Customer Review

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars funny and insightful memoir, 2 April 2011
This review is from: Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home (Paperback)
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I wanted to read this delightful book as an opportunity to learn about a religion and culture that is not really known in the UK, Mennonite.
In this family the ancestors were originally from Germany, but had settled for a while in the Ukraine and then Canada before making their home in California USA.
The writer has such a strong voice. She is a scholar and a writer, intelligent and seemingly independent, so it is curious to discover that she spent 15 years married to a man who could be cruel and overbearingly controlling. It is he who leaves her for "Bob from Gay.com"as Rhonda informs us with the humour that is one of her defining characteristics as a writer.
It is this intelligent and witty sense of humour that carries the reader through the book chuckling and laughing out loud at what has been in many ways a tough life, yet a worthwhile one.
Her father was a minister of the Mennonite church and all the siblings were raised in their strong culture; the scriptures, their moral attitudes and the food.
Mennonite women do not question authority. Even Rhonda, though she is a scholar trained to challenge intellectually, tends to "obey".
The book is a journey where she is writing to explain to herself and to the reader just why she has lived her life in the way she has.
She makes beautiful sense of herself and her relationships using her humour and compassion.
She tells us that the Mennonite food once her "most shameful secret" is actually tasty and eaten with enjoyment by her friends and students invited to her dinner evenings.
Yes the smell might be odd, even repellent and she knows her parents ate and drank stuff we would just gag at; but here we can read and see it through different eyes. Her mother tells of drinking their own well water with a dead rat in it as just another amusing anecdote from her own childhood. Nothing bad, strange or dangerous! Lard sandwiches, did you know the pink lard ones eaten with salt have the most flavour?
A very enjoyable read. The bonus is getting to know a culture and religion I knew nothing of.
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