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Bitter is the New Black: Confessions of a Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self-Centered Smartass, Or, Why You Should Never Carry A Prada Bag to the Unemployment Office Paperback – March 7, 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: NAL Trade; Later Printing edition (March 7, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780451217608
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451217608
  • ASIN: 0451217608
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (594 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #60,025 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

It doesn't take Lancaster long to live up to her lengthy subtitle ("Confessions of a Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self-Centered Smart-Ass, or Why You Should Never Carry a Prada Bag to the Unemployment Office"): in just one chapter, she gloats over cheating a homeless man, is rude to a waitress and passes judgment on all of her co-workers (including her "whore" best friend). She's almost gleeful about lacking "the internal firewall that keeps us from saying almost everything we think," but she doesn't come off as straightforward, just malicious. (Of course, it's possible she's making up much of her dialogue, which is a little too clever to be believable.) Lancaster expects sympathy for her downward slide after getting fired from her high-paying finance job in the post-9/11 recession, and chick lit fans may be entertained watching life imitate fiction, but just when you start to feel sorry for her, the snotty attitude returns. In later chapters, Lancaster increasingly relies on entries from her blog (www.jennsylvania. com) and caustic replies to criticisms, and though things start looking up—her husband finds a job, she lands a book deal—it's not clear that she's been as chastised by her experiences as she claims. (Mar. 7)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Jen Lancaster is the author of Bitter is the New Black. She has lived in Chicago for ten years with her husband and pets, and has yet to get the hang of the subway or returning library books in a timely manner. Visit www.jennsylvania.com

More About the Author

Jen Lancaster is a former vice president at an investor relations firm and a New York Times bestselling author.

Customer Reviews

Jen Lancaster's books make me literally laugh out loud!
Chiquita1820
The first 30 or 40 pages of this book really annoyed me, and I almost stopped reading it.
HLK1999
If stupid people get on your nerves, this book will make you feel better.
J. T. Florence

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

98 of 107 people found the following review helpful By Kara J. Jorges VINE VOICE on September 5, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is the story of the downfall and subsequent growing up of a spoiled brat. Jen Lancaster is a vice president at Corp. Com., working insane hours and bringing home an insanely huge paycheck for it. She and her devoted boyfriend Fletch live in an uber-trendy loft in an "it" neighborhood in Chicago, unconcerned about paying through the nose for rent since they both bring home fat paychecks. Jen has a very expensive salon habit and an even more expensive shopping habit, and one of the reasons she has held off marrying Fletch is that he can't afford the size rock she wants.

It all comes crashing down one day when Jen gets downsized. It's a tough economy, and in the 22 months it takes to land a new job, she learns about not taking anything for granted. When Fletch also gets laid off, they get perilously close to having to move in with her parents, and she starts to examine her silly spending habits.

Jen is a selfish, unsympathetic character who can be downright mean, but I have to admit she's funny, and while I wouldn't actually say the things she says to people, I was right there with her on her train of thought. There were times I wondered why Fletch stood by her, but mostly I just want to know where to find a guy like him. He weathers her constant tantrums without batting an eye, and when times got really tough, I admired Jen and Fletch's ability to stick together and support one another.

What I really liked about this novel was that though Jen had to learn some hard lessons and rearrange her priorities, the experience didn't change who she was inside. Though she learned not to blow wads of money on senseless things, and learned some respect for menial jobs, she didn't lose her mean streak.
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105 of 120 people found the following review helpful By Marion VINE VOICE on May 8, 2006
Format: Paperback
My best friend, Sonja, (bless her generous heart) gave me this book after she read it and highly recommended it. I have to say it was even funnier than she said it was.

Jen (NOT JENNY) is one of the most loveable, egocentric, witty characters I have ever read about. The fact that it's a memoir is even better! She cusses a blue streak and comes up with awesome one-liners. When she called herself, "Carbohydate Barbie" I cracked up and could totally relate. Jen loses her high paying corporate job and must (gasp) even sell her Kate Spade shoes on Ebay before all is said and done. Her man, Fletch, is a baby doll and true blue friend. The account of their wedding in Las Vegas (where, unfortunately a porn convention was being held at the same time) was my favorite part.

If you're tired of the same old chick lit [...], get this refreshing book. Jen is an inspiring, creative survivor. I look forward to more books from her.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Nathaniel on June 4, 2012
Format: Paperback
I spent the better part of this book hating Jen Lancaster. Excluding the few times that the story was actually funny or charming (see: scheduling wedding during Porn Expo) she is rampantly narcissistic, selfish, unrealistic, classist, and not-so-implicitly racist. Now, you could say "well look at the title! she admits she's egomaniacal, etc." Yeah, but it's not charming or self-deprecating humor. It's grating. You sort of expect a redemption story out of this based on the title, and we kind of get there, but not really. Things get better, as does she, but the severe lack of self-reflection (other than "why did I buy so many purses?!?!") keeps this from being the charming fall-from-grace story it could be. She's still possesses all of those terrible qualities by the end of the book, but they're muted by her inability to express them through spending power.
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36 of 43 people found the following review helpful By A. Kennedy on August 16, 2007
Format: Paperback
Part of the reason I picked up this book was a quippy little review that said: "Jen Lancaster is like David Sedaris with pearls and a supercute handbag." Usually I try to avoid purchasing decisions based on marketing ploys that follow the line of 'if you like X, you'll love Z', but I AM a Sedaris lover, and I WAS in the mood for a laugh-out-loud funny read, and to that end Mr. Sedaris has never disappointed. But someone owes Mr. Sedaris an apology. The comparison is so far off-base, I think I would have rather spent the afternoon reading 200+ pages of Mr. Sedaris' thoughts ABOUT pearls and handbags, rather than Bitter is the New Black. Most of the major flaws of the book and the writing style have already been covered by other reviewers. Yes, Jen Lancaster is not nearly as amusing, witty, or clever as she thinks she is. Much of what we're supposed to consider humorous seems simply to be re-worked jokes and tired stereotypes we've all seen and heard before. Has this narrator really changed by the end of the book? Where are the moments of introspection, of realization that make us understand she's changed? The moments of true regret that finally win us over to her side, make us actually like and root for her, make us forget how jaw-grindingly irritating she is in the beginning? She never seems to dig deep enough, never goes beyond the obvious, never reveals enough of herself, or shares her true vulnerability with the reader to redeem herself, and thus, we don't really care all that much about her and instead tend to simply agree with the blurb on the book's cover: The [...] had it coming. Indeed.Read more ›
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