to not come to the conclusion after reading this book that the author is a confused, naive and, unfortunately, also very insincere. She claims that this book was written merely to inform others about her life and to help others in the same predicament. Moreover, she claims to love both her father and mother, and to cherish her Amish heritage. Yet what we really find in this book is quite the opposite.

The author clearly has serious issues with her father, and goes to great lengths to paint the unflattering picture of man who is supposedly uncompromising in his convictions, physically and mentally abusive, and a hypocrite to boot. This seems to extend to her brothers as well, but she is decidedly less specific in this respect.

On the other hand, her mother and sister are portrayed as faultlessly good and caring people, victims in every respect of a rigid and oppressive society.

From an early age, as a tomboy, she claims that she didn't want to conform to the expectations that the Amish have for women; first she rebelled by trying to be better than the boys, but eventually he disillusionment grew to the point where she had to get away.

But how?

Well, that's where good old--twice her age old--Ottie Garrett comes into the picture. For some reason, this rotund man had managed to get close enough to the Amish where he was trusted to the extent that he could essentially make a living from exploiting them. Whether it was through the publishing of books about the Amish or by ferrying the Amish around in his van, he really seems to have had a knack for making money off of these passive and peaceful people.
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59 of 70 people found the following review helpful By kyrais on April 25, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was a book that I had to read for my Amish Culture class. Whilst I'll be the first person to say that the Amish are placed on a pedestal, I still think that the author seems be unable to say anything kind about the Amish. She constantly bashes the Amish way of life, even bringing up the lack of the word "love" in Pennsylvanian Dutch as a weapon to illustrate how unfeeling and callous the Amish are. I especially take offense against the word "escape" in the title. She could have chosen to leave the Amish before she was baptized into the church. Use of the word escape is just for sensationalism. The Amish do not excommunicate those who leave before they are baptized into the church. Also, she brought up a lawsuit against a woman who refused to serve her. I do NOT consider that something a woman "full of grace" would have done. If she were truly a good person, she would not have placed that woman into a position where she could be punished by her church elders. Also, doing nothing but bad-mouthing the Amish and making money off of her "X-Amish" background really just is too much. Is it any wonder that other church districts other than her own would not want their people to interact with her? Other people leave the Amish and manage to interact amicably with them, I don't know why she has to drag them all through the dirt. I would NOT read anything else by this woman. Not all the Amish are monsters, and not all of them are saints on earth. If you want to learn more about the Amish, Amish Society by Hostetler would be a MUCH better choice.
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