Welcome to my website!
I am the author of the memoir
Why I Left the Amish
It was a finalist for the 2011
In February, 2012 I was featured in the PBS
American Experience documentary The Amish
Here are excerpts of reviews of Why I Left the Amish
David Crumm, ReadtheSpirit
If the PBS documentary intrigued you, then you're likely to want to meet Saloma in the pages of her new memoir. While this may sound like a disturbing book, given some of the violent incidents described in the memoir, readers are likely to find themselves astonished at Saloma's graceful way of trying to make some spiritual sense of her family, their culture and her own life in both Amish and outside worlds.
Shirley Showalter, 100memoirs.com
Saloma Miller Furlong has an amazing story. The little Amish girl on the cover of her memoir and the Smith College graduate on the back cover represent two worlds. These two photos illustrate a life journey that has covered, so far, a relatively short distance in time and space, but a huge one in world view.
Debbie Salomon, Burlington Free Press
Beginning with this Amish metaphor “…as the grains join to make the bread they give up their individuality, so must we give up our individuality to become part of the community,” Saloma chronicles practices “English” rejected with slavery, child abuse and oppression of women.
Lisa Romeo, ForeWord Reviews
Readers thirsty for a primer on Amish life will enjoy the detail, description, and insider knowledge. Yet lurking behind customs and practices outsiders label quaint and admire for supposed simplicity are powerful forces of control, chauvinism, and cruel constraint exposed by Furlong.
Suzanne Wilson, Amherst Bulletin, Hampshire Daily Gazette, Greenfield Recorder
Furlong made her first break with the Amish in 1977, when she was 20. Without telling anyone in her family, she enlisted the help of a non-Amish couple whose house she cleaned…. With their help, she boarded a train and headed to Burlington, Vt., a place she knew only from what she'd learned in school and from pictures she'd seen in a magazine.
Why this picture exists and
The day I smiled into my future
Me at seven years old
Many people have asked who took this picture or what occasioned it because they know that the Amish are not keen on having their pictures taken. Here is my response to them:
The picture -- you are quite right, it shouldn't have happened. This was when I was still attending public school, and on the morning of "picture day" my mother said, "Now if they insist that you need to be in the class picture, that's okay." When I got to school, and the other children were lining up to go to the gym for pictures, the teacher said, "Saloma, since you aren’t having your picture taken, you can stay in the classroom." I popped up out of my seat and said, "But my mother said I could be in the class picture!" I got in line with the other children, and when it was my turn, I climbed up on that stool and grinned my toothless smile into the lights and the camera. I didn’t know it then, but I was smiling into my future.
Years later, after I'd left the Amish I went back to the school I had attended and asked if they had any pictures left from those days. I was directed to where the records were being kept. Someone pulled out my second-grade record, and there in the top left-hand corner was this picture of me -- only 1 inch by 2 inches big. I explained to the keeper of the records that I had no other pictures of myself and asked that I be allowed to borrow it. She did allow it, so I had a photographer reproduce and enlarge it. My publisher decided to use the image for the cover of my book.