Does This Church Make Me Look Fat?: A Mennonite Finds Faith, Meets Mr. Right, and Solves Her Lady Problems. By Rhoda Janzen.
I recently was sent this book for review and for the most part I have to say that I really enjoyed it. It centers around a former Mennonite who is struggling to make sense of her life after divorce, post-religion and during a bout of breast cancer. What does it mean to give church a try when you haven't really tried since you were twelve? At the end of her bestselling memoir Mennonite in a Little Black Dress,
Rhoda Janzen had reconnected with her family and her roots, but she was still having issues with faith. This book tells how she began dating a churchgoer, and went from being a skeptic to taking a surprising journey in faith and love.
The protagonist Rhoda left the Mennonite church in her last book. She doesn't slide back into the serious and simple ways of her past, but instead finds herself hanging with the Pentecostals. She is surprised and confused by this sect of people who get down with sparkler pom-poms. Though she is troubled by the hand waving and hallelujahs of this new faith, Rhoda finds path that enriches her life. This comes just when she needs its, since she will face the most dire of medical problems along with the love of a lifetime all in the space of a few months. She meets the man of her dreams, and his strength, faith and loyalty change how she looks at love, life, and the faith she longs for.
Does This Church Make Me Look Fat? is
for people who find they can't agree with organized religion, but still believe in God. If you find yourself praying but wondering who is listening, if you long for something...anything...that will help you to believe in it all, then this story
of what it means to find joy in love, comfort in prayer, is for you.
My only criticism of this book is that the author comes across as extremely intelligent but sometimes condescending in her writing. There were many sentences contained within this book that struck me as unnecessary, because the author used uncommon and extremely large words to describe something. I find that makes this book unreadable for many unless they hold a dictionary in their other hand at the same time. So my advice would be, if you don't have an above average vocabulary and will be frustrated trying to decipher many of the words in this book, you may want to skip it in favor of less sesquipedalian (see what I mean!) writers.
Rhoda Janzen holds a PhD from the University of California, Los Angeles,
where she was the University of California Poet Laureate in 1994 and
1997. She is the author of Babel's Stair, a collection of poems, and her
poems have also appeared in Poetry, The Yale Review, The Gettysburg
Review, and The Southern Review. She teaches English and creative
writing at Hope College in Holland, Michigan.
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