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Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

If You Leave This Farm: The Dream Is Destroyed by Amanda Farmer

As a teenage Mennonite girl, Amanda lives with her close-knit family in south central Pennsylvania. Life revolves around hard work, faith, and commitment to the family. She doesn't question the daily routine; it's the only life she's known.

Description:

As a teenage Mennonite girl, Amanda lives with her close-knit family in south central Pennsylvania. Life revolves around hard work, faith, and commitment to the family. She doesn't question the daily routine; it's the only life she's known. Her father talks about buying a farm out west with a lot of land in one block. Not only will the family farm there together, but the parents hope to begin a new Mennonite community. To a fifteen-year-old girl, this move begins as an exciting adventure.

In If You leave this Farm, Amanda shares the story of her family's relocation to Minnesota and the subsequent challenges they face as farmers, a family, and Mennonites. She tells how the first crop year was a huge failure and her father alone makes the decision to expand the new dairy in an attempt to recoup the losses. This memoir chronicles the years of struggle as Amanda and her younger brother Joseph seek to escape their father's suffocating and controlling behavior.

Intermingled with the struggle on the farm is the effort to become an accepted member of the Minnesota Mennonite community. The change in Amanda's father's behavior and attitude during the first years in Minnesota alienates him and his family from others of the same faith. She shares a mix of emotions as she wrestles with the shame of her family's standing with the Mennonites and the crushing weight of constant submission to her father's misguided use of his God-given authority. 

EXCERPT

I grab a book to read while supper is being put on the table. Reading is my escape to adventures I probably will never see, but there is nothing to stop me from dreaming. I work in a few paragraphs before it is time to gather at the table. Daddy begins by reading a passage aloud from the Bible. Then he prays before we dig into a hearty meal of farmer’s fare: potatoes, meat, a vegetable, and always a dessert. 

“Children,” Daddy says tonight, “Next Monday evening, we are going to go to Nirvana to see some slides of farms that are for sale in the Midwest. They are being shown by a real estate agent from there. I need you to get the milking started right away when you get home from school.” 

Daddy has been talking for some time now about buying land “out West” and moving out of the crowded Pennsylvania area. Currently, Daddy is renting land in small blocks of five to ten acres, as far away as twenty miles from the home farm. He and Paul are farming around five hundred acres altogether. We all spend a lot of time on the road, traveling back and forth to the various fields and hauling the baled hay home during the long summer days. Daddy and Paul think it would be so much easier to just have a piece of land all in one block to farm. I am not so sure about this idea, but Daddy promises that if we do this, we won’t milk as many cows. We will only have maybe fifty cows. That sounds like a wonderful idea to me and I am open to an adventure. By now it is nine thirty, and I fall into bed, exhausted with dreams of faraway places and fewer cows to milk.

About the author:
Amanda Farmer grew up on the farm and worked there with her family until the age of twenty-nine. She earned a master’s degree in nurse anesthesia. Farmer now lives with her husband on a hobby farm in southeastern Minnesota. They have one grown daughter.

As a teenage Mennonite girl, Amanda lives with her close-knit family in south central Pennsylvania. Life revolves around hard work, faith, and commitment to the family. She doesn’t question the daily routine; it’s the only life she’s known. Her father talks about buying a farm out west with a lot of land in one block. Not only will the family farm there together, but the parents hope to begin a new Mennonite community. To a fifteen-year-old girl, this move begins as an exciting adventure. In If You leave this Farm, Amanda shares the story of her family’s relocation to Minnesota and the subsequent challenges they face as farmers, a family, and Mennonites.

She tells how the first crop year was a huge failure and her father alone makes the decision to expand the new dairy in an attempt to recoup the losses. This memoir chronicles the years of struggle as Amanda and her younger brother Joseph seek to escape their father’s suffocating and controlling behavior. Intermingled with the struggle on the farm is the effort to become an accepted member of the Minnesota Mennonite community. The change in Amanda’s father’s behavior and attitude during the first years in Minnesota alienates him and his family from others of the same faith. She shares a mix of emotions as she wrestles with the shame of her family’s standing with the Mennonites and the crushing weight of constant submission to her father’s misguided use of his God-given authority.

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1 comment:

Amanda Farmer said...

Thank you for highlighting my book on Mythical Books. Amanda Farmer