David's Reviews > Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home

Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen
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's review
Jul 04, 2012

really liked it

Really enjoyed this one. very funny, cheerful take on an objectively difficult mid-life twist. A professor heads back home at age 44 to stay with her Mennonite family after having been away in mainstream society and unchurched for her whole adult life, in the wake of having been left by her bipolar, bisexual husband of 15 years for "Bob, whom he met on gay.com" [virtually a mantra for the author].

Lots of reminiscing about growing up Mennonite, about dating experiences, her decision as a young adult to go to secular graduate school in creative writing rather than seminary, and about relating to her parents and siblings as an adult. She has a good (IMO) way with words, as in describing her ex's view that "in general scholars were mediocre thinkers with limited social skills and a profound need for external validation" and, upon being razzed by her sister for several false starts in breaking up with the ex, "I wasn't ready to stick my landing the first few times I left him".

I like eating as much as the next person, but the one aspect that got draggy to me was her extremely high level of interest in food and cooking. Some of the detailed recaps of meals she prepped with her mom, odd [to non-Mennonite kids] lunches she had taken to school as a kid, etc. went on far too long for my taste. But for the most part, a very pleasant and engaging book. If you're old enough to remember "Please don't eat the daisies", it's approximately that type of humor.

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