Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Brittney Kocman

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Though you would expect a rather unstable book coming from a woman in a midlife crisis, Mennonite in a Little Black Dress was breezy and humorous. This book was really well written by the poet and English teacher Rhoda Janzen, which grabbed me by the very first chapter. Rhoda was divorced by her husband of fifteen years for some guy he met on Gay.com, got in a car accident causing several broken bones, and on top of that, she is forty, alone, and on her way to her fellow Mennonite folks. Clearly, this book is a memoir on returning home, and learning to cope with the past.

There were places in this memoir where I connected, and relived past experiences of my life. Rhode Janzen seems to understand how to connect with her primary audience in a very flowing and carefree way. Sadly, some engaging flashbacks had me thinking, “What...?”, and even German words made my mind stumble. Fallacies are present as well, but it seems relevant that every novel has one here and there. In the end, I found that those little bits fit into a certain place in the story. I loved how it didn’t just focus on her life, but her family's as well. Janzen was certainly not afraid about putting information out there for her readers to discover. To me, she created a very lovely piece.

Honestly, I am not the typical person to pick up and actually enjoy a memoir, but I was caught by surprise when I noticed how good a book, even about aging and an adult life, could really spark my attention as a young reader. I recommend Mennonite in a Little Black Dress to any bookworm willing to pay attention to religious views, and aspects on life from childhood to adulthood, with a pinch of hysterical comments.

If you are curious, as am I, you can possibly find this book educational and fascinating at the same time. Rhoda examines her past along her life’s journey, and even learned to come to peace with it, something which can be very valuable in my eyes. This is a book I never heard of until I went searching the Barnes and Noble bookshelves. But, may I say, it is certainly a book I would pick up and devour all over again.





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