Nancy's Reviews > Irma Voth

Irma Voth by Miriam Toews
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Sep 20, 11

Read in September, 2011

Raised in Canada, Irma Voth followed along placidly when her father packed the family up and moved to northern Mexico. After all, father was the leader and no one questioned his ways. If you were a boy in the Voth family, work was hard and watching the way father treated your sisters was harder. For some reason, Mr. Voth didn’t like women. His two daughters, Irma and Aggie could do nothing to please him.
Which is probably why, when she snuck off to the rodeo, Irma fell for the first boy who was nice to her. Jorge. Two strikes already: Jorge was not Mennonite and he was Mexican. He also dealt drugs out of the shed by the house Irma’s father let them live in until he took off one day and didn’t come back.
A film crew arrives in the town to film a vision of a Mennonite family moving to Mexico. Mr. Voth prohibits all the group from helping them but some do. Irma being one of them because she can translate Low German, Spanish and English. Being shunned by the religious, Irma is lonely and her little sister wants only to come live with Irma – despite the fact there is no power and no food. Trouble arises with the film crew and Irma and Aggie go to tell their mother goodbye as they cannot come home. Mrs. Voth gives them her newborn daughter to take along as father will not love her, either.
Irma Voth is a tale of growing up, religious belief, cruelty and love. If Irma can endure the prior she may end up with the last, or she may live alone in the upstairs of a bed and breakfast forever, You will be sad, laugh and ponder your life against Irma’s and be glad you can.
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