I wasn’t expecting much from Amish Confidential, a tell-all memoir, by Amish mafia reality television star, Lebanon Levi Stoltzfus. Despite my expectations, it was quite good.
I picked it up because watching The Amish Mafia is one of my guilty pleasures. It is a reality, cultural, crime-syndicate show with horses.
The Amish, like other insular communities, have plenty to teach the outside world about they live their lives. Levi definitely has the inside scoop, having been raised Old Order Amish, a more conservative branch of the culture.
I loved learning about how the Amish were formed and the historical background of his people. I ate up the bits about Amish marriage ceremonies and the social customs surrounding the party afterwards. Celery, apparently, is huge. Who knew, right?
I wish he had talked more how he fell into the world of “Amish mafia” itself. It’s clear from his narrative that he feels the Amish are taken advantage of because of their religious pacifism. He believes that they desire to deal with potentially criminal matters among themselves rather than going to the authorities. That is the basis of the mafia. For legal reasons, he probably couldn’t be that transparent. But it would have been excellent if he had.
If you enjoy the television show, you may not like this as much because it lacks some of the moment to moment tension and drama that one gets from watching the show. But, if you go into it with an open mind to learn more about the Amish in general, it certainly accomplishes that.
If you enjoyed Amish Confidential, I’d recommend The Terrorist’s Son: A Story of Choice (a Muslim boy is raised one way but chooses to live another) or License to Pawn: Deals, Steals, and My Life at the Gold & Silver (a memoir by a pawn shop owner who has his own reality television show).
Thanks for reading!