A Feature Review of
Does This Church Make Me Look Fat? A Mennonite Finds Faith, Meets Mr. Right, and Solves Her Lady Problems
Reviewed by Meghan Florian
Those who read Rhoda Janzen’s first memoir, Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, might remember it as a story about coming home. At a turning point in her life, Janzen returned to her family’s home to put herself back together, and in so doing began to make a new kind of peace with her Mennonite roots. In Does This Church Make Me Look Fat? Janzen’s characteristic humor and wit are just as prevalent, even when the story of her life takes some less than funny turns.
If Mennonite in a Little Black Dress was about a returning to a childhood home and revisiting who you once were, then Does This Church Make Me Look Fat? is about learning how to be your adult self in new ways. It is about unfinished business. Janzen, who has not had much interest in practicing Christianity, finds herself back at home and begins dating a man named Mitch. Mitch is a Christian. But not just any Christian. This new boyfriend is Pentecostal, and attends the kind of church known for boisterous singing and dancing and speaking in tongues. If a woman who grew up Mennonite – singing four-part harmony and sitting politely in her pew – and who is now a somewhat religiously cynical scholar is going to find faith as an adult, this is not quite where one would expect it to happen.