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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
but I didn't. Love Jen, have read all of her books many times over... I grab Such a Pretty Fat and My Fair Lazy every time I need something to read but don't have a new book. I've downloaded them all to Kindle, as well, so that I can read them on the go. I wasn't sure I wanted to read her fiction novel because I love her memoirs sooo much, and thought I'd miss reading about Jen, Fletch and her family of critters... but the temptation got too much for me so I downloaded it to Kindle. Hate to say it, but I, too, was almost instantly disappointed. The name changes bugged me... Daisy for Maisy, Duckie for Loki, Tracy for Stacy and Agent Jack Bauer for Chuck Norris... I know it was meant to be obvious and ironic but I couldn't help wishing it was just Jen and Fletch and the dogs. Had a hard time getting through it... And as much as I love Jen, I hope she stops "rocking fiction" and just keeps writing about her fabulous life and interesting, funny, and creative friends.
On the plus side, her writing style is never disappointing and she's always funny. If I were new to her work I probably would have loved it, but for me, it was like watching a movie AFTER you've read the book. It's never the same, too many important things are changed, and you leave wishing Hollywood could just stick to an already wonderful story line.
I thought Bitter is the New Black was one of the funniest books I'd ever read. Laugh out loud funny. Bright Lights, Big Ass was less funny but still great and, hey, they can't all be great. Trouble is that each book was less funny. The books went from funny sarcastic to bitter and finally to just mean-spirited "nobody is as cool as me and mine."
I had high hopes for this novel because if you've read any of the author's books, you know she was personally heading to the 'burbs. This book is NOT funny. It's re-hash of remarks from previous books so you feel as if you've read something just like this but better before. I kept asking my self, "if everyone and everything in the suburbs is so damn awful, why are you there?"
Sadly, this book is a continuation of the downward spiral of Jen Lancaster's writing. I think she had 3 good books in her and this is her 5th. Time for her to re-group or retire and rest on her laurels.
I'll give this book 2 stars on the fact that I was able to finish it an didn't stop midway through.
This book was such a letdown for me!
I'm a huge Jen Lancaster fan, but she's been slowly losing me with her last couple of books. I didn't LOVE "Pretty in Plaid", and "My Fair Lazy" was better but still so-so. But this one has to be the worst. I was skeptical initially at Jen venturing into fiction, but I thought, oh this won't be so bad...she has an excellent writing style and I bet this can transition pretty well and be really funny. I bet she can carry it off!
But it just didn't work for me. I understand that sometimes a great way to venturing into fiction is to write about what you know, but Mia and Mac might as well be Jen and her husband with an exaggeration of details. When I read the synopsis of the book I thought I definitely can get into this having gone through some recent homeownership woes myself, but I found myself rolling my eyes at some of the things that happen to Mia and Mac.
I've also been a fan of Jen's footnotes in her novels, but here they felt amiss. I didn't buy this book on my kindle for the purpose of wanting to be able to read the footnotes hassle free, but where with her nonfiction I feel it always added a little something to the novel, here I felt it took away from the novel.
I would have rather read this book as nonfiction Jen and Fletch story. I couldn't find anything likable about Mia or Mac.
If I were to recommend a Jen Lancaster book for a new fan, I'd definitely recommend one of her earlier nonfictions, like "Bitter".
I was really disappointed in this book. I've been a fan of Jen's since her first book. I always laugh out loud and read the books multiple times. I did not enjoy this book. It was odd because after reading her other books the characters are clearly her and her husband just with different names. The book is not as humorous as her former books. The plot drags on and it takes several chapters to get to the point. I really hope Jen returns to nonfiction. It's where she belongs.
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My wife laughed out loud at this book so I gave it a shot, but found myself hung up on a lot of details. I know the story is exaggerated irony, but I just didn't buy the way the characters interacted. I found the husband and wife to be too naive and foolish to be believable in how they reacted to the tagging of their home and most of the story lines to be exaggerated sorts of suburban male/female stereo-archetypes.
As additional, more dislikable characters were introduced, I found the husband and wife more tolerable. There were a lot of little funny scenes that rang true like the husband's interminable visits to Home Depot in search of a light bulb and the wife's lawn mowing adventure through their pet's minefield in the tall grass, but having been through all of this myself, I was annoyed that these two seem to pass through crazy situations with little or no real consequences--as if the writing was simply a means to propel the reader from one bit of humorous exaggeration to the next. I thought of my own "material" and how reality is even funnier than these contrived situations.
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