Join us as we celebrate the release of Mary Alice Hostetter’s memoir, Plain: A Memoir of Mennonite Girlhood. Mary Alice Hostetter will be in conversation with Sharon Harrigan for the event. This in-person event will be cosponsored by WriterHouse and will be free and open to the public. We recommend arriving early for the best seating.
About the Book: Plain tells the story of Mary Alice Hostetter’s journey to define an authentic self amid a rigid religious upbringing in a Mennonite farm family. Although endowed with a personality “prone toward questioning and challenging,” the young Mary Alice at first wants nothing more than to be a good girl, to do her share, and—alongside her eleven siblings—to work her family’s Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, farm. She feels fortunate to have been born into a religion where, as the familiar hymn states, she is “safe in the arms of Jesus.” As an adolescent, that keen desire for belonging becomes focused on her worldly peers, even though she knows that Mennonites consider themselves a people apart. Eventually she leaves behind the fields and fences of her youth, thinking she will finally be able to grow beyond the prohibitions of her church. Discovering and accepting her sexuality, she once again finds herself apart, on the outside of family, community, and societal norms. This quietly powerful memoir of longing and acceptance casts a humanizing eye on a little-understood American religious tradition and a woman’s striving to grow within and beyond it.
About the Author: Mary Alice Hostetter grew up the tenth of twelve children in a Mennonite farm family and is a fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. While pursuing a career in education and human services, with a brief lapse into cheesemaking and restaurant management, she has studied writing whenever and wherever she could.
Plain will be released on December 6. To order the book, please see below for the New Dominion Bookshop book order form or call the shop at 434-295-2552.
"[Mary Alice Hostetter’s] memoir is a deeply honest, forthright, and forgiving account of finding her way as a gay Mennonite. This book shows how we the misplaced faithful take the truths of our upbringing to create beautiful stories, homes, and lives."
—Joanna Brooks, author of The Book of Mormon Girl
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