Title: Mennonite in A Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home
Author: Rhoda Janzen
Narrator: Hillary Huber
Publication Year: 2009
Pages: 272 (audio length: 8 hours 15 minutes)
Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir
Source: Audiobook purchased from Audible.com
From the cover:
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.
I had seen this one around the blogs a while back, so when it came up on sale on Audible, I decided to go for it.
Rhoda’s story is fairly straightforward – her husband Nick has left her after years of emotional mayhem, for a man he met on Gay.com, and she almost immediately got in an (unrelated) car accident which left her with the unfortunate necessity of going “back home” to the Mennonites for a while during the healing process. This memoir is a mix of what has happened in her recent, adult life, pre- and post-divorce, as well as interspersed childhood anecdotes. For the most part, the stories are poignant or somewhat comical, but usually interesting.
Despite that, though, I can’t really give Mennonite in A Little Black Dress a rave review. I’m not really sure why this is, but it just didn’t grab me. Maybe it’s because I’m far too young to understand what the woman has gone through, and it really is her life as opposed to a fiction novel. At any rate, I found the passages about Mennonite society and family life to be interesting, even if this wasn’t my favourite read of the year.
You might find this one interesting if you’re at a later life stage than I am (as in: married, divorced, or at least of a certain middle-aged-ness), or if you have an inclination towards the Mennonites. It wasn’t a bad book, just not my cup of tea!
- 5/? for the World Religions Challenge
- 12/20 for the Audio Book Challenge
- 4/? for the Ultimate Reviewers Challenge