Synopses & Reviews
A Fascinating journey into the heart and culture of a reclusive religious community.
I Am Hutterite takes readers into the hidden heart of the little-known Hutterite colony in southern Manitoba where author Mary-Ann Kirkby spent her childhood. When she was ten years old her parents packed up their seven children and a handful of possessions and left the security of the colony to start a new life. Overnight they were thrust into a world they didn't understand, a world that did not understand them.
Before she left the colony Mary-Ann had never tasted macaroni and cheese or ridden a bike. She had never heard of Walt Disney or rock-and-roll. She was forced to reinvent herself, denying her heritage to fit in with her peers. With great humor, Kirkby describes how she adapted to popular culture; and with raw honesty her family's deep sense of loss for their community. More than a history lesson, I Am Hutterite is a powerful tale of retracing steps and understanding how our beginnings often define us.
Controversial and acclaimed by the Hutterite community, Kirkby's book unveils the rich history and traditions of her people, giving us a rare and intimate portrait of an extraordinary way of life.
"This sweeping prairie memoir, self-published in Canada in 2007, rapidly garnered both commercial and literary applause. Recounting the author's journey from a Hutterite girlhood to an adolescence of desperate striving to catch up with fashions of the time, the book manages to pack information about Hutterite life into a coming-of-age narrative without slowing it down. Kirkby's family moved away from their Manitoba colony when she was 10 years old, after what she calls a 'near idyllic childhood' in the cradle of a communal society. Once a reader commits the many characters and their relationships to each other to memory, the book becomes as riveting and well-paced as a novel. Kirkby captures the complex cadences of Hutterite life the bawdy humor and knack for storytelling that stands beside austere ritual, the poverty of personal possession and freedom that exists beside the security of community life with pitch-perfect writing. She also manages to avoid either vilifying or romanticizing a culture that has been subjected to both. Readers will find themselves hoping that Kirkby follows the popular trend in memoir writing: producing a sequel." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)