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Mennonite in a Little Black Dress

Posted by on Feb 28, 2010 in Blog | 0 comments

Book Review:
Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home  by Rhoda Janzen

Rhoda Janzen’s candid, hilarious memoir proves that you can always go home,  even when home is to your Mennonite parents. What problem can’t be cured with  a little borscht?

Rhoda is dealt two blows in a week’s time. She is in a horrific car accident and her husband leaves her for a man he met on gay.com. She decides to go home and nurse her wounds and her broken heart.

She finds comfort in the Four F’s: Family, Faith, Food and Flatulence. If you are expecting a book of self-pity, this isn’t it. Janzen’s humor and optimism shine through, even as she begins to reveal the horrors she endured before her road to recovery. After years away from her Mennonite upbringing she sees the religion through adult eyes.  It is a world she no longer fits into after higher education (Mennonites frown upon that) and 15 years of marriage to an atheist, but one she has fond memories of as well. The reader grows to love this quirky family just as she does. Don’t we all family members who say inappropriate things at the dinner table or fart in public or cook cabbage 15 different ways? Well maybe not, but every family has their idiosyncrasies.

Janzen is sarcastic and unapologetic. She’s one woman finding her own path  after tragedy strikes. And I laughed the whole way there.

Reviewed by Cathy Wos

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