Monday, October 1, 2012

Accidentally Amish - Olivia Newport

Annie Friessen has lived a life steeped in technology.  She co-owns a software development company and has made a small fortune with her computer skills.  However, when she feels threatened by her friends and business partner, she ends up experiencing life with an Amish family and begins to wonder whether the simple life is better.  Rufus, the Amish man who helps her out, also has his livelihood threatened by a jealous competitor, but believes in the Amish way of turning the other cheek.  How will these two communicate? Is it possible for them to understand each other? Is there the possibility of their lives joining?

Usually, I shy away from Amish fiction, but I liked the idea of a story where the Amish and English world intersect so completely, where an Outsider truly tries to see what Amish life is like.  While it felt a little over the top for Annie to frequently make mental notes of things about the Amish that she could Google later, it felt very true to the tech generation, and I liked that the characters commented on the oddness of it directly.  Over the course of the book, it felt more natural for her to turn from her computer to the people around her. She began to learn that people, rather than computers or even money, are what people need for help and healing.  At one point, Rufus says "You have been in our home.  you have been in our church, among our people.  You have even used your technology to study us.  Still you do not understand.  Just when I think you begin to grasp our ways, you take things into your own hands again."  He also says "Our life is grounded in submission, and yours seeks control.  you can't have both."  This is a fundamental shift in worldview for Annie, and I like how it's a gradual shift in both thought and lifestyle for her.  The additional backstory of her research into how her and Rufus' families intersect historically lends weight to the very real conflict of decision to lead an Amish life.

I give Accidentally Amish 3 stars.  It was an interesting read to watch the transition from a technologically-driven life to a simpler one where she could seek God more easily.  Obviously, I do not believe that technology needs to be shunned, or I would not be writing this blog.  However, I can acknowledge that it can be distracting from the important things in life.

I received a copy of this book for free from Barbour Publishers, in exchange for my honest review.

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