I Am Hutterite: A Fascinating True Story Of One Woman's Journey To Reclaim Her Heritage - A Review and GiveAway!
I love stories. I love stories about real women and the tales they tell. This is a book about a women born into the Hutterite community in Canada.
Mary-Ann Kirkby is an award-winning author, whose first book, I Am Hutterite chronicles her childhood experiences of life on a Hutterite colony and the aftermath of leaving community life.
A former journalist, she began her career in Dauphin, Manitoba as a news anchor and reporter and later was appointed senior reporter responsible for aboriginal issues at CTV in Prince Albert. From 1993-1996, she worked in Ottawa as a freelance journalist and served as Media Relations Consultant for the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations.
She is the recipient of two Can-Pro Awards for political reporting and for hosting a children's program.
In 1969, Mary-Ann Kirkby's parents did the unthinkable. They left a Hutterite colony near Portage la Prairie, Manitoba with seven children and little else, to start a new life. Overnight, the family was thrust into a society they did not understand and which knew little of their unique culture. The transition was overwhelming.
When Mary-Ann leaves Fairholme, she embarks on a mission to reinvent herself. She is put in the awkward position of denying her heritage in order to fit in with her peers. Her book details her painful and often humorous attempts to adapt to popular culture as she comes to terms with the heart-breaking circumstances that led her family to leave community life.
Few Canadians are aware that the prairie region is home to the largest concentration of Hutterites in the world. Their appearance and cloistered lifestyle have often made them the objects of prejudice and suspicion but beneath the black hats and polka dots lies a spirited and proud community of storytellers, artisans, inventors, teachers, carpenters, and agrarians who have made significant contributions to the North American cultural tapestry and economy.
I Am Hutterite takes us inside Fairholme Colony where Mary-Ann Kirkby spent the first ten years of her life. Her intimate portrait of Hutterian people opens a window on a closed community and reveals a way of life that seems extraordinary to the outside world.
As a television reporter, Mary-Ann Kirkby spent years telling the stories of others. Now she is ready to share her own. I Am Hutterite layers the rich traditions of colony life with the stark realities of intolerance and mistrust, weaving a gripping tale that tests the power of forgiveness.
Here is a review from US Publishers Weekly:
"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. "
I must admit I could not put this book down. From the opening sentence to the very last word I found myself being drawn into the mind and heart of the author, Mary-Ann Kirby. I cried and I smiled and I related to her observations on women and family, even though the community she grew up in is totally foreign to anything I have ever encountered. She speaks on universal themes of love, anger, sadness, and friendship.
I encourage you to seek out this book and read it.
If you don't want to wait you can win your very own copy!
Here's what you have to do:
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Give-a-way to run until 11:59 pm EST on July 5th, 2010. Winner will be chosen via Random.org. Email will be sent to winner with a response needed within 72 hours of winning email with shipping information. If winner does not respond to email, an alternate winner will be chosen. Good only within the continental USA. Make sure you leave a contact email within your post or check to make sure that I can email you via your blogger profile.
Disclaimer: I was provided with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.