Close cookie details

This site uses cookies. Learn more about cookies.

OverDrive would like to use cookies to store information on your computer to improve your user experience at our Website. One of the cookies we use is critical for certain aspects of the site to operate and has already been set. You may delete and block all cookies from this site, but this could affect certain features or services of the site. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, click here to see our Privacy Policy.

If you do not wish to continue, please click here to exit this site.

Hide notification

  Main Nav
Growing Up Amish
Cover of Growing Up Amish
Growing Up Amish
A Memoir
Borrow
New York Times eBook bestseller!
One fateful starless night, 17-year-old Ira Wagler got up at 2 AM, left a scribbled note under his pillow, packed all of his earthly belongings into in a little black duffel bag, and walked away from his home in the Amish settlement of Bloomfield, Iowa. Now, in this heartwarming memoir, Ira paints a vivid portrait of Amish life—from his childhood days on the family farm, his Rumspringa rite of passage at age 16, to his ultimate decision to leave the Amish Church for good at age 26. Growing Up Amish is the true story of one man's quest to discover who he is and where he belongs. Readers will laugh, cry, and be inspired by this charming yet poignant coming of age story set amidst the backdrop of one of the most enigmatic cultures in America today—the Old Order Amish.
New York Times eBook bestseller!
One fateful starless night, 17-year-old Ira Wagler got up at 2 AM, left a scribbled note under his pillow, packed all of his earthly belongings into in a little black duffel bag, and walked away from his home in the Amish settlement of Bloomfield, Iowa. Now, in this heartwarming memoir, Ira paints a vivid portrait of Amish life—from his childhood days on the family farm, his Rumspringa rite of passage at age 16, to his ultimate decision to leave the Amish Church for good at age 26. Growing Up Amish is the true story of one man's quest to discover who he is and where he belongs. Readers will laugh, cry, and be inspired by this charming yet poignant coming of age story set amidst the backdrop of one of the most enigmatic cultures in America today—the Old Order Amish.
Available formats-
  • OverDrive Read
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
  • Lexile:
  • Interest Level:
  • Text Difficulty:

Recommended for you

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    June 13, 2011
    Filmmakers, academics, and novelists have offered depictions of Amish life. This memoir offers a nuanced account from a man who straddled both Amish and "English" (non-Amish) worlds. Wagler recounts his Amish upbringing, from dating conventions and worship services to local gossip and schoolyard bullies. The simplicity of everyday life may seem quaint on the surface. Yet Wagler bravely goes on to expose pervasive dissatisfaction among both youth and adult Amish living in what he characterizes as a stifling, formulaic world. Such unspoken displeasure sparked a cycle of coming and going for the author, who repeatedly crept away from his community only to return, if reluctantly, for its familiarity. It was a "paradox that would haunt me for almost ten years: the tug-of-war between two worlds." His tale of restlessness looks acutely at the clash of family ties with love of freedom. The memoir is worthwhile as much for its Amish insights as for its exploration of one man's emotional turmoil, regret, and shame. Wagler, who now works at a building and supply company in Lancaster County, Pa., deserves praise for his honesty.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from June 1, 2011

    An affecting memoir from a former Old Order Amish member who abandoned his structured family life for autonomy in the free world.

    Wagler, the 9th of 11 children, recalls his family settling in the "somewhat progressive" southwestern Canadian township of Aylmer in the 1960s. They enjoyed running water on the farm, unlike other more conservative Amish collectives bound by what Wagler calls the "inordinate fussing" of horse-and-buggy travel, forbidden electric and telephone service, home-sewn dresses for women and beards for men. His farm years are fondly and unhurriedly conveyed in ponderous reflection as Wagler admits to rarely ever being bored growing up (three-hour church services were the only exception). As his teenage years hit, resistance to the rigid Amish rules simmered while the family uprooted themselves to a burgeoning Amish community in Bloomfield, Iowa. There, Wagler experimented with the worldly temptations of the outward "English society" during his traditional adolescent "Rumspringa" period, but, at 17, the itch of independence became a calling he couldn't deny or resist. Late one night, armed with a duffel bag and $150, he left home. In engrossing, straightforward prose, the author passionately describes the ensuing five years he spent rationalizing his desire to join the outside world while he grappled with the tidal pull back to familial safety and stability. This created an exasperating cycle of secretive departures and humbling homecomings; even an attempt at love was dashed in favor of fleeing once again. The collective shunning by the Amish church proved a double-edged sword for the author; while sorrowful, it finally brought necessary closure to Wagler's youthful wanderings, yet taught him how to "leave and not be lost."

    Boldly goes where many Amish chronicles fear to tread: the exodus of members seeking an unencumbered lifestyle.

    (COPYRIGHT (2011) KIRKUS REVIEWS/NIELSEN BUSINESS MEDIA, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)

  • Library Journal

    October 1, 2011

    This book joins several others recently published on the now popular subject of Amish life. In his memoir, Wagler chronicles growing up in an Iowa Amish community and eventually leaving it. First written on his blog at www.irawagler.com, the narrative unfolds well for a first book. Wagler's writing portrays the conflicting emotions of breaking away from the family and faith he loves because of his need to break free from a life that didn't suit him. The distinct feature of this story is that through all of his teen angst and turmoil, during which he left the Amish, he did not lose his faith in God. He was able to find another faith community to identify with. This engaging memoir doesn't lag but keeps the reader interested all the way through. VERDICT Fans of all things Amish, as well as those interested specifically in spirituality, will find this a good read. It serves as a nice addition to previous books written on the subject.--Holly Hebert, Brentwood P.L., TN

    Copyright 2011 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from May 15, 2011
    Like many other memoirs, this is the record of an unhappy youth. It reports no physical or mental cruelty, however, other than a four-year-olds overly candid remark and commonplace, though still sickening, schoolyard bullying. What readers may see as cultural crueltythe doctrinaire social archaism of the AmishWagler probably doesnt and never did. Yet he rebelled against his upbringing because he wanted to live in a wider world. As a young teenager, he and five buddies conspired to smoke and drink. When he was 16, he sneaked away from home in the night, leaving a note under his pillow. He worked on a cattle ranch for several months, then went back home.It was the first of many departures and returns, until he met a very rare person, a convert to the Amish (who as, Wagler says, have been vanishingly few) who made him confident in his Christianity, thereby enabling him not to come back but to leave permanently. Wagler grinds no axes; this is not an argumentative or polemical book. Chaste in vocabulary, limpid in exposition, masterfully but never self-importantly focused on its authors experience and reflection, it is a fine literary achievement as well as a calming reassurance that Christianity is a religion, not an institution.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2011, American Library Association.)

Title Information+
  • Publisher
    Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
  • OverDrive Read
    Release date:
Digital Rights Information+
  • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

Status bar:

You've reached your checkout limit.

Visit your Checkouts page to manage your titles.

Close

You already have this title checked out.

Want to go to your Checkouts?

Close

Recommendation Limit Reached.

You've reached the maximum number of titles you can recommend at this time. You can recommend up to 99 titles every 1 day(s).

Close

Sign in to recommend this title.

Recommend your library consider adding this title to the Digital Collection.

Close

Enhanced Details

Close
Close

Limited availability

Availability can change throughout the month based on the library's budget.

is available for days.

Once playback starts, you have hours to view the title.

Close

Permissions

Close

The OverDrive Read format of this eBook has professional narration that plays while you read in your browser. Learn more here.

Close

Holds

Total holds:


Close

Restricted

Some format options have been disabled. You may see additional download options outside of this network.

Close

MP3 audiobooks are only supported on macOS 10.6 (Snow Leopard) through 10.14 (Mojave). Learn more about MP3 audiobook support on Macs.

Close

Please update to the latest version of the OverDrive app to stream videos.

Close

You've reached your library's checkout limit for digital titles.

To make room for more checkouts, you may be able to return titles from your Checkouts page.

Close

Excessive Checkout Limit Reached.

There have been too many titles checked out and returned by your account within a short period of time.

Try again in several days. If you are still not able to check out titles after 7 days, please contact Support.

Close

You have already checked out this title. To access it, return to your Checkouts page.

Close

This title is not available for your card type. If you think this is an error contact support.

Close

An unexpected error has occurred.

If this problem persists, please contact support.

Close

Close

NOTE: Barnes and Noble® may change this list of devices at any time.

Close
Buy it now
and help our library WIN!
Growing Up Amish
Growing Up Amish
A Memoir
Ira Wagler
Choose a retail partner below to buy this title for yourself.
A portion of this purchase goes to support your library.
Clicking on the 'Buy It Now' link will cause you to leave the library download platform website. The content of the retail website is not controlled by the library. Please be aware that the website does not have the same privacy policy as the library or its service providers.
Close
Close

There are no copies of this issue left to borrow. Please try to borrow this title again when a new issue is released.

Close
Barnes & Noble Sign In |   Sign In

You will be prompted to sign into your library account on the next page.

If this is your first time selecting “Send to NOOK,” you will then be taken to a Barnes & Noble page to sign into (or create) your NOOK account. You should only have to sign into your NOOK account once to link it to your library account. After this one-time step, periodicals will be automatically sent to your NOOK account when you select "Send to NOOK."

The first time you select “Send to NOOK,” you will be taken to a Barnes & Noble page to sign into (or create) your NOOK account. You should only have to sign into your NOOK account once to link it to your library account. After this one-time step, periodicals will be automatically sent to your NOOK account when you select "Send to NOOK."

You can read periodicals on any NOOK tablet or in the free NOOK reading app for iOS, Android or Windows 8.

Accept to ContinueCancel