Sunday, September 16, 2012
Book Review: Almost Amish by Kathryn Cushman
Title: Almost Amish
Author: Kathryn Cushman
2012, Bethany House
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Christian Fiction
Julie Charlton is at the breaking point. She's overwhelmed and burned out, and in today's unrelenting society, her kids are, too. When her sister-in-law Susan, a Martha Stewart-in-training, lands the chance to participate in a reality TV series promoting simple living, and needs another family to join her, it seems like the perfect opportunity.
The location is an idyllic farm outside an Amish community in Tennessee. Julie, with her two children, joins Susan and her teenage daughter for a summer adventure. Susan needs to succeed in order to become self-sufficient after an ugly divorce, Julie needs to slow down long enough to remember what her priorities are and regain a sense of purpose and meaning. It becomes clear from the start that "living simple" is no simple matter. With the camera watching every move, Susan's drive for perfection feels a lot like what they left behind, while Julie suddenly finds herself needing to stand up for slowing down. With each new challenge, their season of "going Amish" gets more and more complicated, as each woman learns unexpected lessons about herself and her family.
I loved the idea behind this book! I think I would love the opportunity to do something like this. In this story, Susan and Julie, sister-in-laws, go to live as an Amish family with their children for the summer as part of a reality TV show. Okay... other than the fact that they're on TV and without their husbands... those parts I'd change.
Julie has agreed to this plan because she hates her life. She hates everything about it. She's a stay-at-home mom, but she's so busy, she feels like she doesn't spend any time with her family. She also feels like she doesn't have any real gifts.... nothing to contribute that's special...
Compared to Susan, who is coming out of a nasty divorce and is trying to rebuild her life. She has a book coming out that she's trying to get some PR for by doing this show. She's extremely driven and the producer of the show doesn't help matters by adding a little more pressure.
I really enjoyed this book. It had a lot of interesting characters and the duel storylines of Julie and Susan were well-written and interesting. The kids attitudes were believeable and they added a lot of fun to the story. It was really a book about discovering yourself and what's important in life.
Disclosure: The book was provided to me free of charge by Bethany House Publishers for my honest review. All opinions in this post are my own and I did not receive any other compensation.