“Torah's tale is one of immense trials followed by towering triumphs. I don't reread often, but this is a book that I will read again just to remind myself that if Torah can get through what she has, then I can, too.”
-— BRIAN YOUNG, Healer of the Water Monster
How far would you go for freedom, love, and safety?
About Torah. Torah Bontrager is 11 when she decides to leave the Amish.
After four years of planning her escape, she flees in the middle of the night with only the clothes on her back and $170 in her pocket.
Her departure is permanent.
About the book. Amish Girl in Manhattan is a true crime collection of stories about a girl whose childhood was so crushing that she literally escaped in the middle of the night at age 15, without telling anyone goodbye. She left the only world she had ever known, crash-landing into one that didn't speak her language, wear her clothes, and understand her problems. She gave up everything-family, security, community-in the hopes that one day her dreams might come true.
Branded a traitor destined for hell by the Amish, she endured repeated sexual abuse, multiple suicide attempts, and extreme poverty. In the eyes of the Amish, she deserved these things for having dared to want an education past the 8th grade and a life outside the religion. Eventually Torah graduated from one of the most elite schools in the world, Columbia University in New York City.
The Amish are an insular, underserved, ethnic minority population in America who use horses and buggies for transportation, prohibit electricity, and forbid education past the 8th grade.
If you have read true crime books or child abuse, sexual abuse, and religious trauma true stories like Know My Name, Educated, or You Are Your Own, then Amish Girl in Manhattan is a must-read. Each chapter is a stand-alone story.