We asked WriteAngles registrar Saloma Furlong to tell us about her upcoming memoir WHY I LEFT THE AMISH which will debut next January. She sent us this intriguing blurb:
There are two ways to leave the Amish – one is through life and the other through death. When Saloma Miller Furlong’s father dies during her first semester at Smith College, she returns to the Amish community she had left twenty-four years earlier to attend his funeral. Her journey home prompts a flood of memories. Now a mother with grown children of her own, Saloma recalls her painful childhood in a family defined by her father’s mental illness, her brother’s brutality, her mother’s frustration, and the austere traditions of the Amish – traditions she struggled to accept for years before making the difficult decision to leave the community.
Saloma began writing her story fifteen years ago while running a bakery business and raising her two sons with her husband David. Though her memory was keen with the often-painful details of her childhood, she realizes now that she needed to “live” more of her story for it to evolve and mature. She states, “My book could not have been written in the earlier years after exiting the community. There has been a long inner struggle of coming to terms with my Amish past. My aim is to tell a nuanced and balanced story – one that neither romanticizes nor demonizes the culture in which I grew up, and one that conveys the gratitude I have for the freedom I enjoy in my present life.”
Perhaps the fifteen years of living her story is what makes WHY I LEFT THE AMISH such a compelling read. In this personal and moving memoir, Saloma traces the genesis of her desire for freedom and education and chronicles her conflicted quest for independence. Eloquently told, the book is a revealing portrait of life within – and without – this frequently misunderstood culture.