Well, here I am again with a book review of a book I think you will love! In my review of Turtle Heart, I mentioned this was an upcoming read, and let me tell you…I was not disappointed! I do wish I had had the chance to read this before Turtle Heart, simply because this gives a bit of background to that story, but I really don’t think it really matters. Both books are good, and both highly recommended.
Note: Some links in this post are affiliate links, which help support this blog at no added expense to you. Thanks! Also, the author gave me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review, and all thoughts expressed here are entirely my own.
About the book:
Plain? Yes. Simple? Well…
If you live in a conservative Mennonite community, edges are sewn shut and questions have answers. So if you’ve got a saucy tongue and a roving curiosity about the world, you’ve got a story to tell.
As a schoolteacher in a small Mennonite school in rural Wisconsin, Lucinda J. Miller wears long dresses and a prayer covering. But she uses a cell phone and posts status updates on Facebook. So why would a young woman with access to all these technologies remain in a sheltered community like the Plain Mennonites? How can someone with an eye for beauty and a sometimes sardonic wit stay within a tradition that values discipline and submission and uniformity?
Anything But Simple is the stirring memoir of a young woman’s rich church tradition, lively family life, and longing for a meaningful future within her Mennonite faith.
I was greatly impressed by Lucinda’s writing style. It’s fresh, clean, honest, and heartfelt. After getting to know her in Turtle Heart, I was excited to hear more of her story in this book—and it didn’t disappoint.
One thing I loved about this book was how Lucinda described growing up as a Mennonite. I’ve been blessed with a rich Christian heritage, and before reading this book, I thought I had a fairly good grasp on the typical Anabaptist groups, their core beliefs, and how that worked out in their own lives. My grandparents on both sides are part of the German Baptist church; my parents were raised German Baptists and later joined a non-denominational Anabaptist-influenced church, and since we moved to New Zealand when I was 11, we have always attended conservative churches here.
But what surprised me in this book was how open Lucinda was about what it means to her to be a Mennonite—and the incongruities she has found while in that church setting. Many things she mentioned felt somewhat familiar to me; other things were unexpectedly foreign. This wasn’t a treatise on “101 Reasons to Become a Mennonite”; it’s the story of a woman growing up in a loving family with a faith, understanding their faults, but ultimately loving the way both her beliefs and her family support her in her journey to love and follow the Lord more.
What I felt like this book did was take something that can feel so removed from “normal” society—a relatively small branch of the Christian faith—and put it into understandable terms that we all can relate to. Through her brilliant way of bringing us into her life, Lucinda’s “normal” can become our own for a few moments—and we can feel that, underneath everything else, none of us are really that much different from anyone else. Our labels may be different, but our hearts are the same—to seek Jesus more, and follow Him more closely.
Anything But Simple was a refreshing read, and I’ve come away with a lot of food for thought. I’m thankful I finally got to read Lucinda’s story, and I’ll definitely be keeping my eyes open for any books she may come out with in the future!
About the author:
Lucinda J Miller Kinsinger has always viewed herself as a shy little Mennonite girl, but refuses to let that stop her from pursuing what she loves—whether that’s writing with honesty and vulnerability or traveling to a remote village in China. In 2019, she married Ivan, the love of her life, and moved from the flat, tree-lined fields of her childhood home in Wisconsin to the rolling hills of Garrett County, Maryland. The couple has a baby daughter, Annalise. Since the publication of Anything but Simple, Lucinda has published a second memoir, Turtle Heart: Unlikely Friends with a Life-Changing Bond. She is columnist for Anabaptist World and blogs at lucindajkinsinger.com.
To celebrate her tour, Lucinda is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book. Be sure to comment on the blog stops (below) for nine extra entries into the giveaway. Go here to enter.
The other blog stops:
Texas Book-aholic, April 2
A Reader’s Brain, April 3
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 3
Inklings and notions, April 4
Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, April 5
All-of-a-kind Mom, April 5
She Lives To Read, April 6
deb’s Book Review, April 7
Locks, Hooks and Books, April 8
Happily Managing a Household of Boys, April 9
Tell Tale Book Reviews, April 10
Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, April 10
The Avid Reader, April 11
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 11
Rebecca Tews, April 12
Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, April 12
Sodbuster Living, April 13
Boondock Ramblings, April 13
Vicky Sluiter, April 14
For Him and My Family, April 14
Spoken from the Heart, April 15