According to an article in Gibson, the 70s was the greatest decade for rock n’ roll music for a multitude of reasons. A Complicated Kindness is a novel by Miriam Toews that takes place in the late 1970s. Despite rock n’ roll being banned in their strict Mennonite society, main character Nomi inherits a love for rock n’ roll music from her mother and her sister. Throughout the novel, rebellion is one of the most prevalent themes. Nomi, her mother and her sister all rebel against the Mennonite society in different ways. Although some Mennonite societies are not strict, in Nomi’s Mennonite society, located in East Village, there is a ban on the media, dancing, smoking, temperate climates, movies, drinking, having sex for fun, swimming, make-up, jewelry, playing pool, going to cities, stay up past nine and listening to rock n’ roll (Towes 5). However, Nomi is certainly not one to follow any of those rules.
Through her actions, she is constantly rebelling against the Mennonite society. She smokes and drinks, she wears a ton of makeup, by the end of the novel she has lost her virginity and she enjoys listening to rock n’ roll all the time. It seems that on almost every page Nomi is listening to music, talking about music or thinking about music. For Nomi, rock n’ roll is her therapy, her connection to the people she loves and a tool for rebellion against the authoritarian church and the Mennonite religion (A Complicated Playlist 1).
The Mennonites are a group of Anabaptists denominations influenced by the teachings and traditions of Menno Simons. The term Anabaptist describes someone who rejects infant baptism in favor of believer’s baptism (Anabaptists 1). Mennonites are a branch of the Christian church, with roots in the Protestant Reformation and have been around for almost 500 years. The first Mennonites came mainly from Swiss and German roots but today, you can find growing Mennonite congregations all over the United States