If You Leave This Farm: The Dream Is Destroyed
Archway Publishing (2014)
Reviewed by Susan Violante for Reader Views (12/14)
“If You Leave This Farm: The Dream Is Destroyed” by Amanda Farmer is a memoir that begins when a Mennonite family looks into moving from Pennsylvania to Minnesota to start over on their own farm, and a better piece of land. Amanda was a teenager, and although she felt awkward and different at school because of her faith and traditional clothing and routine, she loved the Mennonite lifestyle. For her parents, getting an education was not that important, so they really didn’t push it onto their kids, on the contrary they were expected to put work and faith first. I found this interesting because her mother was not a farmer; she was an active nurse and worked the night shift to provide income for the family other than the farm. Moving felt like an adventure to Amanda at first, but soon the farming routine became a repetitive nightmare as her father’s controlling personality got worse. Being the only girl of three kids did not help much. Amanda’s hardships however not only made her more determined to build a better life for herself, it also inspired her to enroll in nursing school.
Amanda Farmer did an excellent job conveying the feeling of being stuck in despair in a life that is not fulfilling, as well as the portraying the courage you have to have to break out of an abusive situation, although it felt slow at a point. What I found sad about all of all this is that everything could have been different. This was not someone who had a problem with the lifestyle and faith. This was someone who just wanted respect, love and consideration, and who dared to dream of an education, only to be pushed down into an emotional dark pit by an old, unhappy and frustrated man who took out all his insecurities on his children while their mother was just not available, physically or emotionally.
“If You Leave This Farm: The Dream Is Destroyed” by Amanda Farmer I found to be a well written narrative and an inspiring true story that all readers can learn from. Definitely, a must read for women who think that there is no way out and fill stuck in an unhappy life!