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The Story of a Plain Girl

*****A Journey in Unshakable Faith for a Spirited Individual                 Review by Rox Burkey

Author Marian Beaman shares her coming of age story that highlights the support and love of family. From the cover alone, you know this girl is special. Author Beaman provides insights to a child raised within the framework of a Mennonite Community in Lancaster County, PA.

The beginning of Marian’s life journey was between the two houses where she was raised. She sets the stage with her flowing, descriptive words early in her memoir. Her compelling memories unfold in a manner that lets readers walk beside her.

“Each of my family homes provided me with two ways of living to choose from. This memoir tells the of the push and pull of both Longenecker houses, the tensions and strife, countered by harmony and love in each. It reveals the lessons and blessings of each house and the strong characters within them that both shaped my personality and character and set a course for my life choices. It describes my father, who didn’t champion me because I was a daughter, not a son; the aunt and grandmother who served as my role models but who I knew I never wanted to be, although I loved them dearly; and my mother, a woman of the times who valued the home arts but lacked the courage to defend her daughter.

All of them have forged this story: their touch, their lives, and their voices echo forever in my mind and in my heart and soul. Now as an adult in the autumn of life, I look back at the beauty and the promise of a fragile and fleeting way of life that was—and still is—being Mennonite.”

The distance between her two family-homes of a half-mile provided viewpoints that shaped her life. The inspiration of her grandmother and aunt gave Marian an exceptional strength as she balances a strong faith and admirable values.

Learning of the Mennonite community in detail helped me understand the boundaries of living plain. Growing up in the framework of this structure for a spirited child presented challenges. The author presents the internal turmoil faced to break from the strict rules.

The restored pictures, drawings, family recipes, and glimpse inside this world are a lovely surround to this personal journey. I recommend this book to those struggling to find their path in life yet wanting to preserve family and faith values. Learning about this culture and history in this memoir format is something I will remember forever. I extend a virtual hug to the author for telling her story.

About the Author

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.

Find her weekly blog at She lives with her artist husband Cliff in Florida, where her grown children and grandchildren also reside.

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