The subtitle for this part two memoir is a summary in a nutshell: ‘A Mennonite Finds Faith, Meets Mr. Right, and Solves Her Lady Problems’. This is Rhoda Janzen’s sequel to Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, which I thought was funnier and fresher, but then sequels often find it hard to compete with the original. It is still vintage Janzen: funny, honest, grateful, and self deprecating. This is a brave story cloaked in dark humour. Janzen teaches creative writing at Hope College and has a Ph.D. from UCLA. She is a poet and knows how to write.
In the first book she survives the end of her marriage and a serious car accident. In the second book she enters a new love relationship, finds a new church home, and battles a serious cancer, not necessarily in that order. Her life has undergone some significant changes. Although her faith language can be a bit rough around the edges and delightfully irreverent at times, the journey she shares speaks volumes about how much she appreciates her roots and is surprised by faith at every turn. Barbara Brown Taylor said this and I agree with it. “Rhoda Janzen is one of the few people I trust to write about faith without using God to clobber me.”
My best takeaway from Janzen’s books is that even though inevitably things happen in life that we do not choose and are not able to change, what we do have control over is choosing our attitude about it. This is a great responsibility, but also a great freedom.