My rating: 3 of 5 stars
When your husband of fifteen years leaves you for a man named Bob that he met on Gay.com and you have a horrific car accident the same week, it might be time for you to consider a sabbatical. If you do, you might want to go home to your family to lick your wounds, and if you do, you might find yourself reminiscing about how different your family is from the life you’ve chosen for yourself. Then, you might find yourself writing. This is what Rhoda Janzen has done in this book. Throughout the book, Janzen shares humorous stories from her family, reflects on the life she chose for herself and explores what went wrong in her marriage.
The book was funny. There were a lot of incidents that made me have a smile to my face. She very clearly loves her family and looks back on her upbringing with true nostalgia. she finds herself understanding things from her childhood that embarrassed her or stressed her out as a child. She finds herself openly discussing the issues she has with her faith. She finds herself admitting that her marriage wasn’t as idyllic as it was in her own head.
Despite the good things, there were several things that disappointed me.
First, she doesn’t really make an attempt to explain the mennonites or what makes them distinctive. I was actually looking for buggies and long skirts, so I was disappointed with the author’s descriptions of mennonite life. I never truly understood what made them so different from other Christian groups. That is a failure of the book.
Second, I didn’t like the potshots she took. She downs her sister-in-laws, her brothers and her ex-husband. There’s a lot of bitterness and unhappiness towards many people in the books. She needs to come to terms with her feelings with all of them so that bitterness does not grow.
Third, I didn’t like her contempt for religion. She acts as if religion is something that a participant can grow past if they are educated enough. This leaves me feeling like she’s looking down an patronizing in her descriptions of her family and their religion. It’s just not something that is appropriate if you’re just looking back with fondness at your family.
Still, it was an entertaining read, and one that I often found myself smiling and laughing at. Since I bought this at a discounted table at a library book sale, I would call it 33 cents well spent!