Thursday, November 17, 2011

Mandy Reviews - Worthless Boy: A Memoir by Orva Schrock

ISBN: 978-1-4327-8042-5
Page Count: 81
Copyright: 2011
Publisher: Outskirts Press

Book Summary:
(Taken from back cover)

Orva Schrock was born and raised Amish. He left that tradition to make his own way in the forbidden "English" world when he was 18. This is a fast paced and deeply felt story of his struggles to get along with his short-tempered Amish preacher father and to make sense of the seemingly impossible maze of mixed signals and demands, commands, and reprimands he encountered along the way. He never settled for the easy way out. His story is by turn painful and hopeful and ultimately healing. Along the way he examines and comments on the pain of a disturbed childhood and his misgivings about the religious indoctrination that was a dominant feature of his early training and of his emotional life. He is deeply critical of abusive child-rearing practices and the crazy-making religion of literal fundamentalist beliefs. This book is a celebration of freedom for one and all and of triumph over tyranny.

Mandy's Review:

A quick read that packs a lot of history into its pages, Worthless Boy will take you from Orva's childhood to present day. You'll read about his life as an Amish boy, in an Amish family and how difficult it was for him to cope. First chance he got, Orva struck out on his own.

I was drawn to this book because, like most people, I have a fascination with the Amish. I wonder what it would be like to live with their rules, their rigidity, their closeness. Would I find that type of support system satisfying ... or suffocating?

Being a memoir, Worthless Boy did not focus on the dynamics that make up the Order, but rather focused on a nuclei within the Order ... Orva's family. The family you are born into and raised with will affect how you see life. I truly believe that Orva questions the validity of religion because of the way his father acted and how  his father treated him. He has spent his life trying to find the answers to the questions many people have about God, creation, etc.

Overall, this book did not provide me with the insight into the Amish life that I was hoping for, but it did help me to understand why Orva feels the way he does about religions. This isn't the greatest memoir I've ever read, but if you like memoirs and want something quick to read, go ahead and pick up a copy of Worthless Boy.

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