TORAH BONTRAGER‘s story featured in:
Torah’s tale is one of immense trials followed by towering triumphs. She guides us through various moments in her life with such honesty and artistry that I felt like I was there by her side.

I don’t re-read often but this is a book with chapters and sections that I will read again just to remind myself that if Torah can get through what she has, then I can, too. Brian Young

Navajo filmmaker + writer + author

An Amish Girl in Manhattan: Escaping At Age 15, Breaking All the Rules, and Feeling Safe Again

a memoir

How far would you go for freedom, love, and safety?

An Amish Girl in Manhattan is the tale of 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. 

This is her story. If you think you’re trapped with no way out, read this to:

  • Know that you’re not crazy and not alone
  • Become accepting of your PTSD and triggers
  • Understand the trauma recovery process

The Book

AVAILABLE NOW!  Get it on Amazon (print + Kindle)

ISBN-13: 978-0989420068 (paperback, 2nd edition)
ISBN: 978-0-9894200-5-1 (ebook)

What Readers Are Saying

Absolutely a must read. It is an easy yet well written read that deals with incredibly complex themes.… As someone who has read quite a few books and memoirs dealing with themes of trauma and overcoming obstacles, I have to say this memoir has it all.

It is an easy yet well written read that deals with incredibly complex themes. I found this book and the author’s personal journey to be so inspiring and empowering, as she describes and reflects on her escape from a terrible situation at a young age as well as her entrance into a culture (and even a language) quite different from her own.

Her journey from Amish upbringing to graduating from one of the most elite universities in the USA is amazing.

Highly, highly recommended, and my congratulations to the author for her success and hard work in processing so many traumas allowing her to be able to share her story in written form with us! Melanie Jones

Trauma Survivor

Congratulations to Torah for being able to process her traumatic childhood experiences enough to be able to write a memoir. This is a very inspiring and engaging story about how the author, a 15-year-old female, managed to escape from a terrible and situation.

Despite being uneducated at the time her escape and not speaking English as her first language, she then goes on to graduate from one of the most elite universities in the USA.

I highly recommend this to anyone looking for inspiring true life stories about overcoming trauma, self-empowerment (especially female empowerment), and succeeding in life despite all odds. Keerthi Vemulapalli

AmeriCorps alumna + Medical School Student

It’s a very well written unique story.

Once I started reading this book I could not put it down until I finished it.

There is one chapter in the book that literally had my mouth drop when I read the intimate details Torah enclosed! A must read for anyone! L. Hershberger

Sexual Assault Survivor

This book is awakens one to the awful potentials of the closed Amish community

This book kept me riveted until the end. The emotional lows that she went through were so painful and traumatizing that I could empathize with her pain and hope now she can live a better life. Tina

This book is to let you know that you don’t have to be extraordinary to be extraordinary.

It’s for YOU. If you are reading this, you’ll find a part of you in my story.

​It’s for you if you’ve ever felt foreign in the body or culture you were born in. Or if you’ve dedicated your life to answering the questions:

Who am I?
Why am I here?
Why don’t my parents love me?
Why does bad shit happen to me?
Will I ever be happy and loved?

An Amish Girl in Manhattan is a memoir about a girl whose childhood was so crushing that she literally escaped in the middle of the night at age 15.  She gave up everything–family, security, community–in the hopes that one day her dreams might come true. 


An Amish Girl is about the darkness she encountered navigating a foreign world alone and grappling with her demons.  It’s about her inner and outer quest for truth that took her all around the world.  


In the end she emerges from the underworld, from her tortured psyche, and creates a life of beauty, happiness and freedom.  She wouldn’t be telling her story otherwise.


An Amish Girl is a fish out of water story.

It’s a rags to riches story.
It’s an immigration story.
It’s a tragedy to triumph story.
It’s a story about traveling the world to find yourself.


It’s a story for women who want to know that they are not alone and not crazy.

It’s a story for men who want to know that it’s okay to say “no” to corporate America.

Torah has been featured or quoted in: