Article About Amish Fiction

September 4, 2009 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

Here’s an article about Amish Fiction.

I found a few things interesting in this article. The first being that Amish ministerial leaders advise AGAINST reading these Amish books because:
“Romance books are a great hindrance to a Christian marriage,” said Andrew Troyer, a deacon in that community…
But they encourage the wrong foundation for marriage, he said.
“It gets young people all pumped up for the perfect setting, and that’s not reality. Marriage is God-ordained and divine and it’s wonderful to have a Christian marriage. But it takes give-and-take.”

Being a romance novelist myself, I certainly think it’s okay to read romance novels, as long as you realize that you are reading fiction. There are real elements woven into romance novels, even Amish romance novels, but, I don’t think they’re any less realistic than other forms of fiction and entertainment out there – like movies and secular novels.

The second interesting thing I noticed was the opinion of Amish books by Beth Graybill, a director of Mennonite Historical Society. She says: In life, she said, serious buggy accidents are rare, and outsiders adapting to Amish life even more so. Kidnappings are unheard of and good bishops outnumber the bad. As for rumspringa — a period when teens may explore outside ways while deciding whether to make a lifetime commitment to the Amish faith — most communities have taken steps to respond to past excesses, she said.

I recall when I read White Christmas Pie that I felt there were too many buggy accidents in that story. However, I can’t recall reading any of the Amish novels where I actually see the character going through Rumspringa. Usually, the character has already been through the Rumspringa phase, and it’s part of their past.

The third interesting thing I read was that Linda Byler, a Franklin County Amishwoman, writes Amish Fiction.
When Ms. Byler began writing in 2002, “we had lost our business and our home,” she said. “There’s not very much that an Amishwoman can do for making money except for quilting or a minimum-wage job. So I decided to try writing because I always liked the Laura Ingalls [Wilder] books.”

Her book “Lizzie,” was self-published in 2003. Filled with humor about her childhood, it was a hit among the Amish. Sequels followed Lizzie as she grew up, courted and married. Ms. Byler said she is about to sign with a publisher who can reach a mass market, and who plans to print the courtship and marriage books first.

She hasn’t read any of the romances written by outsiders, although Ms. Lewis once visited her. So far she has no imitators among the Amish.

“I write with a pen and a composition book. I don’t even have a typewriter,” she said. “I tell them it’s just like quilting. You just keep working at it.”

I’ve never read Amish fiction by a real Amish author. Anybody ever read Byler’s books? If so, did you like them?

From this article, I gathered that the Amish don’t read much Amish fiction with the exception of Byler’s books. I can’t imagine writing an entire novel in pen and ink, though! My hand would cramp up and it’d take me forever to get the novel done!

~Cecelia Dowdy~

3 Responses to Article About Amish Fiction

  1. T. Anne says:

    I’ve read Cindy Woodsmall and really enjoyed her books. I think it would be great to read it from a real Amish author though.

  2. Martha A. says:

    I have read many books written by Amish Authors. They are much better than ones written by non-amish, no offense to the Amish Fiction writers as most people who havenot lived that way, simply don’t get it how it really is, unless you live in it.

    Some of my favorites were a series about an Old Order Mennonite girl by Mrs Cleon Martin called The Pineapple Quilt series!

  3. Jenn V says:

    Carrie Bender is the pen-name of an Old Order Amish woman who has written many wonderful fiction books about Amish characters. She is one of my favorite authors. The Miriam’s Journal series is excellent.

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