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Crossing Over: One Woman's Escape from Amish Life [Paperback]

By Ruth Irene Garrett (Author)
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Item Number 161549  
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Item description for Crossing Over: One Woman's Escape from Amish Life by Ruth Irene Garrett...

Offers the story of how the author confronted her doubts and left the strict Amish community she grew up in to search for greater emotional and spiritual understanding in the outside world.

Publishers Description

A work Booklist called ଯving and life-affirming, Crossing Over is the true story of one woman's extraordinary flight from the protected world of the Amish people to the chaos of contemporary life.

Ruth Irene Garrett was the fifth of seven children raised in Kalona, Iowa, as a member of a strict Old Order Amish community. She was brought up in a world filled with rigid rules and intense secrecy, in an environment where the dress, buggies, codes of conduct, and way of life differed even from other Amish societies only 100 miles away. This Old Order community actively avoided all interaction with ೨e Englishߜ'96 everyone who lived on the outside. As a result, Ruth knew only one way of life, and one way of doing things.

This compelling narrative takes us inside a hidden community, offering a striking look as one woman comes to terms with her discontent and ultimately leaves her family, faith and the sheltered world of her childhood. Unsatisfied, she bravely crosses over to contemporary life to fully explore the foreign and frightening reality in hope of better understanding her emotional and spiritual desires. What emerges is a powerful tale of one woman's search for meaning and the extraordinary lessons she learns along the way.

Citations And Professional Reviews
Crossing Over: One Woman's Escape from Amish Life by Ruth Irene Garrett has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -

  • Kirkus Reviews - 12/01/2002 page 1748

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Item Specifications...

Studio: HarperOne
Pages   208
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.98" Width: 5.36" Height: 0.52"
Weight:   0.35 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 1, 2003
Publisher   HarperOne
ISBN  006052992X  
ISBN13  9780060529925  
UPC  099455013956  

Availability  90 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 21, 2017 01:19.
Usually ships within one to two business days from La Vergne, TN.
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More About Ruth Irene Garrett

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Garrett left the Amish faith and her family in 1996 and was ultimately excommunicated from the Amish church. Since that time, she has fully immersed herself in modern life. She married Ottie Garrett, joined the Lutheran church, learned how to drive, and has earned her high-school degree. She looks forward to attending college.

Ruth Irene Garrett currently resides in Horse Cave, in the state of Kentucky. Ruth Irene Garrett was born in 1974.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > General
2Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Leaders & Notable People > Religious
3Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Specific Groups > Women

Christian Product Categories
Books > Inspiration > Motivation > Biography & Autobiography

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Reviews - What do customers think about Crossing Over: One Woman's Escape from Amish Life?

I hated this book, but had to finish it!  Jun 1, 2008
This book was terrible, poorly written. Irene was bashing the Amish, but really she was mad at her father more than anything, and he represented anything Amish. I was just disgusted reading this book. I hated it but had to finish it, like when you pass a terrible car wreck you just have to slow down and look. Irene and Ollie are just profiting off the Amish. I am ashamed that I put money in Irene and Ollie's pocket by purchasing this book. And Ollie totally disgusts me. I wish there were pictures of both of them on the cover, though I have my opinion of what they both look like.
Not really sure how to feel   May 20, 2008
Hmmmmm... not really sure how to feel about this one. While I was into the book enough to keep reading and (at least in the beginning) cared enough about the story to want to know what happened next; my love and luster was sort've lost toward the end of the book...

I wanted to feel the love between the author and her husband (via the pages) but I didn't. I often thought of him as a man who had no respect for the Amish, though he used them. And then he saw a young girl attracted to him and he played on it. I didn't always see the book as a respect for her history rather and often times a disrespect. Perhaps she wanted to free of the Amish way--okay--but there were times when I wondered if she were fighting to not be Amish or simply being a rebel against her father.

Not real sure. I will say that the book is interesting and I am glad that I read it...but when I turned the last page I just wasn't sure what to make of it all. Just my P.O.V. read and review for yourself.
Sensitive, with a good grasp . . .  Feb 19, 2008
of the effects of living in a rigid, legalistic, narrow society, and the horrific psychological warfare waged by those inside such a cult against one who has freed herself. Her sensitivity and analysis is very good. The book flows well and is a fast, fascinating read. My only wish would be that more insight be given to adjustment to the "English" world once she left. A book that is definitely worthwhile, and definitely does not warrant the narrow, angry review given by Mr. Scheffler. Definitely worth the time to read, and the time to realize that, indeed, the Amish constitute a cult within the Christian framework and definition of a cult.
A group of friends and I have been studying the Amish. We have truly fallen in love with their commitment to family, community and God. While theologically we have different beliefs, the more we have learned - the more we admire. However, I felt that perhaps I needed to read something that explored the negative side to make sure I was giving both views a fair opportunity. I was totally disgusted with the book. I did not feel this was a young women who came out of her Amish faith for any reason other than rebellion against her parents. The fact that her husband could have looked upon her as anything but a child led me to be appalled and disgusted by him. She said she found freedom and Christ upon leaving her Amish faith - yet her book was filled with bitterness toward those she claimed to have "unconditional love" (her own words at the end) for. I was left thinking that the book was a mere attempt to justify her own rebellious actions toward God, her family and her faith. While I pity her for being in such bondage of unforgiveness, it was clear her family were left grieving their daughter, sister, community member; and it was them that my heart went out to. I thought - in her acts of rebellion it seems she would have crossed over from any family or faith. It was not a negative presentation of anything in the Amish faith - just a confused soul looking to justify her own self serving & rebellious life.
Fascinating look at the Amish Culture  Oct 18, 2007
This book is about one woman's journey into the "English" world after she decided to leave her strict Amish parents and their Old Order ways. While the writing wasn't stunning or spectacular, I do think it accurately reflected her plain origins and described her emotions and feelings very well. Some criticize her for seemingly publicly attacking her parents and other family members over the incident; I don't think it's so much an attack but her interpretation of the events. She does say several times that this was what she experienced - and might not necessarily reflect the ways of other Amish families or the communities in which they live.

I applaud her for her courage to stand up to the contradictions of her Amish faith and to make a positive change for herself - I'm sure it was not an easy decision. Past reviewers have criticized her for trying to come back to her family for visits, and wondering why she complains about not being served in a grocery store. As far as wanting to come back to see her parents - who can blame her? This is still her family, regardless of what has happened in the past, and those are not easy ties to sever. She says, at the very end, that no matter what, she will still love them unconditionally.

I grew up surrounded, near and far, by Amish communities in Holmes, Ashland, Richland and Knox Counties in Ohio. Growing up in this environment, you see them daily or weekly and give them no more than a passing thought, and they mingle in and out of English society without much more than a glance. But to tourists, and possibly the English at large, they are seen as `perfect,' without sin and that they are pure in thought and actions - which is largely untrue. I think this is why so many people are angry at Garrett's book - because it shatters the picture perfect image that so many people have of the Amish. They are, essentially, just like us - that is to say, humans - except for manner and style of dress. Even they seem to forget this most important part.

There are some basic tenets of the Amish faith that I understand and believe are true: for instance their belief that the English worship Santa Claus at Christmas and not Christ. The overcommercialization of Christmas leads me to believe this is true. The belief that our pastors preach about Heaven rather than Hell is largely true, too, at least in my experience. This is part of a growing trend in Christianity to please everyone and say exactly what they want to hear, something I'm not sure the Amish community has been subjected to. In this sense, yes, they probably do turn passages around (or omit certain ones) to suit their needs; but the Amish do this as well. It seems they are perfectly willing to turn a blind eye to those things that narrowly separate them from the English - they are unwilling to accept their most basic faults.

For further reading, I suggest Tom Shachtman's "Rumspringa", which takes a more academic approach to the subject. Both are excellent and insightful reading to get the true picture of what the Amish are really like.

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