Author: Jen Lancaster

Book Review – The Tao of Martha by Jen Lancaster

July 23, 2013 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2013 0 Comments

Book Review – The Tao of Martha by Jen LancasterThe Tao of Martha: My Year of LIVING; Or, Why I'm Never Getting All That Glitter Off of the Dog by Jen Lancaster
Published by NAL on June 4th 2013
Pages: 335
Genres: Funny-ha-ha, Memoir, Non-Fiction
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Here I Go Again

two-half-stars

One would think that with Jen Lancaster’s impressive list of bestselling self-improvement memoirs—Bitter Is the New Black; Bright Lights, Big Ass; Such a Pretty Fat; Pretty in Plaid; My Fair Lazy; and Jeneration X—that she would have it all together by now.

One would be wrong.

Jen’s still a little rough around the edges. Suffice it to say, she’s no Martha Stewart. And that is exactly why Jen is going to Martha up and live her life according to the advice of America’s overachieving older sister—the woman who turns lemons into lavender-infused lemonade.

By immersing herself in Martha’s media empire, Jen will embark on a yearlong quest to take herself, her house, her husband (and maybe even her pets) to the next level—from closet organization to craft making, from party planning to kitchen prep.

Maybe Jen can go four days without giving herself food poisoning if she follows Martha’s dictates on proper storage....Maybe she can grow closer to her girlfriends by taking up their boring-ass hobbies like knitting and sewing.…Maybe she can finally rid her workout clothes of meatball stains by using Martha’s laundry tips.… Maybe she can create a more meaningful anniversary celebration than just getting drunk in the pool with her husband....again. And maybe, just maybe, she’ll discover that the key to happiness does, in fact, lie in Martha’s perfectly arranged cupboards and artfully displayed charcuterie platters.

‘…ready or not, happiness, here I come.’

Organization = happiness? That’s what Jen Lancaster has set out to prove. Her life is in dire need of some organization not just within her house but in her life in general and she thinks that in doing so she’ll be less stressful and have more happiness. She decides to emulate the Queen of Organization: Martha Stewart. The Tao of Martha is her personal accounting of incorporating Martha’s ideals into her daily life, both when it goes right and when it goes horribly wrong.

Having read all of Jen’s memoirs, it’s become a requirement to pick any new ones up even if they have steadily declined over the years. I’m thinking it’s a combination of lack of new material that’s actually worth writing about and a dramatic change in lifestyle from what we originally saw in her first memoir ‘Bitter is the New Black’. In ‘Bitter’, Jen is a much more relatable person as she’s struggling to survive as her and her husband both are unemployed. With each memoir she is slowly transforming into the person who talks only of her cleaning ladies, monumentally expensive landscaping plans and her shopping excursions to affluent stores that I couldn’t even afford to breathe the air of. While the writing still manages to sustain (somewhat) the snark that we’ve all come to know and love, the stories have become achingly superficial. Prime example:

‘Shoot, I haven’t even reserved an organic turkey yet! (“I’ll take ‘The Most OverPrivileged First-World Complain to Ever Be Uttered’ for a hundred, Alec!”)’

Admitting that you’re being shallow still doesn’t make it funny.

While there were a few laugh out loud moments, I found the majority of ‘Tao’ to be incredibly boring. Early in the beginning there’s a 7+ page accounting of her cleaning her desk which includes an itemized description of everything she had stored from over the years. (Considering she just moved/bought her house a few years ago, all this excessive garbage she dragged to the new house makes it even less funny. Like the broken wine glass shards. Really?) One thing I’ve always loved about her memoirs is how each chapter is a story in and of itself but in ‘Tao’, again, wondering if she was just running out of material, there were several stories that lacked any sort of point and entertainment value (and a few stories that were entirely way too personal and included info I would rather just not know). Like the chapter where we receive entirely way too much info regarding her digestive system. Or the chapter where she discusses her massive love for zucchini for several pages. Or the bit how she’s attempting to figure out why her roses are dying when her friend points out that she probably shouldn’t be watering them with a high pressure hose (duh?)

While the funnies were lacking in consistency, this was still a fun and easy read that also managed to teach me a few things:
-15 pounds of Easter candy for 9 kids = bad math.
-When gardening make sure you don’t wear your older underwear so ticks can’t crawl up and attach themselves to your lady-parts.
-If I start stocking up on emergency rations, six jars of marshmallow fluff is not essential.
-If my doctor ever prescribes me Ambien, I’m chaining myself to the bed.

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Early Review – Here I Go Again by Jen Lancaster

January 3, 2013 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2012 4 Comments

I received this book free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review – Here I Go Again by Jen LancasterHere I Go Again by Jen Lancaster
Published by NAL on January 29th 2013
Pages: 320
Genres: Chick-Lit, Contemporary, Funny-ha-ha
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: The Tao of Martha: My Year of LIVING; Or, Why I'm Never Getting All That Glitter Off of the Dog

four-stars

Hilarious new fiction from the New York Times bestselling author of Bitter Is the New Black and If You Were Here .

Twenty years after ruling the halls of her suburban Chicago high school, Lissy Ryder doesn't understand why her glory days ended. Back then, she was worshipped...beloved...feared. Present day, not so much. She's been pink-slipped from her high-paying job, dumped by her husband, and kicked out of her condo. Now, at thirty-seven, she's struggling to start a business out of her parents' garage and sleeping under the hair-band posters in her old bedroom.

Lissy finally realizes karma is the only bitch bigger than she was. Her present is miserable because of her past. But it's not like she can go back in time and change who she was...or can she?

Lissy Ryder is that kind of girl in school that is super popular and you can’t help but love/hate her. I know we all went to school with at least one Lissy-type. Her 20-year high school reunion is coming up and shortly before, everything about her life seems to falling apart at the seams. She’s kicked out of her swanky gym for not paying the fees, she gets fired from her job and her husband just asked her for a divorce.

Choosing not to wallow and instead pick herself up and go to her reunion she discovers that the people from high school don’t love her as much as they used. Actually? They pretty much hate everything about her. But what can she do? It’s not like she can change the past or anything… right?

I can’t help but love Jen Lancaster. I’ve followed her on Twitter and on her blog for years, I’ve read all of her memoirs, and she’s one seriously hilarious lady. But in ‘Here I Go Again’ I felt that her sense of humor really shined through in a whole new refreshing kind of way.

I loved pretty much everything about the book. 80’s references were strewn throughout (mainly regarding the big hair bands) and being a personal lover of the 80’s (and big hair bands) this was incredibly fun. I loved the cast of characters that were so completely hilarious, although Deva and her quirkiness was my favorite. But what made this most enjoyable was the fact that Lissy’s ‘change’ into a better person after realizing how wrong she was in the past was truly genuine. The time travel bit was goofy but completely intentional. Did it make a whole lot of sense? No. Was it supposed to? No. But was it entertaining? Absolutely.

Jen managed to write an extremely multi-layered story that was hilarious and incredibly enjoyable. Normally with these stories there’s always the picture perfect happy ending, but in ‘Here I Go Again’, well, as Lissy would say:

‘Karma really is a bitch.’

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