Thursday, July 13, 2017

Bound or UnBound by the Ties That Bind

         Is it blood or love that actually makes us family?  This is a question that is really at the core of this first book in the series The Amish of Summer Grove by Cindy Woodsmall.  In Ties That Bind, the reader is introduced to a loving mother in a disastrous position for giving birth.  Then the story skips twenty years and the protagonist is revealed to be a baby born during that day as a fire ravaged an Amish birthing center.  On the surface this book, and likely the series, deals with the differences, both expected and unexpected, between the Amish culture and American culture, but on a deeper level it tackles questions of identity, love, what makes a family, and how actions by one family member have far rippling affects on all of the other family members.  It is a well crafted book but a difficult read for its emotional pain.  And yet, it is something that compels the reader to jump from the end of this book directly into book two.  It also raises one huge question: how can I be Amish for a week?
         Aside from expected characteristics of books set in the Amish genre, this book contrasts so many pieces of the ordnung with American life, of differences between people, and even the idea of taking loved ones for granted while setting up the characters to not only see life on the other side of this cultural gap but to experience it and see how they can grow from and through the experience.  It shakes ideas of black and white answers and challenges the reader to consider what can be answered so simply and what should be answered more softly in shades of gray or even the brilliant colors of the rainbow.  After all, the rainbow was a promise from God.  Would He use such a colorful representation of His promise if He didn't want use to consider many possibilities and complexities in any decision being made? Maybe.  And then again, maybe not.  But do take a read and share your thoughts below.

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