An honest admission: When I first saw Rhoda Janzen’s new book featured in Time magazine and in The New York Times, my initial impulse was toward envy—unadulterated, green-as-possible envy. As a fledgling writer who grew up in a close Mennonite community, I often dreamed of creating a humorous memoir about my religious upbringing, complete with satirical observations about the peculiarities of Mennonite culture. Janzen’s Mennonite in a Little Black Dress was the book I always wanted to write. That the author had received a good bit of publicity for her work only intensified my shade of green.
After finishing Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, however, I’m convinced the book is misnamed, and that the publisher added “Mennonite” to the title as a clever marketing tool: the cache of a seemingly exotic religious sect being used to sell a different type of story. Certainly Mennonites play a role in Janzen’s book, but only as a quiet thrum to a much larger, more complex and more compelling story about the author’s spiritual quest to discover the self she had lost, and the results of her efforts."
Mock, Melanie Springer, "Book Review: Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home" (2010). Faculty Publications - Department of English. 108.