Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Plain Wisdom

When I first selected Plain Wisdom as my next book to read, I think that I was expecting it to be more of a story. Not necessarily a work of fiction, but still more of a tale of the friendship that developed between Cindy Woodsmall and Miriam Flaud, the two authors, one being a best-selling author and the other her Amish friend.

Instead, what I found was a collection of events - little tales and tidbits of stories - from their lives that were sometimes touching, sometimes funny, sometimes inspirational and sometimes thought-provoking. The common thread was that despite the completely different lifestyles of these two women, they have a lot in common. Not in the actual experiences themselves, but in the lessons learned and things they discovered about themselves through these experiences. The short stories, for the most part were paired - one from each woman, under a "chapter" name and a text from the Bible. Mixed into these short stories, were other "chapters" that were a glimpse into Amish families, traditions and homes. These sections were written from Cindy Woodsmall's perspective and shared things she has learned from her Amish friend. These sections are done with respect for the Amish and don't reveal too much. Also, sprinkled through out the story are a number of delicious sounding recipes, some of which I am very curious to try.

Having read some of the Amish fiction that Cindy Woodsmall has written, I recognized parts of some stories that Miriam Flaud shared from those books. She told the tale of her son being unable to find his dress pants. She of course worries that he has outgrown his latest pair and is with out pants that fit. She has him look in other closets in search a pair that fits, "at least well enough for today" and look in the mending pile, thinking maybe they needed a button. A few minutes later he casually comes walking outside, wearing a shirt and vest, dress shoes, black socks and suspenders, but no pants. She notes how she commented that he forgot his hat and the family breaks out in laughter, turning what could have ruined their day out into a light-hearted tale that they remember still. There was a similar tale shared in The Bridge to Peace by Cindy Woodsmall.

The book was good. I enjoyed reading it. The thing is, now that I am done, I am done. Unlike a story where you follow the development of the storyline and get to the end, wanting or needing to know more, this collection of tales left me with simply a sense of it's done. I enjoyed spending the time with the two women and getting to know more about them and what their experiences have taught them. There were experiences and lessons that I could relate to, but I don't feel that I really took any great learnings from the book. I liked how it was arranged into a number of short chapters, making it quick and easy to read. Even if I only had 5 minutes, I felt like I could pick it up and read a couple of chapters.

No compensation was received for this post. As a member of Blogging for Books, I had the opportunity to receive a free copy of this book for the purposes of sharing a review with my readers. All opinions expressed in this post are my own.