Continuing her search for spiritual relevance in everyday life, Janzen (Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, 2009) recounts the travails and joys encountered while finding love, embracing her new beau’s religion, and surviving breast cancer.
Newly single, the author stepped into the dating world and ended up with an unlikely Mr. Wonderful. A huge, goateed rocker with a permit to carry a concealed weapon, he was a reformed alcoholic with a light Southern accent who uttered pronouncements like, “Well, I’ll be double-dipped!” Janzen was mesmerized, she repeatedly informs the reader, by his giant pectorals and his Pentecostal church. “He loved the pastor, the people, the worship,” she writes. “He loved the teaching, the service programs, the bake sales. It was clear to me that this church was an expression of his core values. If I was to keep dating him, I would need to see what it was all about.” The author also covers a lot of other territory in her memoir—life as an English teacher; her breast cancer; the vast differences between Pentecostals and Mennonites, the religion she grew up with; her family relationships; her hot new romance; and her new relationship with God—and her peppy enthusiasm almost bounds off the page. Some readers, however, may grow tired of the author’s continuously emphatic tone or her constant attempts to appear slightly naughty by divulging topics good girls would not discuss. Also, she makes entirely too much use of the exclamation point—e.g., “If Lazarus was peacefully rotting there in the tomb and if at the sound of Jesus’s voice, he up and trotted out—well, miraculous! He left death and disease behind, yay! Stank hath no hold on him!”
A welcome second installment for readers who enjoyed Janzen’s first memoir. Others may want to turn elsewhere.