Books in the Park

suggestions from the Barbara S. Ponce Public Library at Pinellas Park

Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home by Rhoda Janzen

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MennoniteinaLittleBlackRhoda Janzen’s candid, hilarious memoir proves that you actually can always go home, even when home is to Mennonite parents. What problem can’t be cured with a little borscht?

Rhoda is dealt two blows in a week’s time. First she is in a horrific car accident, and then her husband leaves her for a man he met on a gay dating website. With little else to do, Rhonda decides to go home to nurse her wounds and her broken heart.

She finds comfort in the Four F’s: Family, Faith, Food and Flatulence. If you are expecting a book about self-pity, this isn’t it. Janzen’s humor and optimism shine through, even as she begins to reveal the horrors she endured before her road to recovery. After years away from her Mennonite upbringing, she sees the religion through adult eyes. It may be a world she no longer fits into after higher education (Mennonites frown upon that) and 15 years of marriage to an atheist, but she begins to recover fond memories from her childhood. The reader grows to love this quirky family just as much as she does.

Don’t we all have family members who say inappropriate things at the dinner table or fart in public or cook cabbage 15 different ways? Well maybe not, but every family has their idiosyncrasies.

Janzen is sarcastic and unapologetic. She’s one woman finding her own path after tragedy strikes. And I laughed the whole way there.

Check the PPLC Catalog for Mennonite in a Little Black Dress.

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