Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Hutterite Diaries by Linda Maendel

Herald Press (May 18, 2015) 165 pages


What would it be like to share all your possessions and live in Christian community? In Hutterite Diaries, Linda Maendel offers a rare glimpse into the daily routines and communal faith of her people, the Hutterian Brethren. From stories of working together to bring in the fall potato harvest to laugh-out-loud tales of sisterly love laced with revenge, Maendel invites readers into her Bruderhof, or colony, nestled on the prairie of western Canada. Here children and adults work, play, eat, and worship together, crafting a community of goods and living out an alternative to the individualism and consumerism of mainstream society.

Few outsiders know anything about the Hutterites, a Plain Christian group related to the Amish and Mennonites. Maendel's story invites readers into deeper understanding of this community of faith, calling us to take seriously the example of Jesus and the early church in our daily living.

My Thoughts:

Although I don't read many of them anymore, I once enjoyed reading Amish books. I know that the Hutterite lifestyle is very different, but I couldn't help but be curious when I heard about this book. I find the idea of quieting some of the clutter of the typical American lifestyle appealing. With the Hutterite lifestyle, I find some parts of the community lifestyle appealing. I wanted to learn more, so I jumped at the chance to read Hutterite Diaries.

I have to admit, this book was a bit different than I was expecting. It's somewhat of a mash up of things, with a diary/memoir type of feel. The author shares stories from her childhood, and more than not, it's reminiscing about her community and family. There's some historical information, and peeks into the life of the Hutterite community. It's a gentle and simple kind of read, and one that I think I would have enjoyed more reading a bit of each day, as opposed to straight through. If you choose to read it straight through, it's a quick read. Even though I didn't get quite the look into a typical day that I thought I would, it was still a sweet read, and I did get a peek at it. In the back, though, there are a few pages of questions and answers with the author, giving us a bit more detail of the Hutterite lifestyle.

I expected the Hutterites to be closer to the Amish, for some reason. I was surprised to see that they use internet and electronics so much. Being a community is a big deal to the Hutterites. They share responsibilities and chores with others in the community. Part of me would love not having to cook everyday! They gather at a cafeteria of sorts and share cooking/cleaning/working responsibilities. The other part of me enjoys getting to spend meals with my family. I really do dream of the closeness they seem to share, though. Sometimes, it gets very lonely in my little spot in the woods! ;)

Overall, this is a sweet and simple read. I enjoyed the peek into the author's Hutterite lifestyle.

*I was provided a review copy, in exchange for my honest opinion.


Purchase Link:

Hutterite Diaries (Plainspoken)


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