Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Review of Levi's Will

Levi's Will, written by W. Dale Cramer, begins in Ohio's Old Order Amish country with a rebellious young Amishman named Will. Will and his brother Tobe are running off into the night during WWII, escaping the heavy hand of punishment that is surely to be dealt by Will's father, Levi, as a result of Will impregnating his Amish girlfriend. The book revolved around Will's subsequent lies as he goes out into "The World" and creates a new life free of his Amish background. In time, Will is naturally drawn back to Ohio as he tries to reconcile with his stern Amish father as well as connect with his all too modern son.

As an avid reader of Beverly Lewis' filtered portrayals of the Amish, Cramer's rougher treatment of them was a surprise to me. Although the Amish are clearly portrayed as amazingly hard workers, their spirituality is mostly shown as arid and dry. Will's own life is similarly arid and dry, and he is not a particularly sympathetic character for most of the book. Nonetheless, I found myself squarely in his corner as the book reached its denouement.

Cramer's writing is clear and mostly unadorned. He jumps between several different time periods throughout the book, unfolding the story in a pleasant way. This story would make an excellent refutation for those who have a romanticized view of Amish life.

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