I have a passion for both memoirs and religious stories, so it seemed like Mennonite in a Little Black Dress was written for me. Yet the overall narrative left me cold.

The author, Rhoda Janzen, has had an interesting and occasionally tragic life. And she chronicles it all with a humor and good cheer that really helps to pull the reader in. But the book loses steam as she goes off on tangents and random anecdotes while living back in her parents’ Mennonite community.

Janzen is at her best when chronicling the absurd or the melodramatic moments in her life, yet without a clear through-line in her narrative, the book left me feeling unfulfilled.