Title: Ashley’s Amish Adventures: An Outsider Living with the Amish
Author: Ashley Emma
Major Themes: Amish, Maine, Writing
Synopsis: When she wanted to write an Amish novel, a young woman spent a week living with an Amish family to learn their lifestyle firsthand.
As I have mentioned in a few reviews already, I have never been favorably impressed with “Amish fiction” written by people who have never been Amish. So much of it just seems to try to portray the Amish lifestyle as, somehow, cute. The books I’ve read in this genre often take a generic story and add “Dutchy” words and mentions of women wearing a “kapp” to make it seem different. I have never read any fiction by Ashley Emma, but after reading Ashley’s Amish Adventures: An Outsider Living with the Amish I am more inclined to read some of her books.
This book describes Ashley’s research for the Amish novel she wanted to write. She wanted to actually live with an Amish family and get a feel for the culture before she wrote the book, to make it more authentic. When she learned that there was a community fairly close to her home in Maine, she got in contact with a family there, and after an initial overnight visit to meet the family and go to church with them, she went back sometime later and spent a week. Ashley’s Amish Adventures: An Outsider Living with the Amish is her journal from this week, with some photos she took while there.
Ashley was able to experience a lot of her host’s typical day-to-day life. She helped make applesauce and wash laundry, visited the school and went to church and a youth singing. She experienced what it was like to live without electricity, and thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the families in the area.
Interestingly, although she never used the last name of the people she met, I figured out who they are! She mentioned a book written by the father of one of the men, which I have read. Knowing that makes me think that this particular community of Amish is probably one of the better ones, with much higher morals and standards than most. It seemed to be a pretty accurate portrayal of people like the Amish I knew as a child. I appreciated Ashley’s quest to be honest and accurate with her writing, and take the time to do the hands-on research. Incidentally, another thing I liked was that she was homeschooled!
Reading Independently—Ages 15 and Above, Adults