Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Book #39: The Mennonite in the Little Black Dress

The student who gave me this book didn't read it. Not all of it, at least, but that's OK. She'd told me all she had was non-fiction, how-to and advice books so I sent her off to find some fiction.   She already read several books I lent her includingValley of the Dolls, Fault in Our Stars, so she kinda knew what I liked.

A week after everyone else turned in their books she brought me this one.  It's funny is all she said and handed it to me.

She was right. 

This book is a memoir of a really really hard time written by a creative writing professor, and her skill and confidence as a writer and storyteller come through on each page. This book dances (oh wait, Mennonites don't dance, so this book dances-ish) with stories short enough to keep my attention that hold together into a book I didn't want to put down and now I don't want to give back. 

There is a section about a guy with a teeny weenie peenie,  a part where a soldier makes potato salad in his pants and an entire discussion of the most shameful foods Mennonite parents pack in their children's lunch pails (...pancake sandwich??) 

This book will make you laugh out loud, it will let you put it down and pick it up, and it will make you a bit more creative and smarter by reading it. 

With that said,I can't believe I've finished 39 books.

 OK, I can believe it. 

Ask my kids, all I do at home (when Gordon Ramsey isn't on) is read read read. 

Ask my students, I use reading all these books for an excuse to not constantly update their grades on blackboard. 

When I was in college we didn't see professors as ATM's that had to give us our "balance" at any moment, but this generation of students seems genuinely pained if/when they don't know exactly what their running weighted grade is at any moment during the semester.  I'm glad they care, but sheesh, back off, I'll get to it in good time, just like I have every semester for 20 years.

Now I have a minute or two now before class, and  I'm choosing to spend it with a new book, not typing grades into spreadsheets on this beautiful Spring day. 

Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home Rhoda Janzen