Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Does This Church Make Me Look Fat?: A Mennonite Finds Faith, Meets Mr. Right, and Solves Her Lady Problems” as Want to Read:
Does This Church Make Me Look Fat?: A Mennonite Finds Faith, Meets Mr. Right, and Solves Her Lady Problems
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Does This Church Make Me Look Fat?: A Mennonite Finds Faith, Meets Mr. Right, and Solves Her Lady Problems (Mennonite #2)

3.36  ·  Rating details ·  1,732 Ratings  ·  371 Reviews
What does it mean to give church a try when you haven't really tried since you were twelve? At the end of her bestselling memoir Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, Rhoda Janzen had reconnected with her family and her roots, though her future felt uncertain. But when she starts dating a churchgoer, this skeptic begins a surprising journey to faith and love.

Rhoda doesn't sli
Hardcover, 257 pages
Published October 2nd 2012 by Grand Central Publishing (first published January 1st 2012)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Does This Church Make Me Look Fat?, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Does This Church Make Me Look Fat?

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Petra Eggs
A pet hate of mine is misnamed books. By the time the book starts the author has been going out with the roughneck so-called Mr. Right for four months. That is hardly 'meets'.

I can't stand the author. I couldn't stand her in her last book, Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home although I gave it 4 stars because it was such a brilliantly nasty destruction of her out-of-the-closet ex-husband disguised as her recovering from said marriage and a bad car accident. It was highly am
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I don't think I would have finished this, were it not for how quick of a read it is. It is unfortunate, because I really enjoyed Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, but there is an important difference between that book and this one. In Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, Rhoda Janzen was laughing - at her upbringing, at her family, at herself. Almost like she was laughing because some of it was tragic, and that's just what you do, but still, I laughed too.

In this book, as she chronicles her journ
Clif Hostetler
Nov 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography

A spiritual journey from Mennonite (preacher's daughter) to humanist (scholar with PhD) to Pentecostal (with a bit of skepticism). An unlikely journey but nevertheless that's what this book is about. The switch to Pentecostalism coincided with a new romantic relationship and a bout with cancer. The author admits her spiritual transformation was sufficiently bizarre to cause her friends to ask, "Has the cancer affected your frontal lobe?" The cancer probably did concentrate her mind while she pon
Renita M
Oct 22, 2012 rated it liked it
I read Mennonite in a Little Black Dress and chuckled my way through it, with some familiarity, although Janzen's Mennonite experience does not mirror my own.

(To wit, she was actually raised Mennonite Brethren, a separate denomination; most modern American Mennos don't grow up speaking German; I was not forced to eat beets growing up. That said, my grandmother was raised Russian MB.)

I picked this book up expecting similar musings, sped through it in an evening, and came away quite surprised.

May 17, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: nonfiction, arc
I did not care for this book. As a poet, Janzen's use of language is very skilful, but her ability to tell a story is sketchy--she does a lot of digressing into anecdotes that were not relevant to the story or particularly amusing. Her way of explaining her faith is very strange--she starts the book out converted, while she ended her previous memoir as an agnostic. So there's no conversion story here. There's LOTS that comes across as condescending and/or racist, with the strong sense that admit ...more
Miriam Downey
Oct 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
You can find my full review here: http://mimi-cyberlibrarian.blogspot.c...

Memoirist Rhoda Janzen says, “What a relief it is that we don’t have to be good at religion in order to seek God! We don’t even have to have a strong sense of belief. All we need is the desire to believe.”

In her second memoir, Does This Church Make Me Look Fat, Janzen displays her desire to believe with marvelously funny stories about a topic that shouldn’t be funny, i.e. seriously dangerous breast cancer. Janzen is an En
Petra Grayson
Dec 09, 2012 rated it liked it
I had such high hopes for this book. When I saw that Ms. Janzen was writing another book, I put it onto my wish list as soon as it was listed on Amazon. I really enjoyed Mennonite In A Little Black Dress. Even for the high Kindle book price, I decided to splurge on this book. I didn't realize when I bought it that it was Ms. Janzen's journey back to religion. I started reading and from the first bit I got the impression the book was about her journey through cancer. There were lots of tangents, ...more
Hannah Notess
Sep 29, 2012 rated it it was ok
So, here's the thing about Pentecostals: They fascinate and confuse me. Because we believe basically the same stuff, but we go about it differently. For instance, it never occurs to me to rebuke stuff when I'm praying. But I love hanging out with them, because they are always looking to see and hear God in their everyday lives. And they do. And so those encounters make me think, "Well, why not?"

Rhoda Janzen has become a Pentecostal, and so her outlook and approach to life has changed quite a bit
Angela Risner
Jun 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed Rhoda Janzen's Mennonite in a Little Black Dress. For those of you who don't know, Rhoda is a professor of English and creative writing at a college in Michigan. She grew up in the Mennonite community but had moved away from that religion. After her divorce (her husband turned out to be gay)and a horrible accident, she returns home to her parents to recover.

I was thrilled to learn that she was putting out a new book, and it did not disappoint. Rhoda takes us on her journey thro
This book will find a different audience than her hugely popular earlier Mennonite in a Little Black Dress. This memoir is much more of a faith journey, yet still has her great sense of humor and a good pacing to it. I think many church book groups would find her account (of being at peace with embracing many of the elements of a pentecostal church while still respecting many of the traditions of her earlier Mennonite upbringing and even holding on to a belief in non-literal interpretation of th ...more
Oct 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Made me chuckle SO many times. I really needed that.

I did really want to understand the new relationship Jansen plunges into in this memoir, but I confess Mr. Right was culturally so far afield from the narrator that the attraction didn't make sense to me. Same with her immersion in a Pentecostal church, which clearly happens only because Mr. Right is firmly planted there. Just odd.

But of course we cheer for her fight against breast cancer (a thread that gets dropped, unfortunately--I wanted to
Jan 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is the funniest book I have ever read (or ever expect to read) about having cancer and joining a Pentecostal congregation (though the two are only peripherally related). It's hard to describe just what reading this book is like. Imagine hanging out with a good buddy and talking about the stuff that really matters while you laugh a lot, too. Thoughtful and witty, chatty in tone, Janzen writes with both great seriousness and a light touch when it comes to some very tough topics. She is honest ...more
Apr 14, 2013 rated it it was ok
I have fond memories of Rhoda Janzen's first memoir, but I was startled to find God steadily infiltrating every corner of this newest memoir. Janzen has a lot of hysterically funny lines in this, but after a while, I started feeling like I was reading a book about religion and not a book about one person's specific experience with religion.

I have mixed feelings about this book. The mix between personal and all-mighty religion just seemed confusing, and when I read the acknowledgements at the end
Sep 15, 2012 rated it did not like it
I received this book free with no obligation to write a review. I have wanted to write something in appreciation, but have procrastinated because the book was not a good fit for me. If I were to look only at the wordsmithing, I'd have to give the book a topnotch rating. However, the content rating would be much lower. There were times when I thought the book was going to have a redeeming quality, only for it to take a nose dive shortly after. To be honest, I did something I rarely do, I abandone ...more
Elizabeth Mallory
Jan 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: feel-good
A comedic memoir about romance, breast cancer, and spirituality that will have you laughing and thinking deeply at the same time. The title was off-putting at first; I hate the term "Mr. Right" and I'm not interested in Christian memoirs. However, every single word in the title is sarcastic, NOT face-value.

The book itself is not a Christian memoir either, exactly, but more of a comedic one. I laughed my way through but came through with a better take on life at the end. No ground is sacred; no t
Oct 08, 2012 rated it did not like it
I read her first book and my daughter got an advanced copy of this and gave it to me. I made it though about 1/4 of the book and just put it down because it just didn't keep my interest. Maybe one memoir is enough sometimes?
Jun 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Don't let the title or cover art dissuade you from reading this book. This is NOT Chic Lit. This is the continuing (true) story of a woman's walk of faith.

I regularly stopped and re-read portions of this book, put the book down, and walked away for a while. I then returned to re-read the passages again, for the sheer opportunity of contemplation. This was a well-written, thoughtful book. I enjoyed it immensely.
Aug 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
I broke my Augusten Burroughs rule by reading this book. What is the Augusten Burroughs rule you may ask? It is the rule that I don't read more than one memoir by any given author. It seems to often these days that authors manage to sell a memoir based on some life experience, wind up on the bestseller list and then decide that if people enjoyed reading about their lives that much the first time then the world must be clamoring for yet more tales from their lives. Mostly I'm not. I instituted th ...more
Sep 30, 2012 rated it liked it
I missed Rhoda Janzen’s first book, Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, so jumping into her newest book, Does This Church Make Look Fat?, was a bit like going to a new high school your sophomore year. Yes, they speak the language but you don’t know any of the backstory or the cliques. Also, I’ll admit it. I wanted to read the book because the title made me laugh out loud. If you read her first book, you’re a little ahead of the game but even if not, Janzen has enough going on in this one and is k ...more
Feb 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book made me laugh out loud so many times. Author Rhoda Janzen was raised as a Mennonite but God became less and less important to her as a teenager and then her years in academia did much to keep her skeptical and away from church. Fast forward to her early 40's where Rhoda finds herself divorced and in a new relationship with a Christian man who is a reformed bad boy. Mitch talks the Christian talk and Rhoda keeps looking for the cracks that announce that he doesn't necessarily walk the w ...more
Nancy Herkness
Aug 31, 2012 rated it liked it
I read Mennonite in a Little Black Dress and laughed all the way through it. I also learned quite a bit about the Mennonites, so it was a hugely satisfying read.

Alas, Does This Church Make Me Look Fat? does not offer the same amount of laughter or education. It is a much more serious book, not surprisingly, because it deals with cancer and a reawakening to deep religious belief. For those who are interested in following another person's path to religion, Ms. Janzen offers some interesting discus
Nov 24, 2012 rated it liked it
I wanted to like this book as much as I liked her other book, Mennonite in a Little Black Dress. But I didn't. It was still a decent book. It was well-written, witty, and a quick read.

However, if you thought her previous book was written in a stream of consciousness, then watch out! This one seemed even harder to follow at times. Sometimes I found myself saying "Get to the point!" Or "Where did this come from? Oh yeah, this was the whole point of this chapter but it wasn't until the end that I r
Donna Golden
Oct 23, 2014 rated it did not like it
I think that Rhoda is a very funny writer, but like her previous book (Mennonite in a Little Black Dress), this starts out strong and very funny, then gets fuzzy. I do like learning about her Mennonite background and family and that seems to be the marketing draw of these books. But across the two books, Rhoda has swung from one extreme to the next: first married to a gay bipolar man and taking a strident pose toward women's rights to an education/career to then seemingly total submission to a b ...more
Jun 11, 2012 rated it liked it
This is a real mish-mash of a book: part exploration of faith, part story of how the author found love and remarried, and part tale of cancer survival. That's why there are only three stars, because in some ways all three parts get shortchanged. There are wry observations, so-called "SAT" words and humorous asides about all three aspects (for example, her comments about her then-boyfriend Mitch's habit of calling his son 'Billy the [insert thing the child failed to do/did to excess]').

The title
Sep 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, biography
I had the pleasure of meeting Rhoda Janzen at a trade show in Denver a couple of weeks ago. If the title of this book had not already convinced me to read it, she certainly would have. She's outgoing and well-spoken and snarky, three of my favorite things in an author. Also, she was wearing a bright pink skirt suit, and you have to respect a woman who can pull that off. Does This Church Make Me Look Fat? is hysterical and heart-warming. If you read her first memoir, Mennonite in a Little Black ...more
Mar 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a pleasant surprise. First off, let me say I never read the first book, Mennonite in a Black Dress. My experience with authors who have left the religion of their birth and then written about their experiences is that they are very critical. Never giving credit to something that was so influential in who they become. So, I didn't read the first book. But a friend gave me this book, and I trust her, so I read on. I really liked this book. I love how thoughtful Rhoda is in living everyday lif ...more
Jul 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christianity
I didn't know what to expect from this book since I hadn't read her previous memoir. The title was snarky, but the contents were not so much, and I can see why some other early reviewers here were perplexed and put off, because at heart this is an unlikely conversion story and not a path that secular people or even liberal Christians are likely to have innate sympathy with. As a spiritual memoir of a (now) fifty something, Janzen's life has given me a lot to ponder that would be boring to list h ...more
Barb Drabowicz
Jan 29, 2013 rated it it was ok
I actually would give it 2-1/2 stars. Not sure what it was about the book that didn't knock my socks off. One book club friend said the writing was too pompous. Yes, I think the author could have toned that down a bit, but she is an English professor so it's probably true to her and her life, so I can forgive that and overlook it. But it did make the book harder to read. Another friend had expectations for more details around the Mennonite experience. I did too, and more of that information did ...more
Mar 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
I found this book in a bargain bin and the title drew my attention, then the dust jacket made it sound interesting, and then I flipped through some pages and liked the 'sound' of the author, so I bought it. It starts out great, Janzen is an English and creative writing professor that knows how to use humor to tell her story. The book then takes a two unexpected turns, the church she's referencing in the title is a Pentecostal holy roller, tongue speaking, break dancing kind of church and second ...more
Feb 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh this is a lovely book for anyone who has ever questioned the church, left and came back in some form or another. Rhoda is *Hilarious* and as with many authors who read their own work- I at first felt she wasn't a good narrator, but by the end was sold that no one could have narrated her story with such perfection and humor than she did. I highly recommend it to anyone with a sense of humor who also appreciates a good "Hallelujah!" Also recommended to anyone who has ever been to graduate schoo ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Ugly Daughter
  • Property: The True Story of a Polygamous Church Wife
  • The Fourth Fisherman: How Three Mexican Fishermen Who Came Back from the Dead Changed My Life and Saved My Marriage
  • God Loves Ugly
  • Who Was Alexander Graham Bell?
  • Fields of Grace: Faith, Friendship, and the Day I Nearly Lost Everything
  • Faith and Politics: How the "Moral Values" Debate Divides America and How to Move Forward Together
  • Home Front Girl: A Diary of Love, Literature, and Growing Up in Wartime America
  • Jesus Girls: True Tales of Growing Up Female and Evangelical
  • My Almost Certainly Real Imaginary Jesus
  • Dating Jesus: A Story of Fundamentalism, Feminism, and the American Girl
  • Sabbath in the Suburbs: A Family's Experiment with Holy Time
  • Tiger Lillie
  • Nurturing Healing Love: A Mother's Journey of Hope & Forgiveness
  • Who Is Barack Obama?
  • Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis
  • Grave of Angels
  • Surprised by Oxford
Rhoda Janzen is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Mennonite in a Little Black Dress and the poetry collection Babel’s Stair. She teaches English and creative writing at Hope College in Holland, Michigan.

Rhoda Janzen holds a PhD from the University of California, Los Angeles, where she was the University of California Poet Laureate in 1994 and 1997. She is the author of Babel's Stair,

More about Rhoda Janzen...

Other Books in the Series

Mennonite (2 books)
  • Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home

Share This Book

“I would rather get a PhD than stand to reach for toilet paper. Though some readers might emphasize the similarities between the two activities.” 0 likes
More quotes…