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Blush: A Mennonite Girl Meets a Glittering World

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  342 ratings  ·  63 reviews

“I promise: you will be transported,” says Bill Moyers of this memoir. Part Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, part Growing Up Amish, and part Little House on the Prairie, this book evokes a lost time, in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, when a sheltered little girl with big dreams entered a family and church caught up in the midst of the cultural changes of the 1950’s and

Kindle Edition, 274 pages
Published September 19th 2013 by Herald Press (first published September 13th 2013)
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Average rating 3.88  · 
Rating details
 ·  342 ratings  ·  63 reviews

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Clif Hostetler
Sep 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
This memoir transports the reader into the world of a girl growing up in a Mennonite family on a farm in Lancaster County, PA in the 1950s. For many it may appear to be a quaint childhood environment far different than their own. But for me it was a reminder of the many ways that my own childhood experiences were similar to those of the author. There are obviously plenty of differences between us, but hardly a chapter went by in this book that I didn’t think of similar experiences from my own li ...more
Laurie Buchanan
Dec 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While reading this engaging book, I couldn’t help but draw similarities between the Mennonite culture and the bonsai practice that focuses on long-term cultivation and shaping of small trees grown in a container. The Mennonite society is tight-knit and contained, and of utmost importance — much like bonsai — they honor their roots.

Throughout this captivating — and oftentimes hilarious — recount of the author's adventures and her desire to live large, I thought of Shirley as a giant redwood. Whil
Susan Weidener
Dec 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
From beginning to end, Blush: A Mennonite Girl Meets a Glittering World is a love letter to being Mennonite. Shirley Hershey Showalter writes on the last page of her memoir, “I realized by writing this book that one of my first names for love was Mennonite.”

And so it is that we journey with her into a way of life few of us will ever experience. I read the book with the interest of one who grew up near Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. I was familiar with Mennonite women wearing prayer caps; women
Sep 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I feel a lot of warm cooperation and community surrounding this book: in the way Ms Showalter herself, through her blog, involved us in the making of the book, in the way her publisher really makes the book shine, in the way several of Ms Showalters' communities embrace the book's coming out.

I loved this book so much I purchased 3 copies, 2 to share and my own to read aloud to my husband.

I blush to admit that I also felt (feel) some envy...partly because Ms Showalter does have a lot of 'communit
Sonia Marsh
Jan 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If there are three words that define what Shirley Showalter does not want to be in her life, they are: plain, dull and boring.

From the start, we get the feeling that standing out from the community, yet still belonging, is what Shirley wants more than anything.

Shirley grew up in a very loving family and has admiration for her mother from a young age. This desire for a mother and her daughter to not be plain starts when Shirley is given the same name as actress Shirley Temple. Her mother even per
Joan Rough
Nov 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was charmed and delighted with Shirley Hershey Showalter's, "Blush, A Mennonite Girl Meets A Glittering World," her memories of growing up in a conservative, Mennonite farm community in Pennsylvania. Her wish "to be big," not in the sense of being tall, "but big as in important, successful, influential," went against all that her church and family represented. To be Mennonite was to be plain and simple: in dress, speech and in all behaviors. And to be female and wear a prayer covering on one's ...more
Sep 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Kim by: giveaway
Shelves: true-stories
this is the book I won from and Is a first reads book
this is a good book to read
it is about the author Shirley Hershey Showalter. she grew up in a plain Mennonite home. this memoir tells the story of a Mennonite girl who might have left the church but found another way
April Yamasaki
A beautifully written memoir about faith, family, home, and growing up.

I was privileged to host author Shirley Hershey Showalter on my blog, and invite you to read the interview.
Marian Beaman
Sep 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shirley Hershey Showalter’s Blush: A Mennonite Girl Meets a Glittering World sings the song of her early life as a Mennonite girl in 250 pitch-perfect pages. Born into a family of Lancaster County Swiss Mennonite parents, the author recounts the story of the first 18 years of her girlhood on an 100-acre dairy farm in the 1950s and early ‘60s. The book delivers in its promise to play out her memories of school, church, and home, “the three legs of my childhood stool,” as she puts it. “Each carrie ...more
Oct 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
Shirley Hershey Showalter gives the reader a view into the life of a Mennonite farm girl in the 1960s, an intimate look. I have visited Pennsylvania, specifically the Lancaster County area, and I have seen Mennonite and Amish farms, those farm families on the streets of various small towns, and the shopkeepers from whom I purchased items to bring home. But seeing is not the same as living as an Amish or Mennonite and then sharing it on the written page. Thank you, Shirley, for giving me a marvel ...more
Kathleen Pooler
Sep 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shirley Hershey Showalter’s honest and engaging account of her first 18 years in a Mennonite farm community is so compelling, I read it in three sessions not wanting to put it down. Not only was I transported into her world of fields and meadows, Sunday dinners on the farm and the strict rules of the church regarding dress and deportment, I was invited inside her thoughts and feelings about her place in her family, her church and her world.
As she introduces us to her ancestors, with a detailed p
Mary Gottschalk
Sep 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading, at least for me, is at its finest when the author spirits me off to new places and introduces me to new ideas, but in a way that elicits a “shiver of recognition.” I save the highest praise for authors that evoke empathy for the challenges the characters face in an otherwise unfamiliar environment. This is as true for memoir as for fiction.

From this perspective, Blush was very fine read for a city girl (me) who knew little about the inner workings of a Mennonite farming community. I so
Lisa Kearns
Oct 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shirley Hershey Showalter takes the reader into her traditional Mennonite family, as she tell of growing up a small community that revolved around her church. I've long been intrigued by their simpler lifestyle and big, close families, and this book gives an intimate glimpse into what it means to grow up Mennonite.

Shirley (a distant relative of the Chocolate conglomerate founder) tells charming stories of milking cows and roaming the woods and farms near her home. She also tells of attending pub
Liz Waters
Oct 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was not raised in a Mennonite community, but I was raised in the same time period as Shirley Showalter, and many of the questions that plagued her in her youth also plagued me in my staunch Episcopalian upbringing. I, too, puzzled over the different approaches to worshipping God since our household also included my very Baptist grandmother. Why was one hymn acceptable in my church, but not another? Shirley's visit to a Presbyterian service resonated with me as I recalled the religious contrast ...more
Shari Larsen
This is the author's story about what it was like to grow up as a sheltered Mennonite girl with big dreams in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, as her family and church dealt with all of the cultural changes of the 50's and 60's. The author writes with gentle humor and affection about her years of growing up, and finally, being the first of her family to go to college.

She also tells the story of her parents when they grew up; her mother had her own unfulfilled dreams of being an actress and a writ
Sep 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shirley Hershey Showalter's memoir on growing up Mennonite is much more than simple story-telling. Although I grew up in Pennsylvania and had some interaction with Mennonite families, I found that I had a lot of misconceptions as to how they lived, what they believed, and how they thought about non-Mennonites. Showalter does an excellent job educating the reader on Mennonite life, seamlessly intertwining the lessons in cultural understanding (for us) with her own life experiences and life lesson ...more
Sep 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Book received free through Goodreads First Reads. I was not and will not be reimbursed for this or any other review.

Journey with Shirley Hershey Showalter as she remembers her life as a young Mennonite farmgirl outside Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Mrs. Showalter's writing is lyrical and fluid, and draws you into her story; begging you to feel each moment right along with her. Her love for her Church and her family come across beautifully in every page, sharing with the reader the joy and peace she's
Laurie Gray
Oct 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Out of a tradition created and controlled by HIStory, Shirley Showalter tells us HERstory—a personal and spiritual memoir of growing up Mennonite in a rural area outside Lancaster, Pennsylvania. It’s an authentic story of Showalter’s formative years and personal journey to discover the value of education, the beauty of language, the unifying strength in song, and the power of love. A gifted storyteller, Showalter carefully selects the unique events in her life that most resonate with universal c ...more
Patricia Hullett
Shirley Showalter has written a wonderful memoir that I enjoyed very much. I am a couple of years younger than Shirley so I could relate to all that she wrote about in this time frame. I won this book from Good Reads and was so excited as I love to read stories about the Amish, Mennonite, and Quakers. When it came I was surprised that it was a signed copy by Shirley ~ that makes it so very special! Reading this I felt like we could have been friends as children. I was so happy when she won a ver ...more
Feb 16, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-nonfiction
This is a sweet memoir of the author's years, after World War II, growing up on a farm in a Mennonite community in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania. The nice thing about this memoir is that it is told with great affection for her family and community, and with respect for her faith. She went on to become a college professor and then president of a Mennonite college in Indiana. I thought it was interesting to read how her father's personality chnaged after he had bought the family farm from his fat ...more
Sep 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shirley Hershey Showalter took me to another world that I didn't want to leave! I want to read this book again and again and again.

The author is a successful, accomplished woman who comes from a tradition that had caused me to wonder whether that would be possible. I love the story of her upbringing, where she came from, where she is going.

I was able to learn a lot about the Mennonite world, of which I must admit, I knew just shy of nothing.

The only bad thing I can say about this book is that
Rhonda Rae Baker
Holy cow, what a beautiful memoir that is written with such grace!

I recommend this memoir to absolutely everyone for within is a message to all of us. I found myself completely riveted with Shirley's prose and the underlying current of empathy for mankind. I’ve been in and around religions my entire life and have never witnessed such kindness and compassion for mankind as a whole. I'm left with a desire to reconnect with others again for there is truly goodness in the world.

Thank you Shirley fo
Sep 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-won
I was delighted to read "BLUSH" by Shirley Hershey Showalter. I found the book insightful and funny at times. I knew nothing about Mennonite life, but after reading I found I can relate to some of Shirley's feelings about wanting more than what's offered. I loved the personal pictures in the book. It makes it easier to put a face to some of the wonderful stories within the book. I would recommend this book to my friends. It's an interesting book to read. ...more
Sep 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was especially interesting to read after learning about memoir in a class Shirley taught over this past semester. In every chapter-essay of the book, I read examples of Shirley practicing what she preached to me in class (and in the margins of my essays), which was refreshing. And although I don't think we agree on every component of what makes a memoir great, her book makes a fantastic argument for what she believes. ...more
I really enjoyed this book. Having grown up in PA, the Amish and Mennonite cultures were always something that fascinated me. I thought all Amish were Mennonite and all Mennonite were Amish. Certainly, not the case! I enjoyed the author's ability to make her life story interesting, touching, and understandable. I certainly feel I understand more about the Mennonite culture now. Liked it a lot!! ...more
Melanie Springer Mock
I read an advanced copy of this memoir for a Mennonite World Review book review I'm writing. Loved it. It's clear Shirley Showalter is a student of memoir, and knows how to tell a good story. The best Mennonite memoir I've read. ...more
Nov 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I always love reading a non-fiction book with characters in it who I used to know or interact with. I did not know the author but I knew a few of the other people mentioned in this title. Showalter writes about the early years of her life growing up in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, where she attended public schools and experienced the tensions that used to exist between plain dressing Mennonites, usually a minority in public schools, and those who were not Mennonites. I experienced much the sa ...more
Saloma Miller
Nov 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It took me a long time to discover that God made me a feisty, curious, plain Mennonite farm girl for a reason. ~ Shirley Hershey Showalter

If you substituted the word 'Amish' for 'Mennonite', I could have written this statement. It was written by a kindred spirit, Shirley Hershey Showalter, whose first memoir, Blush: A Mennonite Girls Meets a Glittering World, was launched in September. Rich in sensory details, this is a memoir of a happy childhood, with two responsible parents who were farmers i
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 24, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I won this book from a Goodreads First Reads Giveaway.

Honestly? I thought it was a little boring. I thought it would be a coming-of-age story about growing up in Mennonite culture and how she essentially found her own way, but it's not. The story stops just when she gets out and, I assume, finds her own way.

I also thought it may be a bit more about how modern Mennonites live. I've always been fascinated by groups (religious or otherwise) who live differently. This book didn't really explain th
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Shirley Hershey Showalter grew up on a family dairy farm in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and went on to become the president of Goshen College and a foundation executive at The Fetzer Institute.

The word “pioneer” best describes Shirley Hershey Showalter’s career. She was the first person on either side of her family to atte

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