I always saw Jen Lancaster’s books on the shelf, but didn’t really know anything about them. Why were they in memoir? They looked like fiction. The covers were odd, but cool. They were in my line of vision, but a bit out of focus. Then I read a glowing review of Jen Lancaster’s memoir series and I began to understand why people loved them.
I went to amazon, looked through the opening sections of a few of her books and found them, by and large, unfunny. They seemed mean, they seemed harsh. I didn’t know if I would be able to (or want to) lose myself in that world. So, I didn’t pick up Bitter is the New Black for a while. I waited, letting the book sit in my mind. There were many times when I considered it, deeply, but I didn’t feel like spending ten bucks on something that might be a dud.
And then I decided to get it through paper back swap. That way, if I hated it, it would be no big deal. If I loved it, then I was golden.
My copy arrived in great condition and I began to read. At first, I was unsure whether or not I would be able to make it through the whole book. And then, seemingly as quick and easy as turning a page, I fell in love with Lancaster’s style, tone and storytelling ability. It snuck up on me, but when I fell in love with the book, I fell hard and loved every last word.
Bitter is the New Black tells the story of Lancaster’s tragic fall from being a high-earning member of Chicago business society, to unemployed job-seeker struggling to make ends meet. She tells a story that is funny, that is touching and that is relatable. While her tone comes across as sharp and mean at first, you realize that she wants you to see her as the diva. She slowly removes her tough-as-nails verneer as you experience her problems and her triumphs.
The book is hysterical not only because of the situations Lancaster gets herself into, but, more importantly, because of how she writes about them. She tells a story that shows embarrasing situations in a delightful way. You might think that you don’t want to read about someone being unemployed, but trust me, you want to read about Lancaster’s stint amongst the unemployed.
While there are more than a few cringe worthy episodes, Lancaster gets you to laugh at her stories and forget that they are cringey in the first place. The story twists and turns, making you feel like you are talking with your best friend along the way. It’s light, sure, but it’s fun. This is the perfect book to let yourself laugh and remind yourself to smile.
Looking for a last summer read (or the first read for fall, or a book to go get right now?) put Jen Lancaster’s Bitter Is the New Black at the top of your list.
Do you like memoir style books? Do you prefer serious ones or funny ones?