(Book Review) Mennonite in a Little Black Dress

Mennonite in a Little Black DressReviewed by: Elizabeth Tenney, Mt. Pleasant, MI



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

Author: Rhoda Janzen

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin; Reprint edition

Publication Date: April 13, 2010

Format: Trade paperback

Length: 272 Pages


Rhoda Janzen was raised in a Mennonite Christian family. As a young adult, she moved outside the influence of her family, and turned her back on her upbringing. A tragic car accident and the breakup of her marriage forced her to back into the family home in her 40’s, for recovery and healing. Her family and the Mennonite community welcomed her back, and her memoir chronicles the events that followed. She not only comes to terms with heartbreak and putting her life back on track, but also comes to value the love and faith of her family, as she turns to face the road ahead of her.

Janzen speaks to a mainstream “chick lit” audience in a humorous voice, often tinged with sarcasm and bitterness. While she does come to view the value of her family’s faith and lifestyle, she herself doesn’t embrace it, despite reaping the benefits. She sees her own life philosophy at odds with the conservative community of her childhood, and often reaffirms her original choices to move away from their suggested path.


Rating (1 to 5)

2 out of 5 stars

Suggested Audience

This first book is written from a secular point of view, and some content might not be appropriate for most church libraries, but don’t let that discourage a reading of the second memoir, (Mennonite Meets Mr. Right), that would find a wonderful home on any church library shelf.

Christian Impact

While this is technically the first in a set of memoirs, it is not written from a Christian point of view. The second of the two memoirs begins where this leaves off and follows Janzen’s path to Christ and the journey of her new Christian life.

See companion review on Mennonite Meets Mr. Right posted 10/1/15

Elizabeth Tenney is a long time public library worker and lover of reading.

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