I have been a huge booklover my entire life. In first grade I came in second place in a reading contest (and the boy who won it cheated!) I was that kid who would sneak a flashlight into her room and read under the covers after she was supposed to be asleep. For the past 10 years or so, I have read an average of 4-5 books a week.
In the year since I opened my own bookstore, I have read maybe 20 books. Maybe.
So this past week I made myself a challenge. For the rest of this year, I would read at least one book a week and blog about it. Kill two birds with one stone, as I tend to suck at blogging as well! There are 19 weeks left in the year, so we’ll see if I can stick to it even that long. If it works, maybe I’ll have to come up with a new challenge for next year.
This week’s book was Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen [e-book], which has been on my reading list for a couple of years now. I’m so glad I finally read it, because it was excellent! It’s a memoir, not about a celebrity or politician, but about an ordinary woman. In the same week that her husband of 15 years leaves her for a man he met on Gay.com, she’s injured in a car accident and ends up returning to her Mennonite family in order to pet her life back together.
It’s not a straight forward memoir — it tends to flow from one story to the next, jumping around in time and place as one thing reminds her of another thing. It’s partly about returning to her Mennonite roots and the strangeness of that after living with a militant athiest. It’s partly about coming to terms with her ex-husband and his charm and bipolar disorder. It’s mainly just a very entertaining story about an average woman.
I would highly recommend it to anyone who liked Eat Pray Love. I would also recommend it to anyone who loathed Eat Pray Love. It’s the story of a woman finding herself after her life falls apart, but she does it with warmth and humour and a lot less whining than Elizabeth Gilbert…
Quote that I read to everyone in close proximity: North American Mennonites all used to grow up speaking Low German, using an outhouse, and shelling peas, sometimes all at the same time. This makes us ace multitaskers. My mother, one of seventeen kids, grew up with a two-seater biffy so that people wouldn’t have to wait to use the toilet; they could enter in pairs, do their business, and get right back to work. The family that shits together knits together.
Next Up: Silent In the Grave by Deanna Raybourn