If you have been following the bestselling author Rhoda Janzen since the publication of Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, and many people who read this blog, especially this post, have been doing so, you will want to buy her second memoir.
I’m deeply grateful to Janzen for helping both Mennonites and others, both secular and religious, laugh.
Here’s how I reviewed the book for Christian Century magazine. I hope you’ll buy a copy of the magazine’s Fall Books Issue now on sale or subscribe on the website. With so many magazines and newspapers cutting back on reviews, it’s wonderful to find a magazine still devoted to getting the word out about good books.
Does This Church Make Me Look Fat? by Rhoda Janzen
“Isn’t that an off-brand religion?” One of my son’s soon-to-be-relatives asked this question when he was introduced as having grown up in a Mennonite family.
If Mennonites are off-brand to many Americans, then Pentecostals might be known as firebrands. The average person knows very little about either faith. Rhoda Janzen, who has moved from the former to the latter, brings awareness to both by chronicling her sometimes calamitous, sometimes hilarious and now mystical experiences of the past five years, as seen in the context of her 48-year spiritual journey.
Janzen landed at the number one spot on the New York Times best-seller list with her first memoir,Mennonite in a Little Black Dress. She begins her second memoir, Does This Church Make Me Look Fat?, by recapping some of the plot details from the first book: a divorce and an auto accident followed by a four-month recuperation visit to her Mennonite family in Fresno, California, after she had “fallen away” from that faith for many years. By the end of her first memoir she had returned to the dating scene, and the reader met, among others, Mitch, an unlikely suitor sporting a large Jesus nail around his neck.
She married him.
Do you want to read this book? Why or why not? When and if you read it, please come back and let us know what you thought.