Dixie Diamond's Reviews > Plain and Simple: A Journey to the Amish

Plain and Simple by Sue Bender
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it was ok
bookshelves: religion, women, moms_books

Books like this weird me out.

(Okay, this is more of a general rant than one directed specifically at this book.)

For one thing, I always find I relate better to the Amish than the misguided yuppies who descend upon them. That doesn't really make sense considering I'd describe myself as a pretty typical office-job, awful-commute, doesn't-grow-anything-but-spider-plants, suburbanite. I still find myself thinking, "Well, that's what you get for being a social-climbing, materialistic, overachiever, you dim-wit," about five pages into the first chapter, as the author laments the hollowness of her existence and desperation for comforts into which she can figuratively sink her teeth.

Second--what is it with us and the Amish? Because their lives appear to be, to the extent that is possible in the United States, the polar opposite of the classic acquisitive middle-American mentality? Not to denigrate the Amish, of course, but they're people like everyone else, and romanticizing them is simplistic and patronizing more than anything else. (I get the same thing, to a lesser degree: "You're a Quaker? No wonder you seem so calm . . . " Um, no--actually it's because I'm not always plugged in and on the go, go, go. There's no mystical secret--what you need is a little down-time and a hobby that isn't related to your job.)

The other reason these refuge-amongst-the-Amish escapades disturb me is that they always seem to be so one-sided. Apparently the Amish are responsible for healing our self-inflicted emotional distress. What do we do for them? Anything? "Brownie points in God's book" seems kind of vague.

And do we learn anything that we couldn't have learned from just reading about them? Do we really have to invade their privacy and cherry-pick their practices at the most superficial level to learn wisdoms that ought to be blatantly obvious to all but the most self-unaware, unreflective, and external-stimulus-addicted?
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
July 16, 2008 – Shelved

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