Mennonite in A Little Black Dress

A Memoir of Going Home

Janzen, Rhoda

Book - 2009
Average Rating: 3 stars out of 5.
Mennonite in A Little Black Dress
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.

Publisher: New York : Henry Holt and Co., 2009
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 080508925X
Branch Call Number: B-Ja269m 2009
Characteristics: 241 p. ;,22 cm


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What would you do if your long-time husband left you for another man?

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Jan 15, 2015
  • ms_mustard rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

this seems to be a love it or leave it book. personally, I'd rather leave it. I found the author's tone to be smart-alecky, flippant, glib. There were some stories that were mildly amusing but overall I did not find it the least bit hilarious and rarely moving.

I find it insulting to Anne Lamott to have her name mentioned in comparison to this author. Lamott is indeed a hilarious and moving writer - not to mention respectful of her subject matter.

Jan 09, 2015
  • mre5832 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I really enjoyed this book and learned a lot about the Mennonite religion.

Nov 08, 2013
  • lisahiggs rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

I found this book in a hotel room in Hawaii during my recent vacation. Free book, score! I got halfway through it before I forgot it in another hotel’s bathroom, so I had to wait until our return to the mainland to finish reading it. This time I got a copy from the library, because the first half wasn’t strong enough to entice me to buy it. Neither was the second half.

Rhoda Janzen has a great sense of humour, and the entire book is pleasantly amusing but not much else. It’s actually almost too amusing, given that her husband of fifteen years turns out to be a bipolar homosexual and she has a car accident that leaves her with a pee bag. Laughter is the best medicine?

Oct 17, 2013
  • Irene99 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Often hilarious, Rhoda Janzen has a way with words. I liked how she talked about her healing journey after going through some hard losses. In that journey she meanders through memories of many interesting experiences she had with her upbringing in the Mennonite faith and ethnic background. She presents a critical eye toward it as well as an acceptance.

I found the use of coarse language was not necessary, but could understand it when I learned of her relationship dynamics with her husband. Similarly some details (like whether an old boyfriend knew how to French kiss or not) were too much information. But enjoyable reading, and an important work that will resonate with many who are healing from difficulties or who come from a different culture.

Sep 16, 2013
  • Sarah_CT rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This book was a funny book that I related to even though I am not Mennonite and have had very little exposure to the culture. The universal themes of a woman returning home to relate to family and parents as well as reflecting on life were enjoyable. This title is a nice non-fiction companion to The Weird Sisters.

Mar 28, 2012
  • EricaReynolds rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

A lovely light read. Perfect for evenings and travel. I'm not sure I would have enjoyed it as much if I hadn't grown up in a small town where Janzens and Weibes and other fabulous Mennonites were my best friends and low German expressions were a daily thing, but I did, and I'm sure it added to my enjoyment of the book. As other reviewers have commented, the Mother is the clearly the hero. Loved her.

Mar 01, 2012
  • bbb1771 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

If you've got any Mennonite blook in you, you'll get this book.

If you don't, reading it will give you several wonderful laughs and a very well written insight into some subsets of Mennonites.

Jan 18, 2012
  • Bierlingen rated this: 1.5 stars out of 5.

I found Rhoda Janzen's book somewhat rambling and that she capitalized on her Mennonite upbringing only as a background to expound on otherwise quite ordinary life hiring practices in academia, poor life choices, impulsive and poor choice of husband, and so on. An unmemorable memoir, I'm sorry to say.

Dec 09, 2011
  • canary35 rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Rhoda Janzen’s book is her story of a heartbreaking divorce ( and how going home to the Mennonite Community where she was raised helped her heal. The heroine in the book for me is her mother, a wise, clear eyed Mother with a capital “M”, who subjected her children to love, shame-based cooking, and boundaries. Although Ms. Janzen strayed from those boundaries as an adult, she never strayed from her mother’s love. Also, inversely proportional to how poorly she picked her husband, she picked her girlfriends. You can see where we’re going with this. The book is funny, insightful, intelligently written, and a little vulgar. Don’t miss the affectionate primer on Mennonite history in the appendix.

Sep 28, 2011
  • aliciamccreath rated this: 1 stars out of 5.

I thought this book would be more interesting, funnier, and better written. I was let down and couldnt finish it.

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