Monday, May 24, 2010

A Review: I Am Hutterite

I have joined a program called BookSneeze where a publishing company gives me a selection of books from which to choose, I pick one, read it and write a review, to be published on my blog and a major retailers website. Then it happens all over again. So. Here is my very first review. Oh joy!

Mary-Ann Kirby’s book I Am Hutterite is an awkward but occasionally endearing look into a community most have never even heard of, much less know anything about. I was definitely among the ignorant prior to reading the book, and anyone I’ve talked to since has also been in that category. The Hutterites are a community of exiles from Europe/Russia to the United States and Canada in the late eighteenth-centry. Though not a completely isolated commune, the Hutterites pride themselves on a distance from worldly ways and with an affinity for hard work, routine, structure and community. Kirby’s first-hand knowledge of the life of Hutterite colonies is a treat for readers and the authenticity of what she has to share is clear. Sometimes, however, that authenticity also gets in the way of the delivery. The narrative is generally dry and matter-of-fact and frequently boring. But there are enough touches of humor and sparks of brilliance that make the book feel less like a waste-of-time and more like an education. The book varies in tone from a young girl’s diary to a light history book to a language lesson as Kirby inserts Hutterisch (the language of the Hutterites, a variation on high German) with inconsistent and awkward English translations. She does, however, include a lexicon in the back of the book. Despite its faults, it is still an honest and unique look at a way of life vastly foreign to the majority of the Western world. I am not entirely sorry I read it and I would recommend it to a friend interested in this sort of writing.

5 comments:

The Wibbler said...

I was apparently supposed to include the following in my review. Sorry to miss it!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

amyrose said...

Wow, Heather! How did you get involved with this? It seems really neat. Do they pay you??

Do you get to choose what books you read? I always thought I would love to be a book reviewer, but not if I couldn't pick my own books...

remnant reminscences said...

Intersting review. You stated your opinion well and to the point. This is one of the few 'less then positive' reviews I've read concerning this book...and I've read dozen...I was born and raised on a Hutterite colony. Still live in one actually. I have my personal review of this book posted on my blog...

http://blogs.allhutterites.com/lightofevenstar/

The Wibbler said...

Amy - A friend of mine got me started. It's called BookSneeze and you can sign up at BookSneeze.com
You do get to choose what you read, but from handful they've already selected. You just get to choose which one in particular. But, you do not get paid. But still, I've thought about reviewing books, so I might as well give it a try, right? You ought to join!

The Wibbler said...

Remnant - I do love the community of the Hutterites, I just wasn't so fond of the manner of the book as many of the other reviews I read. No troubles though. That's why there are so very many books out there!