I was hoping to learn a little about the Mennonite community, why the author left and why she returned. Although occasionally amusing, this memoire contained mostly silly, child-like (bathroom) humor, and offered very little in the way of insight into its author's psyche or background. Although the family and culture was religious, it was not different from many other families whose constraints cause some children to rebel and others to embrace its values.
I've finally given up on this book. I just kept hoping it would grab me and beg to be finished, but I can't finish it. I'm tired of hearing her drone on about nothing. I don't feel like this is ever going anywhere. The story is very choppy and goes off on bunny trails. I've had to rewind several times just to make sure I hadn't just missed something. I'm also insulted at her attitude about Christians and Christianity, which is another reason I don't care to listen to the rest.
The narrator attempts different voices for different characters, but several, especially the main character seem bipolar. I'd just as soon have the other characters be read by others.
II enjoyed this book. Ms Janzen enlightens regarding the life in a Mennonite family and most importantly
explains the decisions she has made regarding her faith and the resulting course her life, marriage and work.
I found the reader to present the literature in a dull and rather sarcastic way.
Funny at times, the self-deprecating humor and author's making fun of the eccentricities of her parents become tiresome. Book is repetitive and has few interesting themes. The title is catchy and for this reason will sell copies. However, this is a lightweight bit of fluff.
Expected to get a view of the Mennonites. A terribly boring and inane story instead. Sorry I didn't believe other poor reviews.
Unfortunately, the serious points Janzen makes later are overshadowed by the, at times forced, humor. Not a waste of a credit, but I wouldn't fault readers who felt disappointed either.
As a non-Mennonite I can say, "What a disappointment!!!!" I listened to the book in its entirety hoping that there would be a redeeming aspect but found none. Rather, I walked away feeling as if this "read" had simply been a cathartic exercise for the author that should not have been published.
Firstly, the book is not written by a Mennonite. The author was reared in a Mennonite home and left the faith as a young woman. Basically, the book is an arrogant, "axe to grind" account of the author's life which was seemingly built on a number of poor choices. Although she periodicallly succeeds to extract humor from some of the situations she recounts, more often the recounts are a harsh, judgmental condemnation of a seemingly well-intentioned group of people (the Mennonites). There is also a imbalance throughout the book as the author is diligent to analyze the actions and characteristics of the Mennonites while failing to do the same with her own. As a result one is left feeling as if there has been a "Mennonite-bashing" with the question of "why".
I have a friend who is a former Mennonite, so I downloaded this book and we read it together. We both agreed to stop listening to it around 3 hours, 30 minutes. I was hoping for insights and my friend was hoping for humorous, relatable stories about being Mennonite. Instead, we got stupid stories that mean nothing. For instance, Janzen goes on and on about playing a board game with her niece. In another part, she goes on and on about having a urine bag taped to her leg. It left you constantly wondering that any of this has to do with being a former Mennonite and when the darn black dress is going to make an appearance.
Save your credits and skip this book.
I don't know if I'm going to make it through this book! I'm finding it very BORING. I should have read the Amazon reviews first. They told the real story. Lesson Learned!
As Rhoda's saga comes to a close, she hooks up with another Mennonite 17 years younger than she. The guy just happens to be well-educated, well-employed (so she wouldn't have to be a farm wife, or any kind of wife at all, and wouldn't have to sell her deluxe house by the lake) and in a field close to the author's - i.e. a socially acceptable Mennonite, not one of the "uncool" Mennonites of her childhood and teenage years. It's no coincidence that she goes on a "magical mystery tour" at the end of the story to rediscover her heritage right after this attraction begins. I wanted to see Rhoda evolve past her personal baggage of a restricting and oppressing religion and open up more to life. Instead, because of a lustful liaison with a co-Mennonite, she goes back into her past and wants to re-immerse.
There were funny parts to this novel, but I was way more interested in the conflicts of Rhoda's life with the gay husband and the issues of their separation, than I was with the Mennonite thing. The narrator did a great job, with just the right ironic tone. No sense of being too old, too young, nor any identifiable accent. I was only able to listen to this book because of the narrator, and unfortunately I have to reject many audible books because the narrator is too old, too male (sorry, guys), or reads with too much of an accent.