July 5, 2010

Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, by Rhoda Janzen

I had high hopes for Mennonite in a Little Black Dress. Really, I did.

I'm typically a big fan of memoirs, and this one came with a glowing review by Elizabeth Gilbert, who wrote the memoir du jour, Eat, Pray, Love.

Sorry, Liz, I just didn't agree with ya.

Plot: For me, the plot jumped around. It had an interesting enough premise -- woman gets dumped by her husband for a guy he met on Gay.com. Devastated, she returns home and reconnects with her Mennonite roots.

Unfortunately, I didn't feel a cohesive enough plot line to get engaged in the story. Each chapter felt like a story within itself, as opposed to a piece of a larger, coordinated story. There were times where I was unsure if I was reading in chronological order or if we were going back -- or jumping forward -- in time. It made it difficult for me to sink in.

Characters: I enjoyed Rhoda's parents. She wrote them with humor and admiration, and I could feel that in her words. I'd also say that I liked Rhoda -- or at least I wanted to like her. There were moments where I felt she rambled, and not in a good way. A good ramble is where I come away with some lesson or larger thought. These rambles felt like something I'd write in my journal to work out all the crazy in my head. Those rambles are important and perfectly necessary when overcoming the trauma that Rhoda faced -- but they don't make the best book fodder.

Structure: As I said, this was hard to follow. There was nothing unusual in the structure, the only thing I can think is that I had trouble following the chapters and the chronology. I would read pages and have no idea what I just read. This isn't an abnormal occurrence for me if I'm distracted, but usually at some point, I dig in. Unfortunately, I just couldn't here.

Sorry, Rhoda, I wanted to like it. I'd be interested to know if anyone else has read it. What did you think? For me, it's solidly 2 stars.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for joining our discussion of this book!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...