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Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir…
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Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home (original 2009; edition 2010)

by Rhoda Janzen

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1,6401616,372 (3.31)94
Member:kjchenicek
Title:Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home
Authors:Rhoda Janzen
Info:Holt Paperbacks (2010), Paperback, 272 pages
Collections:Your library
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Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home by Rhoda Janzen (2009)

  1. 20
    Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (foggidawn)
    foggidawn: Both of these books deal with a woman looking for meaning and trying to deal with failed relationships in their past -- one travels the world, the other goes home, but both have written heartfelt and funny memoirs about the experience.
  2. 10
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  3. 10
    The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance: A Memoir by Elna Baker (LAKobow)
  4. 00
    Love Shrinks: A Memoir of a Marriage Counselor's Divorce by Sharyn Wolf (FFortuna)
  5. 00
    I'm Down: A Memoir by Mishna Wolff (amyblue)
    amyblue: Both books are funny and thoughtful memoirs of somewhat unusual childhoods.
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» See also 94 mentions

English (165)  Dutch (1)  All languages (166)
Showing 1-5 of 165 (next | show all)
Janzen is a published poet, but she is a very funny writer as well. This memoir of her marriage break-up (her husband of 15 years left her for a man he met on Gay.com) is a warm tale of finding comfort in your loving family. The fact that this family is Mennonite is secondary to the fact that they are nurturing and accepting. The author introduces us to her extended family while sharing hilarious details of growing up Mennonite in a secular community. A fun quick read. ( )
  Rdra1962 | Aug 1, 2018 |
I wasn't sure what to think of this book as I got started. I found the author to be a good writer who took great pride in the use of "big words", many that I had to look up. I think her memoir helped her come to grips with her life choices. I think she came to appreciate her Mennonite heritage as she returned to it as an adult. I found her story entertaining and in some ways, her early life was similar to my own. My background is German Lutheran, but my frugal upbringing was the same. My grandmother made soap, braided rugs and made quilts. Cooking was how love was shown. Over all, I enjoyed the memoir, but I didn't find it as funny as others did. I thought it was somewhat sad. ( )
  melanieklo | Jul 25, 2018 |
It could have ended a few chapters earlier (gets a little tedious at the end) but generally a good, healthy perspective on any upbringing that was stifled by religious legalism. An interesting contrast to Miriam Toews books which are also stemming from Mennonite rigidity. Different sects, perhaps. Comical and honest without being too heavy. A good read and plenty of connections with a Dutch Calvinist upbringing!

After a second read:
The first couple of chapters a re chick full of humour and witticism. They are the best. The book gets more "normal" after that, like a collection of short stories that puts the best ones first. There is a weird gimmick of polling the reader in the beginning pages that starts off like it will be a thing, but only happens a couple of times and then is picked up once near the very end (as if writer or editor wanted it throughout and the other didn't, and this was the compromise). All three polls could have been cut because they offer nothing to the story. Also the repetition of why her husband left her gets old. He left; in the end it doesn't matter why or for whom.
The question is, should I read the follow-up book? ( )
  LDVoorberg | Dec 3, 2017 |
I really enjoyed this book. What a great story. ( )
  Oleksiew | Jul 26, 2017 |
A non-fiction account of a woman who was raised Mennonite and returns to her parents house after a divorce and an accident. The most fascinating part of the story for me was that I learned that Mennonites are not all separatists. She went to public school and was raised in the modern world (though she was not allowed all the modern amenities that her peers were allowed.) The book itself was interesting and I did read the whole book. But I wouldn't actually recommend the book to others. It was just meh. ( )
  KamGeb | Jul 1, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 165 (next | show all)
“Mennonite in a Little Black Dress” is loose and gossipy, organic and unhurried without losing control. It has “a real nice shape,” to use a compliment one matchmaker applies to Janzen herself... I loved this book, and Rhoda Janzen. She is a terrific, pithy, beautiful writer, a reliable, sympathetic narrator and a fantastically good sport.
 
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Epigraph
Dedication
For Mary Loewen Janzen
First words
The year I turned forty-three was the year I realized I should have never taken my Mennonite genes for granted.
Quotations
"When you're young, faith is often a matter of rules. What you should do and shouldn't do, that kind of thing. But as you get older, you realize that faith is really a matter of relationship - with God, with the people around you, with the members of your community" (p 137)
Wrapped in his own misery and despair, he was incapable of the simple practiced presence that love demands. (p 171)
I'd never minded the little things in Nick's behavior; I'd never even noticed them. It was after Nick had left me that I learned the lesson: it's when you don't love somebody that you do notice the little things. Then you mind them. You mind them terribly. (p 181)
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Book description
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.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0805092250, Paperback)

"It is rare that I literally laugh out loud while I'm reading, but Janzen's voice—singular, deadpan, sharp-witted and honest—slayed me." —Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:05 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

A hilarious and moving memoir--in the spirit of Anne Lamott and Nora Ephron--about a woman who returns home to her close-knit Mennonite family after a personal crisis.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 7 descriptions

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HighBridge Audio

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HighBridge

An edition of this book was published by HighBridge.

» Publisher information page

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