Monday, May 17, 2010

Mennonite in a Little Black Dress

My expectations of this book were a little higher than my opinion after I had finished the biography. I expected this to be a tale of a woman who hit rock bottom and found her way to happiness once more. Rhoda Janzen was raised a Mennonite but abandoned her religious upbringing and married an abusive, mentally unstable atheist who leaves her for a man named Bob. In the pages I found the biography to be more of an account to Janzen's confusion and general disheartened feelings towards her ex-husband and Mennonite history.

I'll admit that I am not a fount of knowledge when it comes to Mennonites. We have the old school Mennonites who, up until four years ago, I thought were Amish. The Mennonites which Janzen calls family, to my understanding, is nothing like the Mennonites I am familiar with.

Janzen writes with a humorous tone which had me snickering at different points. But sometimes I felt somewhat lost from her humor and undecided on whether or not she was being in all truth cruel in her jokes about her family and upbringing. All family units are quirky and I enjoy that despite the stereotypical straight laced and stern Mennonites that come to mind, this family is cute and loving. despite that some of it's members left the religion it obviously does not change Rhoda's parents feelings for their children.

The fact that Janzen is an English professor (hello dream job!) and holds a PhD it annoys me slightly that she seems to make a few mistakes in her writing- such as introducing some people more then once. If I had to be introduced to 'my friend so-and-so' once more after already being introduced I might have thrown the book. Otherwise, the rambling writings grabbed my interest as did the otherworldly lifestyle of this family and their beliefs. Despite points where I felt she was a little harsh in her jokes of her family I did enjoy reading this. It reminded me of the off the wall antics of my own family and it caused me to appreciate my own story more.

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