LEVI’S WILL by Dale Cramer
Dale Cramer has written a deeply moving story about a man trying to come to terms with his past, and failing because of his father’s strong, unforgiving will.
As a teen-ager, William Mullet ran away from his Pacifist roots, changed his name, and became an “Englischer” to escape the ban from his Amish family. He leaves behind a pregnant girl and his many brothers and sisters.
As Cramer’s story switches from the time of Will’s breakaway to various times and places in his future, the reader is compelled to keep up with it, hoping for a time when William (now called McGruder) can find peace in his heart and forgiveness from his father.
Will fights in World War II, finds a wife, and makes a life for himself and his family. His strong work ethic keeps him going as he deals with his sons and his wife, but his forgotten family is always in his mind. After nine years, he confesses his background to his wife and begins to try to build a bridge back to his birth family. However, the unforgiving Amish ways of his Old Order father will not allow him to welcome his son back into the family.
This book is compelling and hard to put down, as I kept hoping Will would regain a relationship with his father. His brothers and some of his sisters accept him, but his father will not even look at him, and considers him dead. When he goes home to see them, he is made to eat at a small table alone in the kitchen, rather than with his extended family, because of the ban when he was nineteen years old. His wife and sons sit at the table, but Will is excluded.
I have read many Amish books, but never one like this. I did not truly understand the “ban” that the Amish use until I became acquainted with Will McGruder in this book. I will look for more books by this author.