Ira Wagler, Author - used with permission

I started reading “Growing Up Amish: A Memoir” a few months ago on my flight to LA. I put it aside, not because it wasn’t great, but because my workload got overwhelming and my reading time was cutout. Still, picking up the book a month later put me right back into the story – it didn’t skip a beat.

Growing Up Amish: A Memoir” is a biography written by Ira Wagler. Born into the Amish life, he left at 17 only to return and leave again many times until he left for good at age 26. He tells the inside story of his life in the Amish order and the first thing I learned is that there are all kinds of Amish orders and their rules, regulations, and dictations are different from group to group.

I was also surprised to learn that Amish look down on other Amish orders – this was surprising to me. The Amish children also bully others not like them – again very surprising. One particularly sad story ended with a boy taking his own life because of the way he was treated by the other children. In my mind, things like this didn’t happen in a world that outwardly didn’t appear to have evolved much, but that’s where I was wrong.

The story is full of personal remembrances and events, and filled with the everyday life of his family and those around them. Ira shares his parents struggles and failures as well as his own. He tells of those who’ve left before and after him and tidbits about how they fared on their own. It’s not the story I thought I’d read. I expected the story to be about strictly religious parents, severe rules for living, etc., but what I found were perfectly flawed people living much the same as you and I. I realized I had a lot of misconceptions about the Amish, their religion, and their lifestyle.

“And for me, it was like a new day had dawned. For them first time as an adult, I faced the future without fear.”

—Ira Wagler: Growing Up Amish

Growing Up Amish: A Memoir by Ira Wagler

I can relate in a lot of ways to Ira. We’re similar in age so we grew up about the same time and we both broke free of the way we were living to create new lives. I appreciate his struggle and thoroughly enjoyed reading about his life.

Book Details:

Title: Growing Up Amish: A Memoir
Ira Wagler
Released: June 28, 2011
Publisher: Tyndale House
Pages/format: 288 (Trade Paperback)
Genre: Nonfiction, Christian Memoir


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