Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Book Review: Almost Amish

Almost Amish. Kathryn Cushman. 2012. Bethany House. 336 pages.

"We're going live in five, four, three, two, one." As the countdown culminated, the audience did as they were instructed and began to clap wildly, as if this moment was the greatest in their lives. 

Almost Amish chronicles the lives of two families trying to simplify their lives over the summer. Two families sharing a house in front of cameras and a camera crew. Susan, the perfectionist, is supposed to be the star of a new show. And if all goes well, she could end up with a book deal and more TV opportunities. A dream come true...for Susan. She has brought her teen daughter, Angie, her sister-in-law, Julie, her teen niece, Whitney, and her nephew, Brian. They will be living in a house that has definitely seen better days. And they'll be trying to mimic the Amish lifestyle--to a certain degree. All under the direction and guidance of Kendra, a woman with a cruel streak perhaps! Each week this family will face a particular "challenge" for the show.

Julie believes that it is all about simplifying, prioritizing, making time for family, cherishing family, making each moment count. Susan, on the other hand, thinks it is about being perfect 24/7 forever and ever without stopping to relax. Cleaning, cooking, cleaning, cooking, cleaning, cooking, and let us not forget pressuring others to meet our standards! It's not enough for Susan to be Susan. She wants to remake everyone regardless of how they feel about it. Poor Angie! Poor Julie! Poor Whitney! Susan is never satisfied.

Surrounded by Susan's negativity and perhaps her own husband's negativity as well since he shares some of the views of his sister, Julie always, always feels inadequate. She doesn't think she's good at anything. She doesn't think she has any gifts or talents. Sure people always tell her she's nice, but, she doesn't think that should count.

Readers get to know Susan, Julie, Angie, and to a lesser degree Whitney and Brian. And then there's the "handy man" Gary who is also part of the show. It will definitely be an unforgettable experience. But who will learn the most? And who will be a hit with viewers?

I really liked this one! I definitely preferred Julie to Susan! And I loved the chapters with quilting lessons! This one was definitely more focused on family relationships than romance. I thought it was a great story with a great message.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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