It is official; Jen Lancaster now tops the list of living authors I would like to have a drink (or three) with. It’s like she’s taken the thoughts in my head and chewed them up and spit them out in a much, much funnier way.
I had heard about her books but it wasn’t until this year that I read anything of hers. J.P.’s parents bought me "Pretty in Plaid" this past Christmas. I don’t laugh out loud at books. I tend to find a person’s tone and delivery the funny part of the joke but this book has me laughing out loud for the first time ever. "Pretty in Plaid" is about Jen growing up basically from elementary school through her extended college years. In particular, I found Jen’s adventures as sorority rush chair utterly, devastatingly hilarious. Funny is true and this was dead on – right down to the memos to other members filled with exclamation points, smiley faces and passive aggressive orders.
After that, I went back a found her first book, "Bitter is the New Black." This follows Jen’s fall from the top of the corporate ladder and the beginnings of her writing career. Although, it was written about her bout with unemployment when the dot com burst at the end of the 1990s/early 2000s, it rang true for this later economic crisis. The great thing about Jen is that not only does she find humor in situations but she finds more humor in herself. This book is basically a mea culpa for all the wreckage she left in her wake for way too long. Karma is a bitch and totally hilarious.
Her latest book "My Fair Lazy" had me laughing out loud on the plane ride home from New York. I hadn’t planned on reading it in hard back but when I spied it at the airport bookstore; I knew it had to be mine, despite the airport mark up. This book finds Jen trying to expand her cultural horizons from the barrage of reality TV that she’s been addicted to. Jen’s adventures into the world of high culture provided even more fodder than her childhood. She has great insights into popular culture – I particularly loved her Pretty in Pink- Jake Ryan theories that lead to some embarrassing moments at an artsy cocktail party.
Jen Lancaster, in my mind, cements the old adage, if you don’t have anything nice to say, come sit next to me. And I would love to sit next to Ms. Lancaster.
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