Thursday, November 5, 2009

Book Review: Mennonite in a Little Black Dress

Yes, the book review is finally here.

I finished this book a couple of weeks ago, and just needed to carve out some time in order to fully express how much I loved it. When I first heard about Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, I was stoked, because Rhoda Janzen was my former professor at Hope College (yes, I know, lots of bad press about my alma mater lately, sadly) and I had a hoot taking her grammar class my senior year.

So when I read that this book was about Janzen's trek back home to her mennonite past after her long-time husband left her for, I knew that this would be an interesting read, at the very least.

I adored this book from the first page. Janzen's tongue-in-cheek prose and her long-winded, complex sentences (including SAT vocabulary!) are eye candy for anybody sick of the usual "this is the terrible experience I went through" memoir that crowds so many of today's bookshelves. While Rhoda recounts some of the worst experiences in her years, she does so in a way that is honest and doesn't beg for sympathy, instead acknowledges that the blame can never fully be put on a single person. At times, this memoir is honest to almost the point of brutality, Janzen makes sure she explores her own motives and actions, and is able to extend the honesty of her writing to her own character.

All in all, this book isn't about tough times or bad relationships--it is, I think, about the fact that you really can go home, no matter how old you are, or how long you've been gone.

[For an excerpt, click here.]

L. Stacks

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