Wednesday, June 15, 2011

BookVu: Mennonite in a Little Black Dress

A Memoir of Going Home
Author Rhoda Janzen
Publisher, Atlantic Books London, 241 pages

I  thought it might be fun to review something a little different this time 
instead of another fashion how-to book. 

The title on this one sucked me in good and proper. 

A New York Times bestseller, Mennonite in a Little Black Dress is a witty memoir 
about non-practicing Mennonite author Rhoda Janzen going home
 after her husband dumps her for a guy he meets on 

Janzen provides an honest account of her unusual religious childhood, but her 
unfailing ability to find the humour in it all is what is most endearing. 
Oftentimes her life leaves you cringing with embarrassment as she reveals how her upbringing follows her into adulthood—influencing all of her decisions—from 
falling in love with an emotionally unavailable bipolar (gay) husband 
to her unreasonable fear of authority.  

Author Rhoda Janzen
Occasionally the non-sequitur ramblings are a bit long. And she’s breezed over serious topics such as her near-death car accident and subsequent recovery, losing her house & her abusive marriage. But the hilarious nuggets of "wisdom" from her somewhat batty mother and her genuine relationship with her sister touch the heart.

Combine this with an insider's view of Mennonite customs makes it worth the read. For example, her  bizarre (post-divorce) dating history and  anecdotes like "The Top Five Shame-based Foods for Mennonite School Lunches" which include a stinky meatball concoction she takes to school in a diaper bag. 

Contrary the book's title, there is no fashion slant, other than a closet clean out with her sister and a vague reference to how wearing homespun skirts growing up gave her a penchant for designer duds. Instead you get an appendix at the back with funny Mennonite trivia and recipes for the aforementioned recipes.

It's an easy read, good for a day at the beach, home sick with the flu 
or taking the train into work.  It's a bit like having a conversation with an old friend 
you haven't seen in years and years and you're given snippets of her life over coffee, but left without the full picture. In other words, a great way to spend an afternoon.

____________________________ Why not look your best every day?


  1. It seems to be very interesting. I hope it has been published in Italy as well!

  2. really a great tip, thank you. I just recognize that I don't own a black dress, what a shame ;)

  3. It seems like a very nice read.It seems witty and fresh :)

  4. @F: I think I read that it was published in Italy.
    @V: Looks like it's time to do a little shopping? Although it says something that you don't have a LBD? Maybe you are SO CHEERFUL that it's not a color that you're drawn to???
    @D: Sometimes easy reads are great. It was witty ( I had to bust out my dictionary on some of her language tho!) Ha!
    You girls are the best!

  5. I heard about this! Now that I have read this post I might just pick it up and read it..

    All the best, Angel

  6. Hi Angel, Thank you for popping over & commenting! Must visit you now and have a peek at your blog.

    And Marina-darling, it is always a pleasure to see you on my blog. xo