This is an adorable memoir about recovery from life’s not-so-little upsets. Janzen has a lot go wrong all at once, but she’s not without the will to press on or a support system to help her do it. It’s also a memoir of reflection. It’s a reminder that remembering where we came from can help us get to where we’re going sometimes, even when we’re not trying to get back to that origin. Janzen’s family and friends from her youth don’t necessarily help her pick up the physical pieces, but the mental ones. They help her remember the simple, heartier parts of herself that propelled her forward in the first place.
She’s a little irreverent at times, but I wouldn’t say Janzen’s ever disrespectful of where she comes from. I don’t know anything about Mennonites and have never met one in person, but her stories about growing up in this denomination are mostly sweet and embarrassing as any good coming-of-stage story is. Of course, this memoir doesn’t cover her whole life, so much as the visit home, but there are some stories that shaped her outlook on certain things and how she met friends mentioned in the book.
All these details were interesting, but it was her tone that kept me in the book. It took a while to find just the right word to describe her tone and it’s sardonic. She doesn’t necessarily feel happy about the place she is in life, and she’s not exactly laughing at it, but she’s dealing with it through a bit of cynical humor about the world. This attitude is compounded with how adorable the people she surrounds herself with are and it makes a fun contrast. Mostly, it exemplifies how I’ve always felt in bad situations and was exactly what I needed while going through a bit of an upset myself.
I borrowed Mennonite in a Little Black Dress from my local library, but there are other places to get it. Click on the cover image to be redirected to Booklikes for world-wide purchase options or add to Goodreads for later.