Are you wondering what happened to Indie Monday? I read two indie books over the weekend, and neither were good or bad enough to review. I am reaching back into the vault for this review of a book that I truly hated. I wonder if, like me, you read this memoir and marveled at how it made the NYT Bestseller List. This memoir highlights that the list is based on sales and not quality.
Publication Date: March 7, 2006
Bitter is the New Black By Jen Lancaster, Jen was living the high life until she lost her job and her man and could no longer afford the things that had previously defined her. What would this narcissist do in a bad economy and with a horrible disposition to restore herself to her previous glory?
That I didn’t hate this character (or the real person, I should say) as much as I expected to is a testament to just how much I expected to hate her. Anyone working in the RL knows someone like this. She is defined by what she wears, her position and knows EVERYTHING. You leave her every day thinking it must be great to be she and be so sure about everything no matter how wrong she always proves to be. At the start of the story, Jen is nothing short of an entitled, self- absorbed, mega-bitch and by the end, she hasn’t changed a whole lot.
Jen, herself, is unpleasant. She’s not someone I’d want to buddy up with in daily life and frankly, she probably wouldn’t want to buddy up with me. We’d annoy the crap out of each other. I cheered when another character that Jen thought not as good as herself stole a job from under Jen. With Jen’s “My need is so much more than your need” attitude, she would have done the same to the other person given the chance. Stealing a Coach briefcase, as she does early on, speaks of the lengths to which she goes to get what she wants and how she views the plight of others … if you have it and I THINK I need it — it should be mine. The more downtrodden people are, the funnier she finds them.
I have seen many reviews that laud the memoir as witty. The humor is so mean and degrading that I often found the memoir difficult to read. I did not want to be a party to the hurtful nature of her commentary. The memoir itself is written in Jen Lancaster’s voice so it does feel like a conversation — and one you just don’t want to be having.
In the end, this is the story of humility but not really a lesson learned. Jen does learn that she doesn’t need all the stuff she’s indulged herself with to define her. That having been said, she’s still a bitch and she still loves confrontation. I seriously dislike people who get joy out of making others feel bad and therefore, I seriously dislike Jen Lancaster. If you are itching for this kind of read, I would suggest the Shopaholic series by Sophie Kinsella whose novels are much better written and provide less of an urge to rip the pages.
Read an excerpt and buy Bitter is the New Black By Jen Lancaster on
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