cover image Out of This World: A Woman's Life Among the Amish

Out of This World: A Woman's Life Among the Amish

Mary Swander, Author Viking Books $20.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-670-85808-8

The medical condition described as ``environmental illness,'' severe allergies to most pollutants, was the catalyst that forced Swander, a poet from the Midwest, to seek an alternate lifestyle. Happily, she found it in an Amish settlement in Iowa, where she lives in a one-room country schoolhouse and grows ``my crops in a 20-by-40 plot just outside the door.'' A life of eloquent simplicity is celebrated in these pages; she travels the road back to health with humor and ingenuity, as, for example, her incorporation of frogs' legs into a spare diet. Swander's acknowledgment of her gifts-the comfort of farmyard company and the neighborly Amish who never fail her-parallels an inner journey of a solitary who finds a place called home. This poet's traverse of a farmer's year forms an inspirational memoir of a modern pioneer woman. (July)