Reading Mennonite in a Little Black Dress for ninety minutes this morning while waiting for the pseudoephedrine to kick in* I find that it shares a key factor with the escape from FDLS memoirs with which it otherwise has so little in common: it tells the reader almost nothing about the religious beliefs and practices of Mennonites. Obviously books about escaping the FDLS tell one nothing about the religious beliefs and practices of Mennonites, either, but nor do they tell you anything about the religious beliefs and practices of the FLDS, with the exception of polygamy and spiritual headship (I think they mention the latter - it's a while since I read them). This is really annoying. I am not particularly interested in a book about a woman's marital breakdown and car accident as a result of which she goes home to a family that I can only assume she wants us to think of as a bit "kooky", a word I have never previously used as a life, her mother's every action is presented as just so darn cute. I want to know what it is like to grow up in a very specific community, leave that community as an adult**, and find oneself returning, albeit as an outsider intending to stay that way. I want to know what Mennonites believe beyond that God is basically nice with some quirky features. I want to know if the FDLS, polygamy aside, generally have the same beliefs as "official" Mormons. In short, I would like books that are about life in a religious community to give me some detail of what the religion actually is. Otherwise its just a memoir about an idiosyncratic mid-Western USA family, not a subject I find of overwhelming interest.
*It has. I am now washed, dressed, breakfasted, and am going to be at work at a ridiculously early hour.
**Is it significant that both daughters leave and both sons remain?