In my recent review of Blush: A Mennonite Girl Meets a Glittering World I noted how author Shirley Hershey Showalter wrote interestingly about her happy childhood for a wide audience, though she grew up in the specific, narrow, and intertwined agrarian and religious world of Mennonite rural Pennsylvania in the 1950s and ‘60s.
Her parents’ firstborn, she was heir not only to their accomplishments but also to their unrealized ambitions. Obviously a smart, positive, and attractive child, she also had her own gifts and desires to express. The result, set against the backdrop of the changes sweeping America and her church, provides more than enough tension for a good story.
Showalter explains in a short video about the book:
“The book’s title—Blush—refers to my discomfort in that place between the church and the world. It also means that I tried so hard to be sophisticated. It took me a long time to discover that God made me a feisty, curious, plain Mennonite farm girl for a reason. When I am vulnerable and wholehearted, I am much more aware of God and my community can come in and support me, even in times of conflict and pain and doubt.”