Born into an Old Order Amish community in Canada, Ira was the ninth of eleven children. Content as a child, as Ira grew older he became restless and unhappy being Amish. He left four times before finally leaving for good at age 26.
Besides Growing Up Amish, I've read three other books about people who have left the Amish. I read both of Saloma Miller Furlong's books, which I highly recommend.
Just know if you're looking for a book about the Amish to learn their culture and traditions, this is not the right book for that. While there is some to be learned about the Amish in Mr. Wagler's book, it is about him and his struggle with being Amish.
Some of the reviews I've read for this book say Ira Wagler is egotistical and bitter. I didn't see any ego or bitterness his writing. The author, in my opinion, is very honest. He never really criticizes the Amish for their ways, even if he disagrees with them.
So, while the author does talk about his Amish upbringing, some traditions and how Amish differ from community to community, this is mainly about him, the times he left the Amish and ultimately finding peace within himself and choosing the path that was right for him.
I think Ira is very honest in this book and doesn't want to give anyone a romanticized view of the Amish, which I've encountered many people who have such a view of the Amish. The Amish are plain people, but they are still people. They have their flaws and share of problems. And Ira doesn't try to cover up the faults of the Amish.
While there is plenty I don't agree with the Amish about, there is one that does amaze me about them. Whenever someone in their community needs help, the community gets together and helps them. If only all people did that.
While Ira doesn't exactly in depth about the struggles he had with the Amish, this is still quite a good read. And I think people will be able to relate to Ira's feelings of not fitting in. A good book I enjoyed reading.