"Does This Church Make Me Look Fat?: A Mennonite Finds Faith, Meets Mr. Right, and Solves Her Lady Problems," by Rhoda Janzen. Grand Central, 253 pp. $24.99
Church, in Rhoda Janzen's mind, was a solemn affair. Raised a Mennonite, she associated praise and worship with artfully-harmonized hymns and peace-emphasized messages from the pulpit.
What she received alongside Mitch, the man she would marry, was the Pentecostal life, complete with healing services, tongue-speaking, and "long, noisy worship sessions in which everybody shouted the song lyrics."
Though not related to church-going or love, Janzen also found a Lady Problem, in the form of breast cancer.
"Does This Church Make Me Look Fat" focuses on her relationships, both with God, with Mitch and with Mitch's family. After they're married, Janzen moves in with Mitch, his father and his 16-year-old son.
Janzen honestly shares her experience with her cancer, its treatments, and the life she inherited when she married her "Mr. Right." Coupled with the honesty, however, is the humor that helped to make her previous book, "Mennonite in a Little Black Dress" so successful.
What's most powerful about this book is her unnerving faith. In her chapter on tithing, she shares her experience on tithing regularly and what she recognizes as blessings from God.
Janzen's faith is deep, though it's also palpable. She doesn't write necessarily for inspiration, but rather from inspiration. Her faith is grounded, and it's refreshing to hear the stories of an everyday person and everyday blessings, without the mysterious divine interventions that usually make the news.