Like her grandmother, Lucinda J. Miller wears long dresses and a prayer covering. But she uses a cellphone and posts status updates on Facebook, too. Anything but Simple is the riveting memoir of a young woman’s rich church tradition, lively family life, and longings for a meaningful future within her Mennonite faith. With a roving curiosity and a sometimes saucy tongue, Miller ushers us into her busy life as a young schoolteacher.
Sometimes after finishing a book, you'd like to meet the author, especially if it's a memoir. That's how I'm feeling right now. I looked forward to reading Anything But Simple because it's part of the Plainspoken series, like my own book, Hutterite Diaries and was not disappointed.
Lucinda is a great storyteller, and her descriptive language had me chuckling a number of times; like the time she described a bishops wife, "She had a face as round and wrinkled as a warm oatmeal cookie fresh from the oven and fallen in on itself." There are a few people in my life I could describe like that, but would have never thought to use an oatmeal cookie analogy to paint the picture. It works rather well; wrinkled but sweet. I also appreciated her candid, refreshing and oft amusing accounts of her life as a conservative Mennonite. Lucinda seems to use her writing skills to explore her Mennonite world; her inquisitive nature is always trying to make sense of it all, by questioning and analyzing everything:
Hidden in me there is a curiosity, a drive and a hunger to know, a need to think much larger than the four small walls of Mennonite. Sometimes I look at my people as though they are foreign people. And yet I am always a part of them. I want what I see in them, the simplicity, the cleanliness... Can a person tarnish themselves so with questions and explorations that they never again regain what is simple and good and pure?But, at the same time, it's obvious that she's deeply rooted in her faith, appreciates her way of life and dearly loves her family and her Mennonite people.
My thanks to Herald Press for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book.