Nicole's Reviews > Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home
Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home
by Rhoda Janzen
by Rhoda Janzen
Dec 18, 2009
Read in December, 2009
Rhoda Janzen moved back in with her Mennonite parents after she survived a horrendous car accident and her bipolar, abusive husband left her for "a guy named Bob he met on gay.com" (The author uses that phrase over and over) . Her parents and extended Mennonite community welcomed her back with open arms. So, she spent the time there writing a book that makes fun of Mennonites. This isn't a "you know you grew up Mennonite if..." book. That, I would have found interesting. No, this book puts down the very people that Janzen returned to when her heart (and body) was broken. Throughout the book Jenzen defended her controlling ex-husband because he was "a genius" and "charming". He also refused to take his Lithium (despite his master's in clinical psychology), quit every job he could hold down in favor of his "art", and belittled her upbringing every chance he could get. The bipolar, bisexual hubby demanded that they do what he wanted to do, when he wanted to, while listening to the music he chose. Somehow, Janzen left and returned to this guy repeatedly. It is bizarre, then, that the book focused so much on tearing down her Mennonite family, all of whom are happily married and successful in their lives. Janzen doesn't explore why she left the church, other than writing about her experience at a Presbyterian VBS where she discovered and was horrified by "groupthink" (something I found hard to believe an elementary-school-aged kid would find troubling). Nevertheless, she left the church after going to a Mennonite college and hooked up with Mr. Wrong for the next 15 years. While visiting her parents, Janzen starts dating a great guy, but won't introduce him to her friends because he is Mennonite. She can't imagine a future with him. This chick has serious problems and writing a memoir didn't solve them. She needs therapy and you need not read this book.
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