Plainspoken is an imprint of Herald Press which specializes in providing a place for Mennonite, Amish and Hutterite authors to tell their stories. A glance at most bookstore will show that Amish/Mennonite fiction (romance and mysteries) are popular, but as anyone with a bit of knowledge about these religious communities can tell you, the accuracy within those stories varies widely. The make up of our rural Wisconsin neighborhood changed significantly thirty years ago when many farms were bought by the Amish. Now, the area is known for its Amish produce and craftsman more than the "English" dairy farms and small businesses. Having Amish neighbors from whom we buy produce and furniture has fueled my interest in their way of life and their beliefs. A summer concert by members of a Mennonite church in a nearby town sparked my interest in all Anabaptist groups. That was fueled by the Canadian blog MENNONITE GIRLS CAN COOK. When Plainspoken published Linda Maendel's HUTTERITE DIARIES, I welcomed the chance to read and review this wonderful book which not only gave us a peak at a large Hutterite colony on the Canadian plains, but also explained the history of the group.
A new jig-saw puzzle each week, sharing in the task of making new dresses for a brother's wedding, taking turns doing the noon dishes by hand, new recipes (both successful ones and failures), holding a new niece or nephew for the first time -- all these events will never make news headlines, but they are pieces of a solid, affirming way of life.. Darla explains the importance of these Tuesday visits and talks in this way: it wasn't that our topics were of any momentous importance, It was simply a sharing of daily moments, thoughts, lessons learned or in the process of being learned. As long as we breathe there are things to learn, and sometimes we can benefit from sisters' lessons too.
Perhaps my favorite part of each Tuesday's retelling was Darla's tales of the preschoolers and their antics. Many of them reminded me of get togethers decades ago with my cousins on our farm -- playing in the mud, searching the barn for baby kittens, tricking the moms with a plastic snake, and cutting up the zucchini for canoes. No need for cartoons or i-pads. And never a dull moment!! I think this title would a lovely gift book for an older reader, someone who is recuperating from surgery, or anyone who has forgotten that the simple things in life are the important ones!!
I was given a copy of this book by the publisher and Audra Reads. All opinions are mine.