Sunday, January 19, 2014

Any Comments on our January read: "Menonnite in a Little Black Dress"?

Have you finished reading Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home by Rhoda Janzen?

We will meet on Monday, February 10, 2014, at Noon at the Delaware County Literacy Council to discuss this book.

Note: We are now meeting the second Monday of the month.

If you have any reactions you would like to share, please do so by adding a comment below.

Please don't read these comments if you haven't yet finished the book; they may contain spoilers!


  1. This book was a fast and fun read, but the author seems to keep the reader (and possibly herself) at bay regarding her true feelings. All the rip-roaring humor often seems a cover for real pain.

    I grew up in a pretty strict household, so I can relate to feeling out of step with my peers and with society at large. It is painful, and when she is doubly ostracized because of her dress and her diet, the wounds are going to run especially deep.

    She is an artful writer, and I feel this is one step toward her healing. Or perhaps this is as much of her healing as she is willing to share in public.

    All that being said, she captures her mother's spirit and quirkiness with great specificity--my favorite part of the book!

  2. I agree with Susan about the author's pain/feelings. I wonder if she will look back at this book in five years and see how much pain she is in--but not really acknowledging. When I got to the end and read the part about this being about her mother, I was a bit surprised. I liked the bits about her mother (and it reminded me of the 3 months I spent with my mother), but I did not think it was a focal point of the book.

    The author's pain over her relationship with her husband, his leaving her and even her anger at her growing up seemed to be the message of the book more than her going home. I thought of alternative titles as I was reading, "Mennonite with the broken heart," "Mennonite who never grew up" etc. I found some of the subject matter juvenile (body functions, etc) and was surprised when I got to the end and she thanked her editor. I thought Susan K would have been a tougher editor (and the book would have benefited from it). Then I wondered if the author kept control of he editing process (said she who is at the stage of turning her own book over to someone to edit).
    Overall, I was glad to read the book and sorry to miss the session on Monday. Thanks for listening.


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