Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Mennonite in a Little Black Dress- Rhoda Janzen


~ A Memoir of Going Home~

Rhoda Janzen is 40ish English professor. She is married to Nick, successful and happy. Well, at least she thought she was...

"Which is all to say that given the surprising events of the Year of the Pee Bag, I assumed I was safe from ill heath and trauma for decades. But no." "Two months after the move to the expensive lakefront property, Nick left me for a guy he'd met on Gay.com. (Yep - it's real)

So, with the Gay.com thing and some health issues, Janzen moves back to her parent's home to gather herself together. Janzen was brought up in the Mennonite church, but chose to not actively pursue the Mennonite life and faith as an adult. Her parents are very active in the church.

When she goes home,we are treated (and I say treated because this is one of the best memoirs I've read) to an intimate look at her family, friends, community and her childhood memories.

Janzen's voice is fresh and funny, witty, wry and warm. I can't remember the last time I laughed so much reading a book. Janzen puts it all out there - she is brutally honest in revealing the shortcomings in her marriage and her part in it. No subject is sacrosanct. Body functions, sex, friendships, family, community, religion, food - you name it. I enjoyed 'meeting' her family - especially her mother, who has a perpetual sunny outlook on life, no matter what. The descriptions of Mennonite life were fascinating.

Janzen's exploration of her life and her future, by calling on her past make for a riveting read. I absolutely loved it. A memoir you must read and then pass on to every one of your friends.

Want a sneak peak? Read the first chapter of Mennonite in a Little Black Dress. The publisher, Henry Holt, has lots of extras - photos, reading guide, audio and video as well. Oh and some Mennonite recipes too.

(Canadian connection - Janzen's mother is from the Ontario area, which boasts a large Mennonite community)



CymLowell

10 comments:

Patti V. said...

This looks great. Can't wait to read this one.

chasing empty pavements said...

Wow, this does look really good! I'm putting it on my "To-Read" list. Thanks!

bermudaonion said...

I love memoirs and you've made me really excited about this one since it's one of the best you've ever read. I can't wait to read it!

Ladytink_534 said...

I don't think I've been exposed to the Mennonite culture before. Poor woman though!

pinkflipflops said...

That sounds really great. I will have to add it to my 'to read' list!

Ashley said...

I've glanced at this one so often solely because of the cover. I'm going to have to add this to my wish list now. Great review!

pinkilili said...

Yay, another must-read - thanks for the review!

Jeanne said...

I liked this title but wondered what it was about. Thanks to your review, it's going on my list now, too.

We have a big Amish and Mennonite community around where I live, too.

southernmatrix said...

Read it and loved it and passed it on....a really fun read with lots of wisdom and humor...

Rebecca :) said...

This is the second review on this book I've read that really made me want to read it. Awesome review, Luanne!