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Blush

A Mennonite Girl Meets a Glittering World
Blush

By author: Shirley Hershey Showalter
Product Code: 9626
ISBN: 9780836196269
Binding Information: Paperback / softback
Size: 8.50 x 5.50 inches

Publication Date: 9/19/2013
Availability: In stock.

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“I promise: you will be transported,” says Bill Moyers of this memoir. Part Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, part Growing Up Amish, and part Little House on the Prairie, this book evokes a lost time, in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, when a sheltered little girl named after Shirley Temple entered a family and church caught up in the midst of the cultural changes of the 1950”s and ‘60’s. With gentle humor and clear-eyed affection the author, who grew up to become a college president, tells the story of her first encounters with the “glittering world” and her desire for “fancy” forbidden things she could see but not touch.

The reader enters a plain Mennonite Church building, walks through the meadow, makes sweet and sour feasts in the kitchen and watches the little girl grow up. Along the way, five other children enter the family, one baby sister dies, the family moves to the “home place.” The major decisions, whether to join the church, and whether to leave home and become the first person in her family to attend college, will have the reader rooting for the girl to break a new path. In the tradition of Jill Ker Conway’s The Road to Coorain, this book details the formation of a future leader who does not yet know she’s being prepared to stand up to power and to find her own voice.

The book contains many illustrations and resources, including recipes, a map, and an epilogue about why the author is still Mennonite. Topics covered include the death of a child, Pennsylvania Dutch cooking, the role of bishops in the Mennonite church, the paradoxes of plain life (including fancy cars and the practice of growing tobacco). The drama of passing on the family farm and Mennonite romance and courtship, as the author prepares to leave home for college, create the final challenges of the book.

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  • Foreword by Parker J. Palmer
  • Introduction
  • Map
  • Family Tree
  • Act I
  • 1. Mother’s Dream
  • 2. Daddy’s Dream
  • 3. A Twinkle in Their Eyes
  • 4. A Magical Childhood
  • 5. Fresh Air
  • Act II
  • 6. From Magic to Mystery: Entering School
  • 7. A Scream in the Night
  • 8. Seven Sweets and Seven Sours
  • 9. Mennonite Cooking in the Betty Crocker Era
  • 10. Feeling Small in School
  • 11. Getting Saved
  • 12. Magic in Manheim
  • Act III
  • 13. Rosy Cheeks
  • 14. The Home Place
  • 15. Dueling with Daddy
  • 16. Mennonite in a Little Black Convertible
  • 17. Standing Up to the Bishop
  • 18. Courtship and the Farmer’s Daughter
  • 19. Leaving Home
  • Epilogue: After the Glitter, the Gold
  • Acknowledgments
  • Glossary
  • Recipes
  • Why I Am (Still!) a Mennonite
  • The Author


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Reviews

Review: Publishers Weekly - September 1, 2013

“The author-memoirist describes growing up Mennonite; her story affords glimpses into this religion’s traditions and rituals. This memoir will interest readers who want to learn about growing up Mennonite.”

Review by: Bill Moyers, journalist and commentator - August 4, 2013

“Not since Kathleen Norris’s Dakota: A Spiritual Geography have I read a more beautifully written or movingly told story, one whose minute particulars become a portal into universal significance. I promise: you will be transported.”

Review by: Julia Spicher Kasdorf, author of The Body and the Book: Writing from a Mennonite Life - August 4, 2013

“Recalled with fairness and wit, this tale of growing up after World War II shows how Mennonite life in Dutch Country—and all of America—changed.”

Review by: Donald Kraybill, coauthor of Amish Grace - August 4, 2013

“Shirley Showalter tells a compelling story of spiritual and cultural formation. Hers is a delicate dance between the tug of the outside world and the restraints of her birthright community.”

Review by: Ann Hostetler, professor of English, Goshen College - August 4, 2013

“Whether she is wearing her new letter jacket or biting a worm in two on a dare from her father, the young Shirley will win your affection.”

Review by: Mark Nepo, author of Seven Thousand Ways to Listen and The Book of Awakening - August 4, 2013

“Shirley Showalter is both a thoughtful historian and a balanced, inner journalist. She affirms—with detail, honesty, and humility—the need to break our own trail while honoring tradition.”

Review by: Hildi Froese Tiessen, professor emerita, Conrad Grebel University College - August 4, 2013

“Showalter’s portrait of this extraordinary little girl who wants to be ‘big’ will captivate and enchant readers of all generations.”

Review by: Saloma Miller Furlong, author of Why I Left the Amish - August 4, 2013

“This memoir provides an authentic rendition of a plain Mennonite girlhood, so rich in sensory details that it magically transports us into that world.”

Review by: Tom Beech, president emeritus, Fetzer Institute - August 4, 2013

“Shirley’s stories resonate powerfully with the tension we all live with—between our own aspirations and the expectations of others. You must read this book, and when you do, hang onto your hats and prayer coverings!”

Review by: Dora Dueck, award-winning author of This Hidden Thing and What You Get at Home - August 4, 2013

“She’s a smart, sweetly blushing, baseball-loving, convertible-driving, taking-on-the-bishop kind of girl who delights and inspires.”

Review by: Suzanne Woods Fisher, author of Amish Peace - August 4, 2013

Blush is a collection of memories by a woman born with a knack for flirting with boundaries.”

Review by: John Ruth, author of The Earth is the Lord's - August 4, 2013

“With spunk, candor, authentic color, and page-turning style, Shirley Showalter takes us into a girl’s experience of the threshold between tradition and cultural shift.”

Review by: Joanne Gabbin, professor of English, James Madison University, and director of th Furious Flower Poetry Center - August 4, 2013

“Like a blush, Showalter’s engaging story deepens and intensifies as we discover that there is no such thing as a small life.”

Review by: Ervin Stutzman, author of the Return to Northkill series - August 4, 2013

“Shirley Showalter drew me in with the very first lines of her introduction—an audacious confession that sounds the depth of her endeavor.”

Review by: Jennifer Louden, author of The Woman's Comfort Book and The Life Organizer - August 4, 2013

“Reading Blush is like eating the most delicious hot apple pie served with something tart, fresh, and zingy. Read it to be inspired by a brave woman willing to find her own voice.”

Review by: Darrelyn Saloom, coauthor of My Call to the Ring - August 4, 2013

“To read Shirley Showalter’s beautifully written memoir is like stepping into a childhood as far from mine as the moon. Her story is one I longed for my whole life.”



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