I am Hutterite: The Fascinating True Story of a Young Woman's Journey to Reclaim Her Heritage
By Mary-Ann Kirkby
Thomas Nelson, Nashville, Tennessee, 2007, 245 pages, hardcover.
In 1969, Ann-Marie Dornn's parents did the unthinkable. They left a Hutterite colony near Portage la Prairie, Manitoba with seven children and little else, to start a new life. Overnight, the family was thrust into a society they did not understand and which know little of their unique culture. The transition was overwhelming.
Desperate to be accepted, ten year-old Ann-Marie is forced to deny her heritage in order to fit in with her peers. I am Hutterite chronicles her quest to reinvent herself as she comes to terms with the painful circumstances that led her family to leave community life.
Rich with memorable characters and vivid descriptions, this ground-breaking narrative shines a light on intolerance, illuminating the simple truth that beneath every human exterior beats a heart longing for understanding and acceptance.
I am Hutterite takes us inside Fairholme Colony in southern Manitoba where Mary-Ann Kirkby spent her childhood. Her detailed portrait of Hutterian people opens a window on a closed community and reveals a way of life that seems extraordinary to the outside world.
When Mary-Ann left Fairholme, she had never tasted macaroni and cheese, never heard of Walt Disney or ridden a bike. Her language and clothing were ridiculed; her culture was treated with suspicion. No one understood that behind the black hats and polka dots lay a spirited people with a strong work ethic and an earthy sense of humor. No one understood her family's deep sense of community or their profound sense of loss.
As a television reporter, Mary-Ann Kirkby spent years telling the stories of others. Now she is ready to share her own. I am Hutterite layers the rich traditions of colony life with the stark realities of intolerance and mistrust, weaving a gripping tale that tests the power of foregiveness.
About the Author:
Mary-Ann Kirkby spent the first ten years of her life in a Hutterite Colony in Manitoba, Canada. In 1969 her parents did the unthinkable. They uprooted their seven children and left the only life they had ever known, thrusting them into a society they did not understand and which did not understand them. Mary-Ann's transition into popular culture is both heartbreaking and hilarious. An award-winning television journalist, Mary-Ann learned the fine art of storytelling at the knees of her gifted Hutterite teachers. She lives in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.
Press release: Canada’s Best Selling Author touring Dakota Libraries with award winning book, I Am Hutterite
U.S. Publishers Weekly Review, April, 2010
Redekop, Bill. "I am Hutterite a loving childhood memoir." Winnipeg Free Press, 16 March 2008, A5.