Mennonite in A Little Black Dress

Mennonite in A Little Black Dress

A Memoir of Going Home

Book - 2009
Average Rating:
18
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"It is rare that I literally laugh out loud while I'm reading, but Janzen's voice- singular, deadpan, sharp-witted and honest- slayed me." - Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love 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.
Publisher: New York : Henry Holt and Co., 2009
Edition: 1st ed. --
ISBN: 9780805089257
080508925X
Branch Call Number: 811.6 Janze 3558ad 1
Characteristics: 241 p

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hRuth
Mar 24, 2016

This was a Book Club read and we were unanimously disappointed. Rhoda's Mennonite family was so liberal that her 'return from the modern life' barely created a stir for us. I never understood what she gained from this so-called dramatic move. It was sometimes funny, but mostly silly. Some readers did not finish it.

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ms_mustard
Jan 15, 2015

this seems to be a love it or leave it book. personally, I'd rather leave it. I found the author's tone to be smart-alecky, flippant, glib. There were some stories that were mildly amusing but overall I did not find it the least bit hilarious and rarely moving.

I find it insulting to Anne Lamott to have her name mentioned in comparison to this author. Lamott is indeed a hilarious and moving writer - not to mention respectful of her subject matter.

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mre5832
Jan 09, 2015

I really enjoyed this book and learned a lot about the Mennonite religion.

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lisahiggs
Nov 08, 2013

I found this book in a hotel room in Hawaii during my recent vacation. Free book, score! I got halfway through it before I forgot it in another hotel’s bathroom, so I had to wait until our return to the mainland to finish reading it. This time I got a copy from the library, because the first half wasn’t strong enough to entice me to buy it. Neither was the second half.

Rhoda Janzen has a great sense of humour, and the entire book is pleasantly amusing but not much else. It’s actually almost too amusing, given that her husband of fifteen years turns out to be a bipolar homosexual and she has a car accident that leaves her with a pee bag. Laughter is the best medicine?

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Irene99
Oct 17, 2013

Often hilarious, Rhoda Janzen has a way with words. I liked how she talked about her healing journey after going through some hard losses. In that journey she meanders through memories of many interesting experiences she had with her upbringing in the Mennonite faith and ethnic background. She presents a critical eye toward it as well as an acceptance.

I found the use of coarse language was not necessary, but could understand it when I learned of her relationship dynamics with her husband. Similarly some details (like whether an old boyfriend knew how to French kiss or not) were too much information. But enjoyable reading, and an important work that will resonate with many who are healing from difficulties or who come from a different culture.

Sarah_CT Sep 16, 2013

This book was a funny book that I related to even though I am not Mennonite and have had very little exposure to the culture. The universal themes of a woman returning home to relate to family and parents as well as reflecting on life were enjoyable. This title is a nice non-fiction companion to The Weird Sisters.

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LDPBLM
Dec 05, 2012

What a surprise ! Loved this book - I hope , at some point , she will try fiction - she has a wry sense of humor

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EricaReynolds
Mar 28, 2012

A lovely light read. Perfect for evenings and travel. I'm not sure I would have enjoyed it as much if I hadn't grown up in a small town where Janzens and Weibes and other fabulous Mennonites were my best friends and low German expressions were a daily thing, but I did, and I'm sure it added to my enjoyment of the book. As other reviewers have commented, the Mother is the clearly the hero. Loved her.

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bbb1771
Mar 01, 2012

If you've got any Mennonite blook in you, you'll get this book.

If you don't, reading it will give you several wonderful laughs and a very well written insight into some subsets of Mennonites.

Bierlingen Jan 18, 2012

I found Rhoda Janzen's book somewhat rambling and that she capitalized on her Mennonite upbringing only as a background to expound on otherwise quite ordinary life experiences...ie hiring practices in academia, poor life choices, impulsive and poor choice of husband, and so on. An unmemorable memoir, I'm sorry to say.

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