Mennotoba Reads ‘The Best of the Bonnet’

Things are about to get personal here!

Sometimes I talk about books I have read or am reading. (Many of my reviews do not appear on this blog, but rather, in Heritage Posting, published by the Manitoba Mennonite Historical Society.) Since I’m not an educated scholar and I’m given to disjointed, impulsive, enthusiastic momentum, I generally just give you my thoughts, straight-up. This’ll be the same!

Over Christmas Break, I’ve been reading The Best of the Bonnet, by the wonderful, the hilarious, the sardonic Andrew Unger (a.k.a. my husband). In the midst of my reading, I’ve stepped out to visit downtown Steinbach shops for necessities and often end up briefly chatting with store owners and other shoppers, who often end up telling me what they think of this very book. One conversation has stuck with me, because she’d mentioned leaving social media to better manage anxiety (I think we all can relate) but one result is that she hasn’t always seen all the new Daily Bonnet posts. However, she’d prefer to read them off-screen, so holding The Best of the Bonnet in her hands and reading its paper pages has been restful for her. I concur!

I often read Daily Bonnet posts over Andrew’s shoulder as he writes them at the computer. To sit in my favourite armchair, book in hand, is a completely different, very welcome experience. I took a few notes while I read. You may read them over my shoulder!

Articles Andrew has written directly about me: 

Mennonite Woman Buys Back Her Own Clothes at the MCC Store
I buy from and donate to the local MCC thrift shop in an endless cycle and remarked to Andrew that I seemed to be buying back my old clothes because I don’t always recognize them on the racks at the local thrift store, yet they continue to appeal to me. He quietly went and wrote this article, even naming the character “Erin”. Zing!

20-Year-Old Spinster Gives Up On Marriage
When we got married, Andrew was 22 and I was 24 — an age that any respectable Mennonite woman ought to be well on her way to grandmotherhood. Not I! Having remained successfully single “for so long”, when people encountered our engagement announcement, many blurted in surprise that they honestly didn’t think it would happen for me at this point. (Yes, really.) I told Andrew this story and… now we have this Daily Bonnet article to enjoy. Ha!

Mennonite Couple Comes Late to Church and Hast to Settle for Front Row
Sadly, we struggle with showing up on time. Does this article absolve us?

Manitoba Family Still Smelling Strongly of Chlorine a Week After Grand Forks Visit
Like many other Southern Manitoba Mennonites, our family has spent a weekend at the C’mon Inn in Grand Forks. This hotel is known for its generous sprinkling of hot tubs throughout. There’s also a pool that our nieces and nephews convinced us to jump into… and I don’t think we’ve ever encountered that much chlorine at once. If you’ve been, you know.

Articles that made me laugh so hard I cried: 

‘Winkler Humility’ March Offers Stark Contrast to ‘Morden Pride’

6 Hospitalized After Jesus Takes the Wheel

LGBT Church Opens Doors in Southeastern Manitoba

Mennonite Woman’s ‘Abstinence in a Pan’ Declared Worst Dessert at Church Bake Sale

Articles that MUST be read out loud to share and enhance the hilarity: 

Friesen Woman to Become Froese

Mourners Devastated After Mennonite Funeral Runs Short on Raisin Buns

Local Man Peter Penner Picks a Peck of Pickled Peppers
This is one of the first Daily Bonnet articles Andrew wrote. I read it over his shoulder as he sat at the computer and it sent me into absolute hysterics. Tears were streaming down my face. I couldn’t speak. I could hardly breathe. My stomach hurt. I could NOT stop laughing. Every time I tried to stop, I’d glimpse the article and burst into laughter all over again. So stupid, but so good.

Articles that cut deep:

Mennonite Man Leaves Record $0.10 Tip at Local Diner
Possibly Andrew’s most sarcastic post yet.

Gossip Masquerades as ‘Prayer Request’ Yet Again This Sunday
I love it when the Daily Bonnet goes for the jugular like this. Bonnet at its best!

Steinbach City Council Approves Plan to Move Entire Population to Mennonite Heritage Village
The article that started it all, written on Andrew’s personal blog, it was abruptly shared with thousands (something that had never happened before). He was letting ’em have it, haha. This post is included at the very end of The Best of the Bonnet, in Andrew’s genuine reflections. Maximum sass, here.

Okay, that’s all I’m gonna say for now. Reading The Best of the Bonnet of the holidays has been restful and fun at the same time… and of course oddly personal due to my relationship with the author 🙂

I can’t imagine there are any Mennotoba readers that haven’t picked up this worthwhile volume, but if you’re one of the holdouts, well… you can find your next new favourite book at McNally Robinson or the Mennonite Heritage Village.

P.S. Bonus points if, upon reading The Best of the Bonnet, you instinctively know which articles are entirely new and have never been published online!

(Featured photo: my point-of-view as I read and ferschluke. Also nope we don’t have a fireplace — that’s our TV, haha.)