Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home
Paperback: 272 pages
Not long after Rhoda Janzen turned forty, her world turned upside down. It was bad enough that her husband of fifteen years left her for Bob, a guy he met on Gay.com, but that same week a car accident left her injured. Needing a place to rest and pick up the pieces of her life, Rhoda packed her bags, crossed the country, and returned to her quirky Mennonite family’s home, where she was welcomed back with open arms and offbeat advice. (Rhoda’s good-natured mother suggested she get over her heartbreak by dating her first cousin—he owned a tractor, see.)
Written with wry humor and huge personality—and tackling faith, love, family, and aging—Mennonite in a Little Black Dress is an immensely moving memoir of healing, certain to touch anyone who has ever had to look homeward in order to move ahead.
This book is a very different kind of memoir, and I have mixed feelings about it. While very humorous at times, I also found parts of it to be extremely vulgar. Raised as a Mennonite, the author is relentless in attacking the faith and traditions of her family. Her accounts of family gatherings and the food they ate were very funny, but I couldn't help but wonder if it could all be true. Some of the family vacations as a child left me shaking my head, especially the stories of her mother and her weird sense of humour.
If you want a look at the true and personal life of a traditional Mennonite family, you might want to look a bit further than Mennonite in a Little Black Dress. However, if you want to look at the bizarre interactions between members of a very colorful family, then you might really enjoy this book.
Disclosure: I received a review copy of Mennonite in a Little Black Dress from Jason at Henry Holt and Company. I received no compensation for the thoughts expressed in this review.