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Does This Church Make Me Look Fat?: A Mennonite Finds Faith, Meets Mr. Right, and Solves Her Lady Problems Hardcover – October 2, 2012
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"Breezy despite the weighty subject matter... Janzen's wit and love of fashion keep things light, but her conversion to Pentecostalism after a miraculous return to health sends the book into serious seekers' territory."―People (Three Stars)
"A hilarious account of the small details that make a life. . . Readers from all backgrounds will be inspired by Janzen's tale of love and faith told with her trademark wit and honesty."―Booklist
"Janzen is the kind of writer-world-weary yet incredulous; girlfriend-esque and conversational-that draws you along through a story with ease...[Does This Church Make Me Look Fat] would fit naturally on a shelf, say, next to your collection of beat-up Anne Lamott paperbacks. It has that same sort of accessibility to it; that same sort of acceptance."―Charity Vogel, The Buffalo News
"Given the gravity of the subjects-cancer and religious conversion-Janzen gave herself an enormous challenge. Could she maintain her hallmark comic voice in the midst of suffering and transformation? The answer is yes, and that is no small accomplishment... The excitement of discovery is palpable in this book."
―Shirley Hershey Showalter, Christian Century
"Smart and witty.... Janzen has a remarkable ability to demystify religion through humor and humanity."―Susanne Jaffe, The Columbus Dispatch
"Amazingly light-hearted... [Janzen] is not so much proselytizing for her particular religion as she is pointing toward the value of examining one's own beliefs, whatever they might be, and finding a way to live with them in joy."―Colette Bancroft, Tampa Bay Times
"A delight for fans of [Janzen's] warm, wisecracking style.... Her enthusiasm and spirit and knack for finding humor in the God details make this book a crowd-pleaser."―Hannah Sampson, The Miami Herald
"A very funny writer. . . . A heartfelt memoir that is both hilarious and inspiring."―Great Day Houston
"[A] vibrant, charming narrative."―Publishers Weekly
"Does This Church Make Me Look Fat? made me laugh out loud, often enough to make my beloved children inquire as to whether I was losing my mind. Too much spiritual writing these days claims that religious practice is about healing or developing the self. But Rhoda Janzen avoids this theme: here she sets out on a path to become more loving, grateful, and helpful to others. This is particularly impressive given that she's writing about a period in her life when she's got a scary, life-threatening illness, and a brand-new family. Bravo, Rhoda-or rather, 'Thank God!'"―Kate Braestrup, author of Here if You Need Me and Beginner's Grace
"Rhoda Janzen is one of the few people I trust to write about faith without using God to clobber me. She writes about the most serious things in the world-life, death, family, love-with such spot-on honesty, spiritual humility, and disarming humor that I would follow her anywhere. The nicest thing I can say about her new book is that it made me want to be a better person. It is that good."―Barbara Brown Taylor, author of An Altar in the World and Leaving Church
"Paul Shaffer, the noted theologian/TV sidekick, once said that if God is the ultimate being, he must have the ultimate sense of humor. To which I add, Rhoda Janzen is not far behind. This is one funny book. Not to mention thought-provoking and touching."―AJ Jacobs, author of The Year of Living Biblically
Praise for Mennonite in a Little Black Dress:
"It is rare that I literally laugh out loud while reading, but Rhoda Janzen's voice--singular, deadpan, sharp-witted and honest--slayed me."―Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love
"I loved this book, and Rhoda Janzen. She is a terrific, pithy, beautiful writer, a reliable, sympathetic narrator and a fantastically good sport."―Kate Christensen, The New York Times Book Review
"Hilarious and touching."―People (four stars)
"A hilarious collection of musings on Janzen's childhood, marriage, and eccentric family... Janzen mines Mennonite culture for comic effect, but she does so with love."
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Rhoda Janzen grew up in a small Mennonite community, a childhood she chronicled in her earlier memoir, Mennonite in a Little Black Dress. An academic from the moment she was able to leave her community, Janzen spent many years as a student of skepticism, well versed in all the ways Christian religion (and the Bible itself!) minimizes women, beggars science, and causes people to believe, say, that giant fish actually swallow up seafaring prophets.
Then she meets Mitch, a former foul-mouthed, gun-toting drug dealer who got cleaned up by Jesus and became as soft-spoken, gentle, and caring a person as anyone could wish for (though he still totes guns). They begin to date, and Janzen is persuaded to go to Mitch's church. It is not the kind of church Janzen grew up in: it's a feel-the-spirit, lay-on-hands, praise-the-Lord Pentecostal church. Janzen is hesitant at first, and--of course--skeptical, but as time goes on and she becomes more absorbed into both the church community and a growing personal faith, she begins to discover a side of life she hasn't seen before. It includes a new spirit of generosity, a freedom from anxiety, and, yes, a few strange coincidences that are difficult to explain.
Easily the most attractive thing about Janzen as a narrator is her willingness to embrace ambiguity. While "Does This Church...?" is, in some sense, a testimony, it is not an altar call. Janzen never presents her experience as normative or final, or insinuate that everyone ought to join a Pentecostal congregation.Read more ›
In her earlier offering, the bestselling MENNONITE IN A LITTLE BLACK DRESS, we learned that Rhoda is an irreverent, intelligent, sarcastic, soul-searching, conflicted, comedic God-person without a congregation to call home. In this sequel, she will find human love with a guy named Mitch, "a Jesus-nail-necklace-wearing manly man, whose hands were so huge they ripped his jeans pockets," an unlikely choice of sweetheart for a cerebral poet/professor. Rhoda fled the restrictive religion of her birth, only to run into the Mack truck of Christian denominations: Mitch's Pentecostal Holiness faith.
On an early "date," Mitch, who has a teenage son, Leroy, and a nephew named Stealth ("after the bomber") takes Rhoda to a healing service at his church, where she is bemused by parishioners being cured of such ailments as "throwing up a lot" and "lady problems." Soon after, she learns that she has a highly invasive form of breast cancer (lady problem) and will need chemo (throwing up a lot). The friendly Pentecostals tell her that God "has her back," and she is anointed with oil by the concerned pastor.
Then follows the saga of her slow-growing love affair with Mitch and her fast-growing cancer. Throughout even the worst days, Mitch insists, "I'm the right man for this," devotedly accompanying her to her grueling chemo sessions and helping her choose a wig, or, in clinical language, a "cranial prosthesis.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I hate to give such a low ranking, as I loved Janzen's first book, but this book is nothing short of terrible. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Angela
She is an excellent writer and shares reality with an enjoyable amount of humor.Published 3 months ago by Alvin Campbell
I enjoyed this book, but I was expecting something with more humor. She's a great writer though and I will continue to read her work whenever I can.Published 6 months ago by Julia Julia Thigpen
This book has it all
The genuine tone and faith shines through. Read more
This is a beautifully written account of a journey back to faith. It's imperfect and irreverent and truly inspiring. And, perhaps most importantly, hysterical. Read morePublished 9 months ago by BigReader
This book was both laugh-out-loud funny and thought provoking. I'm nowhere near Pentecostal, but it doesn't matter. Read morePublished 12 months ago by GnJ
Meh...I liked her first mennonite book so much more. Too much of it is of her relationship with this guy, which is probably only really interesting to them...Published 14 months ago by Joanne