Signed Edition Sweepstakes
 
 

Recently Viewed clear list


Interviews | September 2, 2014

Jill Owens: IMG David Mitchell: The Powells.com Interview



David MitchellDavid Mitchell's newest mind-bending, time-skipping novel may be his most accomplished work yet. Written in six sections, one per decade, The Bone... Continue »
  1. $21.00 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

    The Bone Clocks

    David Mitchell 9781400065677

spacer
Qualifying orders ship free.
$4.95
Used Hardcover
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
1 Beaverton WREL- AMISH/MENNONITE/HUTTERITE

More copies of this ISBN

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

by

Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home Cover

ISBN13: 9780805089257
ISBN10: 080508925x
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
All Product Details

Only 1 left in stock at $4.95!

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A 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 Gay.com, 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 wasnt 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. (Rhodas 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.

Rhoda Janzen holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles, where she was the University of California Poet Laureate in 1994 and 1997. She is the author of Babels Stair, a collection of poems, and her poems have also appeared in Poetry, The Yale Review, The Gettysburg Review, and The Southern Review. She teaches English and creative writing at Hope College in Holland, Michigan.

Not long after Rhoda Janzen turned forty, her world turned upside down. Her brilliant husband of fifteen years left her for Bob, a guy he met on Gay.com.  In the same week, a car accident left her with serious injuries. Rhoda had little choice but to seek shelter and support at home with her family.  Her Mennonite family, who, for theological reasons, oppose drinking, dancing, smoking, higher education, homosexuality, and divorce. While Rhoda had long ventured out on her own spiritual path, the conservative community welcomed her back with open arms and offbeat advice. 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 speak to anyone who has ever had to look homeward in order to move ahead.

“This book is not just beautiful and intelligent, but also painfully—even wincingly—funny. It is rare that I literally laugh out loud while I'm reading, but Rhoda Janzen's voice—singular, deadpan, sharp-witted and honest—slayed me, with audible results. I have a list already of about fourteen friends who need to read this book. I will insist that they read it. Because simply put, this is the most delightful memoir I've read in ages.”—Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love
 
“This is an intelligent, funny, wonderfully written memoir.  Janzen has a gift for following her elegant prose with the perfect snarky aside.  If it weren't for the weird Mennonite food, I would like very much to be her friend.”—Cynthia Kaplan, author of Why I'm Like This and Leave the Building Quickly
 
“Rhoda Janzen, a stunning woman, has written a funny book, very funny when she gets to cranking on her family, and she gets to cranking.  The writing enjoys the exactitude of poetry, and the comedic melody runs over a bass line of intellection that makes things gratifying in ways lesser books are not. Spectacular merde falls into this life.  It's a marvelous book of brave cheer.”—Padgett Powell, author of The Interrogative Mood

"The author takes stock of the tribulations, tragedy and hilarity that has shaped her experiences thus far, reexamining religious roots, familial influences and personal choices. Janzen excavates her past with the might of a backhoe and the finesse of an archaeologist's brush. Lines as jolting as 'Nick had been drinking and offering to kill me and then himself,' about her troubled ex-husband, are tempered by poignant moments of grace during her recovery from a debilitating accident: 'Because I couldn't raise my right arm, students sprang up to take notes on the board.' The author's relatives feature prominently throughout the narrative, her mother's quirky sensibilities bubbling over in merry nuggets of old-fashioned, home-spun wisdom. Punctuating overarching themes of blithe humor and Mennonite values are brief glimpses of raw despair, which Janzen eloquently, albeit briefly, explores. The recurring question of whether her abusive former spouse ever loved her is found in numerous contexts—solemn, analytical, even whimsical . . . Within the humor, Janzen offers depictions of calamity and dark truths about regrettable relationships . . . A buoyant, somewhat mordant ramble through triumphs, upheavals and utter normalcy."—Kirkus Reviews

“This soulful, affecting first memoir . . . will enchant anyone who has ever gone back home after suffering a setback.”—Library Journal (starred review)

“Janzen looks at her childhood religion with fresh, twinkling eyes . . . Janzen is always ready to gently turn the humor back on herself . . . and women will immediately warm to the self-deprecating honesty with which she describes the efforts of friends and family to help her re-establish her emotional well-being.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Review:

"At first, the worst week of Janzen's life — she gets into a debilitating car wreck right after her husband leaves her for a guy he met on the Internet and saddles her with a mortgage she can't afford — seems to come out of nowhere, but the disaster's long buildup becomes clearer as she opens herself up. Her 15-year relationship with Nick had always been punctuated by manic outbursts and verbally abusive behavior, so recognizing her co-dependent role in their marriage becomes an important part of Janzen's recovery (even as she tweaks the 12 steps just a bit). The healing is further assisted by her decision to move back in with her Mennonite parents, prompting her to look at her childhood religion with fresh, twinkling eyes. (She provides an appendix for those unfamiliar with Mennonite culture, as well as a list of 'shame-based foods' from hot potato salad to borscht.) Janzen is always ready to gently turn the humor back on herself, though, and women will immediately warm to the self-deprecating honesty with which she describes the efforts of friends and family to help her re-establish her emotional well-being." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

In the spirit of Anne Lamott and Nora Ephron comes Janze's hilarious and moving memoir about a woman who returns home to her close-knit Mennonite family after a personal crisis.

Synopsis:

"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." —Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love

Not long after Rhoda Janzen turned forty, her world turned upside down. It was bad enough that her husband of fifteen years left her for Bob, a guy he met on Gay.com, but that same week a car accident left her injured. Needing a place to rest and pick up the pieces of her life, Rhoda packed her bags, crossed the country, and returned to her quirky Mennonite family's home, where she was welcomed back with open arms and offbeat advice. (Rhoda's good-natured mother suggested she get over her heartbreak by dating her first cousin—he owned a tractor, see.)

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.

Synopsis:

A 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 Gay.com, 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 wasnt 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. (Rhodas 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.

About the Author

Rhoda Janzen holds a PhD from the University of California, Los Angeles, where she was the University of California Poet Laureate in 1994 and 1997. She is the author of Babels Stair, a collection of poems, and her poems have also appeared in Poetry, The Yale Review, The Gettysburg Review, and The Southern Review. She teaches English and creative writing at Hope College in Holland, Michigan.

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

Denise Morland, January 11, 2010 (view all comments by Denise Morland)
Mennonite in a Little Black Dress is Rhoda Janzen's account of growing up Mennonite and her return to the fold after her husband leaves her for a man he meets on gay.com. This book is filled with kooky characters, not the least of which is her own parents. Seriously, you couldn't make people like this up!

The book is all about humor which sometimes succeeds and sometimes doesn't. There are a lot of pee bag jokes that get kind of old and the frequent mention of disgusting bodily fluids by her mother are really just disgusting. However there are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, many of which caught me by surprise.

I listened to the audio version and it was a lightly entertaining way to pass a few hours. The reader is good with the mother's voice being my favorite. In the end you'll get at least a few laughs out of the book and that's worth a listen right there.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Marie Angell, January 1, 2010 (view all comments by Marie Angell)
While this is an enjoyable read, for Ms. Janzen is a graceful and entertaining writer, for me this book suffered from what seems to be a trend in modern memoir: It reads very much like a series of columns strung together, especially in the latter third or so.

That said, it was an interesting glimpse into what appears to outsiders as a strange world of religious orthodoxy. Unfortunately, while at first glance it appears that Ms. Janzen has laid her life and deepest humiliations bare, there is a reserve that keeps the book from being as compelling and insightful as it might have been.

We meet her parents, siblings and friends (although I had trouble keeping everyone straight) but we don't always get much real insight into their true emotional place in her life.

I would imagine that someone from Ms. Janzen's background would think she was being wildly open about her embarrassments and challenges, but it has a superficial, even self conscious quality.

Which is not to say that the book isn't amusing and full of "I can relate to that moments," especially for those of us whose family religion or conservative backgrounds cast us as outsiders.

Understandably, this is a memoir and not a biography, but the book would have been better served by digging a little bit deeper. Alas, it seems as though an angle, in this case, Mennonite/Little Black Dress with the added embellishment of a trouble marriage, is supposed to be enough.

For me, not quite fully satisfying, but a cut above many of these books because of the writing.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(3 of 6 readers found this comment helpful)
landa102, October 14, 2009 (view all comments by landa102)
I recieved this as an ARC from the publisher and on getting it thought I would just put it aside and read it later but upon reading the first few pages I was hooked.
This book is laugh out loud funny and has some profound spiritual truths that we all much face at middle age.
I identified with a lot of the stories even though I didn't grow up mennonite but southern baptist but a lot of the and beliefs are the same.
I encourage anyone who wants a good laugh or heartwarming story to read this book.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(6 of 7 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 3 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780805089257
Subtitle:
A Memoir of Going Home
Author:
Janzen, Rhoda
Publisher:
Henry Holt and Co.
Subject:
Poets, American
Subject:
21st century
Subject:
General
Subject:
Janzen, Rhoda
Subject:
Poets, American - 21st century
Subject:
Personal Memoirs
Subject:
Women
Subject:
Biography - General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20091013
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
2 illustrations
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.50 in

Other books you might like

  1. Guess Again! New Hardcover $16.99
  2. Sprout
    Used Hardcover $11.50
  3. Say You're One of Them (Oprah #63)
    Used Trade Paper $2.95
  4. Harry Potter and Philosophy (Popular... Used Trade Paper $7.95
  5. Bright-Sided: How the Relentless...
    Used Hardcover $4.50
  6. In Patagonia (Penguin Classics)
    Used Trade Paper $9.95

Related Subjects

Biography » General
Biography » Women
Health and Self-Help » Self-Help » Memoirs
Religion » Western Religions » Denominations

Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$4.95 In Stock
Product details 256 pages Henry Holt & Company - English 9780805089257 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "At first, the worst week of Janzen's life — she gets into a debilitating car wreck right after her husband leaves her for a guy he met on the Internet and saddles her with a mortgage she can't afford — seems to come out of nowhere, but the disaster's long buildup becomes clearer as she opens herself up. Her 15-year relationship with Nick had always been punctuated by manic outbursts and verbally abusive behavior, so recognizing her co-dependent role in their marriage becomes an important part of Janzen's recovery (even as she tweaks the 12 steps just a bit). The healing is further assisted by her decision to move back in with her Mennonite parents, prompting her to look at her childhood religion with fresh, twinkling eyes. (She provides an appendix for those unfamiliar with Mennonite culture, as well as a list of 'shame-based foods' from hot potato salad to borscht.) Janzen is always ready to gently turn the humor back on herself, though, and women will immediately warm to the self-deprecating honesty with which she describes the efforts of friends and family to help her re-establish her emotional well-being." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , In the spirit of Anne Lamott and Nora Ephron comes Janze's hilarious and moving memoir about a woman who returns home to her close-knit Mennonite family after a personal crisis.
"Synopsis" by , "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." —Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love

Not long after Rhoda Janzen turned forty, her world turned upside down. It was bad enough that her husband of fifteen years left her for Bob, a guy he met on Gay.com, but that same week a car accident left her injured. Needing a place to rest and pick up the pieces of her life, Rhoda packed her bags, crossed the country, and returned to her quirky Mennonite family's home, where she was welcomed back with open arms and offbeat advice. (Rhoda's good-natured mother suggested she get over her heartbreak by dating her first cousin—he owned a tractor, see.)

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.

"Synopsis" by , A 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 Gay.com, 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 wasnt 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. (Rhodas 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.

spacer
spacer
  • back to top
Follow us on...




Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.