I‘m happy to say that I met my countdown goal of reading two books this month…although I didn’t enjoy the first one (The Chocolate Bridal Bash) so much, I had a great time reading Bitter Is the New Black by Jen Lancaster.
I didn’t know too much about Lancaster before reading this…I had seen her blog Jennsylvania (particularly her response to the Marie Claire “fatties” post from October 2010 [if you happen to be unfamiliar with this stories, just Google "Marie Claire" and "Should Fatties Get a Room?" and you're in for lots of reading!]). Between that post and how the titles of her books (My Fair Lazy; Such a Pretty Fat; Bright Lights, Big Ass) make me laugh and smirk I figured chances were I’d enjoy this book.
So, Bitter Is the New Black is the story of how high-powered, extremely well-paid, me, me, me, did I mention me? Jen loses her job in the aftermath of the economic crashes after 9/11. She loses lots of things, but thankfully not her sense of humor (or outrage). Things look bleak, then they look really bleak, and start getting worse…and then….
Jen, as she portrays herself at the beginning is a little hard to take. The narcissism…the self-righteousness…the obsession with labels…, but her take on things isn’t necessarily wrong..and in a lot of ways it, um, resonates. I’ve also had the humiliating experience of being laid off from a job (well, “reduced in force”) and would go around in my unemployed haze coming across really unpleasant /unprofessional people and think, “Really? You have a job with that attitude and I came in to work one day only to be told to leave?” Yep…it stings. The passing years have made things better, but I know what a strange transition it is to go from 9-5 grinder to unemployed!
Of course, despite her harshness, Jen has some redeeming, even endearing qualities…her love for and support of her boyfriend/fiance/husband Fletch; her soft spot for the dogs she ends up taking in; her reaching out to the great world beyond by starting her website about being unemployed [and her list of companies that suck!]. She ends up somewhere very different from where she started…and with a lot more gratitude. Her story made me laugh (and shake my head, albeit with a little more empathy than I’d like to admit),
So, I do recommend Bitter Is the New Black and will be adding more Jen Lancaster books to my never ending list!
In other news…it still doesn’t feel like spring yet…but here’s a springy picture anyway…
Which writers can you relate to and why?
Are you somewhere where it’s behaving like spring yet?