She applied the “Page 99 Test” to her new book, Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home, and reported the following:
I probably wouldn’t have picked page 99 [inset, below left, click to enlarge] as representative of my book, but hey, sometimes the meaning of life can be located in your sister’s closet. It’s huge, it has a variety of options, and the mirrors do not lie. In the corner at the back is a stack of mother-in-law sweaters, themed on snowflakes and elk. We’ve all been there. (“Elk! Frisking in a winter wonderland! Aren’t they adorable!”) And if you feel cosmically compelled to reminisce about a lame blind date twenty years prior, let it be so. In fact, while you’re at it, do a little imitation of the way that guy danced! Shake a tailfeather as you sing She’s a brick howwsse—owwww! Because that’s what we collectively do in times of crisis, is it not? Call me crazy, but engaging in off-topic badinage is just the ticket when your life’s in the pooper. Plus what says, “We will overcome!” better than a dress that makes your torso look weirdly square, like the Sphinx?Read "The Tractor Driver or the Pothead?" in the New York Times Magazine, an essay adapted from Mennonite in a Little Black Dress.
On this topic, I would like to add that in my small Midwestern town there used to be a consignment store called My Sister’s Secret. It was impossible to drive by without inserting a long list of Adjectives of Shame into the title—My Sister’s Nasty Shaved Powdered Secret, and so on. Why the proprietors selected a suggestive name like My Sister’s Secret I cannot say, but I feel in my heart that this title frames some quiet injunction to improve the human condition. Sister has a secret. It is in her closet. And if you go there and try on seventeen of her identical black dresses, you will doubtless feel better.
Learn more about Mennonite in a Little Black Dress at the publisher's website.