Raised in a broken family and emotionally overlooked, Sherry Gore grew up without a solid foundation, a prisoner of her own poor choices, and at times without hope. A series of terrible mistakes left her feeling wrecked and alone and a sudden tragedy threw Sherry into an emotional tailspin too powerful to escape. Sherry hangs by a thread, unable to see how she can go on living, until it happens: on a morning of no particular significance, she walks into a church and BAM the truth of Jesus’ forgiving love shatters her world and cleaves her life in two: She goes to bed stunned; she wakes up a Christian. Unwilling to return to the darkness of her former life, Sherry attacks her faith head on. Soon the life Sherry Gore remakes for herself and her children as she seeks to follow the teachings of the Bible features head coverings, simple dress, and a focus on Jesus Christ. Only then does she realize, in a fit of excitement, that there are others like her. They are called Amish and Mennonite, and she realizes she has found her people. The plain choice that Sherry makes is not easy – and life still brings unexpected pain and heartache – but it changes everything for her, as she becomes one of the few people on earth to have successfully joined the Amish from the outside. She has found her place. And her story proves that one can return from the darkest depths to the purest light with the power of God.
I’ll admit it – the Amish world has always intrigued me to some extent. I was born and raised in northeastern Ohio and there was a huge Amish community in nearby Holmes County, where we would head out on the weekends to taste their wares while hitting the garage sales and flea markets.
Then, when I moved down to Sarasota, Florida, I was surprised to learn there was a large Amish community here as well, and I’ve taken the benefit of enjoying some fantastic food at “Amish-style” restaurants and I’ve driven down some streets that have tons of bicycles and women dressed modestly.
I realize that I need apologize in advance when I say “Amish” because I never looked closely enough into each community to determine whether it was “Amish,” “Mennonite” or “Anabaptist”. I had heard the terms “Amish” and “Mennonite” before reading this book, but I can honestly say I’ve never heard of “Anabaptist”.
In any event, The Plain Choice by Sherry Gore, is a short book – 179 pages. As I was reading it, I was thinking to myself that my auto accident story would probably fill just about the same amount of pages if I were to try and write a book about my life too. I will say this: while The Plain Choice is a short book comparing it to some of the novels I read, it was just enough pages to walk through Ms. Gore’s life. I was very impressed by her honesty, and I loved that the book flowed in time rather than jumping back and forth.
It is very clear that Ms. Gore is a very determined woman. Once she made up her mind to change the way she was living, she whole-heartedly took the leap into her new life. I appreciated that she was honest in sharing the part of her story that some people would keep hidden, the “real” Sherry Harris. She shares her childhood struggles growing up and feeling unloved and not a part of her father’s life. She does not minimize poor choices or blame someone else for them. She makes it clear that she had removed God from her life. She was and still is an imperfect human living in an imperfect world.
Ms. Gore’s story teaches us that not all Amish-Mennonite’s are removed from technology and modern conveniences too. It depends on the churches and communities as to how “modern” they become.
The pinnacle point is when she immersed herself in baptism to her old life, and newness of life in Christ Jesus, and as an Amish-Mennonite. Sherry Gore is saved by grace through Jesus Christ our Lord. But there is more to this book. It is a call for all to realize God’s love and forgiveness and that absolutely no one is beyond God’s love and redemption.
The next time I’m traveling around in Sarasota, I’ll be sure to look for that cute Electra bike of hers and give her a “shout out” for this book! I truly appreciate that BookLookBloggers provided me with a paperback copy of this book without cost in exchange for my personal and honest opinion and unbiased review.
Sherry Gore is the the author of two cookbooks, “Simply Delicious Amish Cooking” and “Me, Myself and Pie” and co-author of the novel “Made with Love.” She is also a weekly scribe for the national edition of the Amish newspaper, The Budget, established in 1890. The National Geographic Channel featured Sherry prominently their documentary series, Amish: Out of Order. Sherry’s culinary adventures have been seen on NBC Daytime, the Today Show, Mr. Food Test Kitchen and more. Sherry is a year-round resident of beautiful, sun-kissed Sarasota, Florida, the vacation paradise of the Plain People. She has three children and is a member of a Beachy Amish Mennonite church. When not spending time with her family, writing, or eating, Sherry is a cooking show host, and an official pie contest judge.