ISBN-13: 9780805092257. Finally, there is the issue of marketing and commodification of culture. 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. Her descriptions of growing up Mennonite and how this upbringing collides with the world Nick offers are at once hilarious and tender. Find helpful customer reviews and review ratings for Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home by Rhoda Janzen (2011-01-01) at Amazon.com. I can’t write much tonight. What did exist (before the separation between the U.S. and Canadian members) was a group called the North American Conference of Mennonite Brethren. Now is that a catchy title or what? The first word that comes to mind is funny, but that isn't an option! I read MIALBD two years ago, found myself laughing most of the time, and recommended it to my sister and daughter, who then recommended it to her boyfriend’s Catholic mother, who downloaded it immediately to her Kindle. The portrait of her mother Mary is utterly brilliant. As Janzen relives her marriage to Nick, a charismatic but unpredictable academic, we begin to feel her pain — and then we get angry. Rhoda Janzen, ready for an October book launch. And to do that, I have enlisted your help from your website. Mennonite in a Little Black Dress [Rhoda Janzen] on Amazon.com. I enjoyed the first 60 pages. Like James Frey, who made his addictions stronger and jail time longer in his book than they really were, Janzen sometimes makes her own upbringing sound more sectarian or perhaps more exotic than it may have been. BIO BOX: Five things to know about Rhoda Janzen: She’s hip and stylish, but resists cell phones. "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." [Janzen’s] tone reminds me of Garrison Keillor’s deadpan, affectionate, slightly hyperbolic stories about urbanities and Minnesota Lutherans. Rhoda Janzen is the first lady and hottest chick, of Mennonite memoir. Right away, on page two, the word “tit” appears in a discussion of breast cancer, and Janzen tells you that she and her women kin have none. How would you define a "good" relationship? She is the author of Babel's Stair , Rhoda Janzen is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Mennonite in a Little Black Dress and the poetry collection Babel’s Stair . In fact, I am going to present some of your ideas to my college friends when we get together next weekend. Nick … It’s also clear that her mother’s healing love made this book possible. What did you think? Actually, much in the same way that the word “Amish” affects sales of furniture, cheese, space heaters, and chicken–very positively! Try to erase self, and you are soon looking in the mirror. She also has a very handsome husband, Nick, who has just left her for a man named Bob that he met on gay.com. . To him the removal of unnecessary anatomical parts was like donating superfluous crap to Goodwill.” About the Author: . I hope the next book will relieve some of the anxiety in the Janzen family, as the focus switches away from California. 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. Rhoda Janzen is the author of the poetry collection Babel's Stair (Word Press, 2006) and the memoir Mennonite in a Little Black Dress (Henry Holt and Company, 2009). ?Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love. 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. They matter a lot; the genre will only continue to prosper if readers can trust the author. 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. Summary Not long after Rhoda Janzen turned forty, her world turned upside down. The title of her new book is hilarious and portends another bestseller. If you didn’t see it then, you might enjoy now. In the meantime, book browsers in Barnes & Noble will be attracted to something we know sells well–sexual and Amish imagery combined. 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 uses big words some of which could not be found in Dictionary.com. I loved this book, and Rhoda Janzen. How much do these two issues of compassion and integrity matter in memoir? 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. I had to choke back gargantuan guffaws in order not to wake my Mennonite husband. Tall she is 6-foot-2 with choppy bits of red-blond hair poking out from a newsboy cap. She’s written a version of the coming-of-age story as a middle-aged woman, and she pulls it off with great verve and style. She holds a PhD from the University of California, Los Angeles, where she was the University of … More than anything else, this book reminded me of dorm-room conversations in (a Mennonite) college in the late 1960s where we exercised our growing vocabulary and vented our sexual curiosity. The subtitle comes back to remind the reader of her first book: A Mennonite Finds Faith, Meets Mr. And now, I must get to my own memoirs. Now for the other side of the story. Like the casual browsers in the bookstore who see an Amish image on the cover, most readers will never know, or care, that Janzen’s branch of the Mennonite family is called Mennonite Brethren, a smaller denomination than the Mennonite Church-USA. I’ve seen a number of people talking about your book on FB since the MWR review and others. Added to that I learned about Mennonites which was fascinating. The first half was funny but there was no new material for the second half and it dragged on. Mary Karr recently said that if the antagonist of your memoir is not you, you have not gone far enough. (Rhoda's good-natured mother suggested she get over her heartbreak by dating her first cousin?he owned a tractor, see.). Rhoda Janzen is the author of Babel's Stair, a collection of poems.Her poems have also appeared in Poetry, The Yale Review, The Gettysburg Review, and The Southern Review.She holds a PhD from the University of California, Los Angeles, where she was the University of … The language was a little strong for me throughout the book. . and flick out the sexual seeds with a knife point. Not long after Rhoda Janzen turned forty, her world turned upside down. Leave a comment below and let’s see if any leftover fur will fly. In the meantime, I got very busy reading memoirs of other people, and specifically food memoirs. One of the major controversies in memoir writing is how much we owe to other people in our stories. She teaches at Hope College in Michigan. Mennonite in a Little Black Dress - Rhoda Janzen (2009) ... Rhoda is in her early forties when after a difficult hysterectomy, she finds her mentally disturbed husband is leaving her for a fellow he finds on a gay website, and then she has a car accident. Sorry that in the transfer to a new website some of the comments were duplicated. And I have noticed that there are few women on that list, just like there are few women late night or Comedy Central talk show hosts–a fact that ought to change. About a year later, Janzen hears from Nick, her husband of 15 years, that he has met a man named Bob on gay.com and wants a divorce. . –“Let’s show some leg, skirt blowing up like Marilyn Monroe’s– and then let’s dangle one of those funny hats the Amish wear right under the word “mennonite”! These poems turned the liability of being a Mennonite from the provinces into a fascinating counter-cultural phenomenon and helped to create a flourishing sub-genre of American literature unapologetically called Mennonite writing. I am also eagerly anticipating your own memoir. 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. She conflates two denominations and two different ethnicities, picking and choosing ones which will serve the purpose of entertaining her primary audience (the literary and academic elite whose haute cuisine and haute couture fascinate the author as much as the pale blue embroidered silk envelope she clutched as a child). If that isn't enough, Rhoda is involved in a serious car accident one short week after learning about Bob. I also thought of my own mother, and I gave thanks for the indomitable, oblivious, fashion-challenged caregivers of the world whose faith is in their eyes, and hands, and hearts. ... My husband, a former hoodlum, doesn’t read much. She teaches at Hope College. Such readers won’t care if her ethnography is accurate in every detail. Rhoda Janzen. Never mind that neither Janzen nor her family ever wore distinctively religious garb of the Amish or “old Mennonites.” The author can explain all that after the book is published. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Too busy today. Rhoda Janzen has already gone further into the comedy and memoir worlds than any American writer born of Mennonite (or Mennonite Brethren) parents. I’ve asked for a review copy and plan to give you my thoughts on the book soon. Did you know that Amish “bonnet rippers”–romance novels–are among the best selling books in America right now? Why? Mennonite in a Little Black Dress. Try to be humble and a minute later you will be proud of it. She earned a Ph.D. from UCLA. Janzen earns the right to hilarious descriptions of body parts and functions because her own body is central to her story. Not long after Rhoda Janzen turned forty, her world turned upside down. At that point, too many of her social, philosophical and spiritual ideas were challenged, causing her life to become more secular. Really eager to know what you think when you read the book. But please come back often. Well written, funny and self deprecating. ; poems: Babel’s Stair, 2006) excavates her past with the might of a backhoe and the finesse of an archaeologist’s brush. If that is “TMI”–too much information–for you, gentle reader, beware of Mennonite in a Little Black Dress. Plain and simple, Nick was an abusive husband. I learned to attend viewings even if I didn’t know, of the living, to look in their eyes and offer. Rhoda Janzen has it all. MENNONITE IN A LITTLE BLACK DRESS by Rhoda Janzen Book Quote: “In general, Nick’s policy was, if you haven’t used it in a year, throw it out….Nick therefore supported the hysterectomy, but only on the grounds of elegant understatement. Her latest book DOES THIS CHURCH MAKE ME LOOK FAT is out 10/2/12. . Hello Select your address Best Sellers Gift Ideas New Releases Deals Store Electronics Customer Service Home Books Coupons Computers Gift Cards Sell Subscribe & save Registry Rhoda Janzen was 43 and had been married for 15 years when, after recovering from a serious illness -- during which her usually grouchy husband Nick … Thank you, Shirley, for helping me on this road to writing. Perhaps awareness of the paradox itself is the only answer to this dilemma. Really insightful, I thought. Recommended to book clubs by 14 of 31 members. But this is a mid-life memoir, not a late-night, 60s-era bull session. What was a gal to do? Fortunately, the lapses cited above are just that, lapses. actually used some of our own discussion topics and used what our book club friend brought to the table. The following spring I read it again after doing extensive research on the web about Rhoda, and discovering your review on your blog. The last time that happened, I was reading Bill Bryson’s The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid. Will you read the sequel? Every writer struggles with marketing issues as a necessity of 21st-century publication, and every publisher wants an angle. Janzen tells us that her father was like the “pope” at one time of the “North American Mennonite Conference for Canada and the United States.” If you Google this denominational name, you will find that it does not exist. Create a login & Join us! Here is a fragment from the beginning stanza of his “How to Write the New Mennonite Poem” anthologized by editor and poet Ann Hostetler in a cappella: Mennonite Voices in Poetry: twice, once in the title, along with zwiebach. Here’s a short blurb from USA Today to whet your appetite. Here is my wish for her future: may she borrow more of her mother’s kindness and a tad more of her father’s integrity– without losing an ounce of her own wonderful chutzpah. Janzen grew up in a Mennonite household in North Dakota. . If you really want to see how the fur flies among Mennonites, go back to the original post and read the comments. She was very hurt by Rhoda’s book, and apparently that clan awaits the new book with much anxiety. I admit that I laughed often about subjects that, in the hands of a less gifted writer, could have been not only unfunny but a total waste of time. Mennonite in a Little Black Dress Soon after Janzen’s first book was published, I posted the review below. The most interesting part of the post was in the comment section, which I don’t know how to import. Self-consciousness is to writers what the sin of pride is to Mennonites. In the meantime, I decided to repost my review of her first memoir that now has sold 500,000 copies, making Rhoda Janzen the first author, I presume, to put the word “Mennonite” on The New York Times Bestseller list. As much as I laughed while reading the book and as much as I celebrate the word “Mennonite conjoined” with “funny” in other reviews of this book, I cringed while reading more than once. Like many, I wanted to shake Rhoda for being weak. The Hope College Department of English dives into literature of every kind and teaches students to improve the craft of their writing to foster a love of the written word. The Hope College Department of English dives into literature of every kind and teaches students to improve the craft of their writing to foster a love of the written word. She is the author of Babel's Stair, a collection of poems, and her poems have also appeared in Poetry, The Yale Review, … I thoroughly enjoyed this book. 468 likes. With regard to Janzen, others have admitted to their own combination of envy, anger, and awe in differing degrees. Needing a place to rest and pick up the pieces of her life, Rhoda packed her bags, Started out funny, then became mostly informative. 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