Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New Book on the Shelves – #Memoir – Mennonite Daughter: The Story of a Plain Girl by Marian Longenecker Beaman

Delighted to showcase the debut book by Marian Beaman.. a memoir – Mennonite Daughter: The Story of a Plain Girl released last week in both print and Kindle.

About the book

What if the Mennonite life young Marian Longenecker chafed against offered the chance for a new beginning? What if her two Lancaster County homes with three generations of family were the perfect launch pad for a brighter future? Readers who long for a simpler life can smell the aroma of saffron-infused potpie in Grandma’s kitchen, hear the strains of four-part a capella music at church, and see the miracle of a divine healing.

Follow the author in pigtails as a child and later with a prayer cap, bucking a heavy-handed father and challenging church rules. Feel the terror of being locked behind a cellar door. Observe the horror of feeling defenseless before a conclave of bishops, an event propelling her into a different world.

Fans of coming-of-age stories will delight in one woman’s surprising path toward self-discovery, a self that lets her revel in shiny red shoes.

One of the early reviews for the memoir

What do you think when you see a woman wearing a Mennonite prayer covering? “Though light as air, the prayer covering carried the weight of tradition,” says author Marian Beaman, summarizing beautifully one of the most elusive symbols of female religious submission.

If you think you understand that symbol, you need to read this book. Author Marian Beaman complicates stereotypes, exposes double standards, and probes paradoxes of what it means to grow up Mennonite–especially if you are a whip-smart oldest daughter in lifelong conflict with a strict, fearful, and parsimonious father.

I have so much in common with the author that I can’t list all we share — Lancaster County Mennonite childhood in the 1950s, strict father, oldest child, public school, Eastern Mennonite College. I wrote my own memoir about many of the same struggles with pride and humility, plainness and worldliness, that Marian and I share with many Mennonites of that place and time. So, it seems, I understand this book from the inside out.

And yet, even with so many commonalities, all human stories are unique. Which is why we must read each other’s stories. Under the numerous conflicts with the patriarchal family and religion around her, the author shares the kind of spunk, joy, humor, and loving rebelliousness that many of literature’s most loved heroines display. Think of Jo March, Anne Shirley, and Pippi Longstocking rolled into one character wearing an organza veiling on her head and you will come close to young Marian.

The stories in this book will introduce you to a variety of other characters showing that Mennonite life contains as much variety as any other. Aunt Ruthie and Grandma Longenecker are my two favorites, both of them serving to widen the options and soften the conflicts between Marian and her father.

The illustrations in the book, provided by the author’s husband, Cliff Beaman, deserve special mention. Not only does Cliff play the role of hero in the story, he also enlivens all the stories with his sensitive, whimsical, yet profound, drawings, starting with the one he drew of his future wife still wearing a head covering in 1965.

Through the story of this Mennonite Daughter flows a deep affection for the faith that surrounded her in childhood. She had to leave it in order to claim it. She was not the first. Nor will she be the last. But she is the one and only Marian Longenecker Beaman.

Read the early reviews and buy the book:

And Amazon UK:

Read more reviews and follow Marian on Goodreads:

About Marian Longenecker Beaman

Marian Longenecker Beaman is a former professor at Florida State College in Jacksonville, Florida. Her memoir records the charms and challenges of growing up in the strict culture of the Lancaster Mennonite Conference in the 1950s. Marian shares her story to preserve these memories and to leave a legacy for future generations.

She lives with her husband Cliff in Florida, where her grown children and grandchildren also reside

Connect to Marian

Amazon Author Page:

Congratulations to Marian and it would be great if you could spread the news of her memoir .. thanks Sally.