Sunday, February 28, 2010

Mennonite in a Little Black Dress

I was extremely excited to read this book based on its title. I was expecting a fun "fish out of water" type memoir. Instead, Rhoda Janzan's book is more serious. Raised as a Mennonite, Janzan had been living a secular life as an academic, married to a atheist. When her troubled marriage abruptly ends (as her husband leaves her for a man he met online and then sinks into depression) and she is seriously injured in a car accident, she returns home to her Mennonite family. Janzan has a clear eye for both her own foibles and those of her parents and siblings. Although the book has moments of humor (describing her cheerfully daffy mother), she also seriously examines why she stayed in such a bad marriage, why she chose to step away from the Mennonite faith and why her brothers did not. The book jumps from topic to topic and could be more clearly organized. Although it's a decent read, the title is still the best part.

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