Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Plain Perfect: My Review

Plain Perfect Plain Perfect by Beth Wiseman

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is a sweet but very predictable book about a modern American girl who was raised by a single mom of Amish descent who decides, when she realizes her life is a mess, to return to her mom's Amish family. She is seeking peace and wants to accept as much of the Amish lifestyle as she wants, and to reject the rest. Little by little she accepts all of it, and sure enough at the end of the book....

I've always found the Amish to be fascinating and even wrote a paper on them back in high school. This book does a nice job of explaining not only what the Amish do and don't do, but also why. They are very much into the good of the group, and my guess is that there are times that the good of the individual gives way to that--as shown by one of the characters in this book. They don't try to spread their faith (other than to their children) but you have to wonder what would happen if everyone adopted it -- they only send their kids through eighth grade, but they are willing to use "English" doctors. They don't have cars, but they ride in them.

On the other hand, I read in a non-fiction book that they choose the modern conveniences they do (and not the ones they don't) in part to maintain the cohesive community and family relationships. The level of technology allowed means their farms will support their families, but they will not become idle rich landowners. Not having a car means they aren't tempted to commute long distances, or move too far away from family. The low education level again limits them to jobs that require hard work, but within their community, there are jobs that will support them. Since they don't have electricity, there are all sorts of things they don't need, which means they can get by with smaller incomes. It does seem that much of our life is spent seeking more and more stuff and then playing with it rather than seeking God or building the community. I wonder what the happy medium is?

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