Review: I Am Hutterite: The Fascinating True Story of a Young Woman's Journey to Reclaim Her Heritage

Editorial Review - - Evelyn Bence

Generally, memoirs are deemed different from autobiographies in that memoirs hone in on one theme, one aspect of the writer's life. And that's exactly what MaryAnn Kirkby has done. She tells her life story up through grade 12 with a brief epilogue always as it relates to her Hutterite heritage and upbringing. Hutterite? Similar to Amish or Mennonite, but not. Hutterites live in colonies, where ... Read full review

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This was an interesting book to read because I had never even heard of the Hutterites. The story was interesting. What a difficult life to throw everything into one pot.

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A tender and compelling memoir, ‘I Am Hutterite’ recounts the story of the author’s childhood, first growing up in and then leaving a Hutterite colony in the heart of Manitoba, Canada. This dramatic change of lifestyle took Mary-Ann, her parents and her many siblings quite a bit of getting used to. And yet, despite the unfortunate situation which prompted their departure, their faith wasn’t shaken; it was only made stronger, as their dependence on God, both out of necessity and out of desire, grew, and forgiveness was found through the strength and love of Jesus.
I expected to read about a restrictive and oppressive religious sect of which I was sure I’d disapprove. However, I was met with warmth, love and a vivid description of true, healthy, community life where women retire at 45 and old people are brought their food, where everything is homemade and organic, where children play outside in fresh air with their friends.
Despite the author’s adult hindsight shedding light on the inherent pitfalls of corporate decisions being made by one person ‘in power’, I was left feeling a little envious. The sort of community set out in Acts 2:44-45 isn’t often seen in today’s world. I think it would be very difficult to achieve; to move from our current lives of independence and self-sufficiency into such an inextricably entwined and accountable lifestyle. And yet, that is in part what struck me as the inherent freedom: always knowing that your immediate needs will be provided for by your flesh-and-blood, one-for-all-and-all-for-one community, even if and especially when, for example, incapacitated for a period of time due to illness.
From the very outset, I was drawn in by the fascinating and insightful account, delightfully peppered with old photographs, as that then-child’s adult voice clearly set out and unfolded her family’s history and her own story. And I was left wanting to read more.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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