Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Mennonite in a Litte Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen

This book has been written up several times in the mainstream press. Several friends have mentioned it to me, and, given my proclivity for memoirs written by women of a certain age, this seemed right up my alley.

I did enjoy it a lot although it was not exactly what I expected. I envisioned Mennonites to be a lot like Amish. I thought Rhoda Jantzen was going home to bake her own bread, darn her own socks and drive a horse and buggy. In fact, the Amish broke away from the Mennonites because they were too darn liberal. A fact I found out in the interesting appendix at the end of the book where Ms Janzen answers a lot of questions about the Mennonite lifestyle that I thought would have been woven through the book.

Janzen writes a very funny, lively and smart book about her own 40 something life, newly divorced and coming home to her Mennonite roots. This reminded me a lot of a book I blogged about last week by a forty something mother who is experiencing a mid-life crisis.

I find this phenomena of we middle aged women looking at our sweet lives through these funny and often profound lenses to be empowering. By telling our own true stories in such a frank and funny way, maybe we will figure this whole thing out after all.

So I agree with the smart write-ups about this book, it is laugh out loud funny and very touching in all the right places. But it is a very personal inner search and not a comedy of errors about using an outhouse after years of modern plumbing. There is a long waiting list for this at the local library. If you are in town and would like to borrow my copy please let me know.


Anonymous said...

Me first, me first! I finally finished David Copperfield yesterday, a week after the book group discussed it. MKP

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the loan. It was really interesting. And I have a friend who has met her, his daughter took AMAZING classes with her during the time of this memoir. MKP