Wednesday 19 May 2010

Audio Memoir

Finished May 18
Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen, read by Hillary Huber
This memoir covers a time period in Janzen's life that began with a week in which her husband of 15 years left her for Bob from and teenage driver caused a head-on car accident that gave her broken bones and bruises. As she deals with trying to sell the large house she can no longer afford on her own, and recovering from her emotional and physical injuries, she retreats to her parent's home in California. While brought up Mennonite, Janzen has strayed far from this beginning. She finds that the Mennonite community still welcomes her, and supports her in ways she hadn't expected. A combination of tales from her time spent recovering there, and reminiscences from earlier times (both growing up and her marriage), this is a humourous look at the Mennonite way of life and how it helps to deal with what life gives you.
Being of partial Mennonite heritage on my mother's side, I've been exposed to some of the traditions surrounding this way of life (I've made pluma moos, the plum soup she mentions, and have my grandma's recipe for zweibach). So that part of it was very interesting to me. I liked most of her humour, but did wonder about some of her family's reactions to being portrayed in the book. The narrative moves around a lot in time and I found it difficult to say exactly what order things happened in and where on the timeline. It did keep me entertained though and I'll be passing it on to my mother to see what she thinks of it.

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