Synopses & Reviews
A hilarious and moving memoir in the spirit of Anne Lamott and Nora Ephron about a woman who returns home to her Mennonite family after a personal crisis.
The same week her husband of 15 years ditches her for a guy he met on Gay.com, a partially inebriated teenage driver smacks her VW Beetle head-on. Marriage over, body bruised, life upside-down, Rhoda does what any sensible 43-year-old would do: She goes home.
But hers is not just any home. It's a Mennonite home, the scene of her painfully uncool childhood and the bosom of her family: handsome but grouchy Dad, plain but cheerful Mom. Drinking, smoking, and slumber parties are nixed; potlucks, prune soup, and public prayer are embraced. Having long ago left the faith behind, Rhoda is surprised when the conservative community welcomes her back with open arms--and offbeat advice. She discovers that this safe, sheltered world is the perfect place to come to terms with her failed marriage and the choices that both freed and entrapped her.
"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 Elizabeth Gilbert
"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]
"Hillary Huber's narration has a sharp edge that deals effectively with the ironic humor that runs throughout this memoir."
"Wonderfully intelligent and frank . . . snort-up-your-coffee funny, breezy yet profound, and poetic without trying."
--Kate Christensen, New York Times
It was not long after she turned 40 that Rhonda Janzen's husband left her for someone he met on Gay.com and she suffered a car accident that left her with serious injuries. To cope, Rhonda Janzen returned to where she never thought she would: the Mennonite home she left as a young woman.
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
HILLARY HUBER had hundreds of commercial voiceovers and promos under her belt when she was bitten by the audiobook bug in 2005. She now records books on a regular basis and delights in the tradition of long form storytelling.RHONDA 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 Babel's 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.