Roses & Thorns

Roses & Thorns

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

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


An 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.

Not long after Rhoda Janzen turned forty, her world turned upside down. It was bad enough that her brilliant husband of fifteen years left her for Bob, a guy he met on, but that same week a car accident left her with serious injuries. What was a gal to do? Rhoda packed her bags and went home. This wasn’t just any home, though. This was a Mennonite home. While Rhoda had long ventured out on her own spiritual path, the conservative community welcomed her back with open arms and offbeat advice. (Rhoda’s good-natured mother suggested she date her first cousin—he owned a tractor, see.) It is in this safe place that Rhoda can come to terms with her failed marriage; her desire, as a young woman, to leave her sheltered world behind; and the choices that both freed and entrapped her.

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.


Mennonite in a Little Black Dress is a delightful, heartfelt, and revealing personal account by the woman who lived it, inside and out. It gives immense and detailed insight into the interesting history and environment that formed her. The author, Rhoda Janzen, writes in first person and uses prolific humor that cleverly pokes fun at herself, and her Mennonite culture with warm sincerity and without being disrespectful in any way. She obviously appreciates and adores her quirky family, even if she disagrees with many of their ways. She grows into the understanding and enjoyment of their good qualities. Although I was not able to identify closely with any particular character, I was able to treasure her family for all their differences.

Janzen is hilariously descriptive in sharing her personal journey; a difficult journey that she chooses to ponder on the light side. Her story is set in contemporary America and not only recounts her own emerging selfhood, but also considers the evolving Mennonite society. She is an excellent writer, and a pleasure to read. This author made me laugh on almost every single page through Chapter Nine; not with flippant jest, but rather with the humor of real life. The tone begins to change with Chapter Ten becoming more serious and almost preachy in a sudden odd and deliberate, yet not unwelcome, way. She needed to evaluate her chosen path beyond her own raw experiences and she relates her thinking and conclusions adroitly to her readers. Her unique humor begins to ease in again in Chapter Ten, and she attains a rich balance. Writing this book seems to be a cathartic release for this author as she comes full circle. Reading it might also be helpful for some readers.

I highly recommend this book, especially to women who may be on their own rocky road with undesirable relationships and unpleasant life events. If nothing else, read it for the laughs; I did!

Length:  272 Pages
Print:  $14.00
Digital:  $9.99

You’ll notice we always include the publisher’s buy link. That’s because authors usually receive 40% of the book price from the publisher. Editors and cover artists usually receive about 5%. When you buy a book from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or another third-party vendor, they take a hefty cut and the author, editors and cover artists receive their cuts from what is left. So, if a book costs $5.99 at E-Book and you buy from there, the author will receive about $2.40. If you buy the book at Amazon, the author will receive about $0.83.

Downloading the file from your computer to your Kindle is as easy as transferring any file from your computer to a USB flash drive. Plug the larger USB end of your chord into a USB port on your computer and simply move the file from your “Downloads” box to your Kindle/Documents/Books directory. You can download your books onto your computer using “Save As” to a “Books” file you create and sort them into sub-folders by genre, author, or however you wish before transferring them to your Kindle. That way, if there’s a glitch with your Kindle, the books are on your computer. Your author will be happy you did when he/she sees his/her royalty statement.

Thanks for visiting. Rose & Rochelle

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