Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home
by Rhoda Janzen
Paperback- $8.75

"It is rare that I literally laugh out loud while I'm reading, but Janzen's voice?singular, deadpan, sharp-witted and honest?slayed me." ...

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  "Mennonite in a Little Black Dress" by aperrigo (see profile) 07/08/10

Rhoda relates the story of growing up in a Mennonite home in California, and the breakup of her 15 year marriage to a fellow who left her for a man he met on Our feelings about this title were mixed. Some of us thought it was uproariously funny, but it just didn't set right with others. There is room for discussion, but basically for our group it just came down to some liked it and some didn't!

  "Not For Club Reading" by angel.oz (see profile) 08/18/10

This book was light and fun, but didn't have the depth that we anticipated when we selected it for club reading. Left me a little disappointed.

  "I laughed hysterically!" by sbsalsa (see profile) 01/02/11

While the language can be somewhat raunchy in this title, I found myself laughing my head off to the point of crying at some passages. If you laughed at the translation of the spanish soccer spectator in "Eat, Pray, Love", you will laugh at the racquetball game description in this book. Days later I re-read this passage and still found myself laughing hard. NOTE: It's not often I find anything funny in the written word. Rhoda Janzen does have a few more serious and retro/introspective comments and her mother proves to be a colorful character - someone you wish you knew. However, I found the ending a surprise in that I didn't realize it was the end.... until the next page said "Appendix". While it's pretty funny and insightful, I am thinking the only reason it was a best seller is readers thought they were getting a real sneak peak into the life of the Mennonites - which this book does not truly supply. I am going to venture into trying the Borscht recipe in the back though!

  "An entertaining read" by jenniferharding (see profile) 01/05/11

I read this outside of my bookclub. I thought it was entertaining and even funny in places. The narrators mother was hilarious (though I am not sure her mother would agree.) Many have said the author was too harsh on her family. I can see in parts where this may be so. But I thought it was a very straight-forward and honest look at her upbringing and family. It was very interesting. I am not sure it would be a good book club book though, simply because I didn't find the book to be all that thought provoking.

  "We Got It, Already" by CeliaB (see profile) 01/10/11

Most of us thought the book just kept repeating the same points, with different stories. It was supposed to be a humorous read, but wasn't. Several of us didn't even finish it and there wasn't much to discuss.

  "Mennonite" by mkayot (see profile) 02/11/11

The book was fun, members found varying levels of humor, from funny to laugh out loud. Gave some insight into the Mennonite community. Some found it hard to follow.

  "" by christyshipman (see profile) 03/02/11

Rarely do I start a book and not finish it. This one I only read about 3 chapters.

  "Disappointed" by Corgi819 (see profile) 03/10/11

i did not like as much as i thought i would--we ddi have a good discussion--one of our members was raised mennonite and was very helpful when we were discussing the book. I definitely ddi not find it hilarious-some parts were funny--generaqted good discussio

  "Yawn" by go_ecu (see profile) 03/15/11

  "A vainglorius apoplectic romp that will put your burnoose in a twist!" by MichelleJMcIntyre (see profile) 03/15/11

It was a good read I liked the main character. I'm 43 years old and can somewhat relate to her, although I'm still married and my husband has not left me for a guy he met on! Be ready to get out the dictionery on this. Here are a few of the words used in the book: cattywampus, depradations, belleristic, irascible, vainglorius, filial, improvident, apoplectic, bildungsroman and burnoose!

  "Mennonite in a Little Black Dress" by sherribeaty (see profile) 03/22/11

Don't waste your time.

  "A slow read" by LINDSAYHEATH (see profile) 03/28/11

I usually like memoirs so I expected to like this book. I couldn't get into it. It started slow and never picked up. I thought the story was dull and I would not recommend it.

  "Hilarious" by vikamunga (see profile) 04/10/11

I laughed out loud while reading this!

  "Mennonite in a Little Black Dress" by Dedalus (see profile) 04/16/11

  "Witty Humor, Challenging life changing" by jeffsd11 (see profile) 04/22/11

With wry humor, Rhoda Janzen shares, with little to spare on the personal side a challenging life struggle where going home was the only alternative at 43 and came out the other side. It was with some sadness tat was no obvious but clearly underneath heightened by the humor and wit to show just how important the family was to her and the loving parents that while often at a distance, had the deep love for her that made it easier to mend. While no a dramatic piece from Shakespeare, it is certainly a worthy book that anyone could appreciate either going through a crisis or not.

  "Wry Humor with solace" by jeffsd11 (see profile) 04/22/11

Rhoda Janzen gives a stand-up comedian style prose that is as natural as the sun setting and rising daily. But this tell all, and I mean all, from Mennonite panties on ebay idea to more bodily functions than we want to hear about, yet funny all the while. This humorous backdrop heightens the current pain of an adult at 43 going through what is seemingly unimaginable challenging time in her life. The saving grace seems to be in where she might last expect, her roots as a Mennonite. With the comfort of her loving parents and what she knew growing up, this makes the healing process that much easier and bearable.

  "Didn't Live Up to It's Title" by cashivers (see profile) 04/28/11

  "Not that funny......" by hopewellmomschool (see profile) 05/03/11

See my review at

  "Who said Mennonites were "simple"" by ltkelly1 (see profile) 05/21/11

If you are looking for something that is not to heavy or "deep", then Mennonite is the book for you. It is a great summer read - light, interesting, thought provoking and in parts, laough out loud funny. Life is all about choices - some of our choices are better than others - Rhoda Janzen acknowedges this fact and is able to laugh at herself, learn from her mistakes and find way to move on. Most anyone shoudld be able to find something to identify with in this book.

  "None of our club really enjoyed it...." by tndlovu (see profile) 06/02/11

I finally stopped reading it because I could not get into it after more than 100 pages....

  "First, I felt sorry for Janzen, then I felt duped..." by rkarpinecz (see profile) 06/10/11

Janzen repeatedly reminds readers that her husband left her for a guy named Bob only to reveal midway through that she knew he was bisexual and bipolar when she married him, and that they had divorced and remarried! Her presentation of the Mennonite faith was unremarkable and, our group agreed, it is much like many other faiths and cultures. She likens her Father's Church position to that of the Pope but give no explanation for what that means or how he achieved that role. Those of Eastern European descent were amused that she has claimed Borscht as Mennonite cuisine. The book is a self indulgent portrait by an author who may have a lot to say but has chosen not to share. Don't waste your time.

  "Light, fun read" by jordantj (see profile) 06/21/11

  "What is the Story?" by redljn1977 (see profile) 06/28/11

I found this book extremely frustrating. I have not read too many books that jump around as this one did. This author cheats her readers by telling an event that happens but drops you in the middle of it and never speaks of it again. No beginning, middle or ending! You've heard of Sentence fragments well this book was all about story fragments!

  "Mennonite in a Little Black Dress" by RachelP (see profile) 08/09/11

Janzen's take on life is inspiring and beautifully positive. To come from such a rigid background and cleave her own set of values is courageous; to come away from an abusive relationship and stay focused on the bigger picture is something to admire.

  "time waster" by PSchulz (see profile) 09/13/11

slow read, difficult to maintain interest in book

  "Lost emphasis" by laxrunners (see profile) 09/16/11

Started out funny, then became mostly informative.

  "Did you forget funny?" by sthammond (see profile) 09/16/11

The first word that comes to mind is funny, but that isn't an option! Learned a lot about the Mennonites and about myself.

  "Mennonite In a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home" by MoniqueHughes (see profile) 03/23/12

Parts of the book were very funny and enjoyable and other parts were a bit slow. The language was a little strong for me throughout the book.

  "Menonite in a Little Black Dress" by LaceyGoetz (see profile) 05/09/12

The first half was funny but there was no new material for the second half and it dragged on. She uses big words some of which could not be found in

  "Mennonite in a Little Black Dress" by Lisawasiecko (see profile) 05/10/12

I enjoyed the first 60 pages. The rest not so much.

  "A Fun Read" by MariaHourihane (see profile) 05/28/13

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Well written, funny and self deprecating. Added to that I learned about Mennonites which was fascinating.

  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 06/22/18

  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 07/20/18

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