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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Jen... Have You Been Reading My Mail?
I hesitated in buying this book thinking that going back to Jen's childhood could not be nearly as Snarky and hillarious as doing such adult things as pretending you have a homeowner's association and that you are the president. I saw that other readers didn't love this one as much, so that made me hesitate too. Boy, was I wrong and I'm so glad I read it.

I...
Published on June 30, 2009 by Sparkle

versus
19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hard to recommend
I have read all of Jen's books. Bitter was amazing! I told tons of people to read it and not one was disappointed. Pretty in Plaid sadly I will not be giving a hearty recommendation for. I agree with another review, chapter one was a gas! And there were moments of great stuff in this book, but not enough to make you want to turn the page. I am sad this book did not...
Published on May 24, 2009 by Elizabeth A. Hein


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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Jen... Have You Been Reading My Mail?, June 30, 2009
By 
Sparkle (Northern Virginia) - See all my reviews
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I hesitated in buying this book thinking that going back to Jen's childhood could not be nearly as Snarky and hillarious as doing such adult things as pretending you have a homeowner's association and that you are the president. I saw that other readers didn't love this one as much, so that made me hesitate too. Boy, was I wrong and I'm so glad I read it.

I found this book delightful and HILLARIOUS! Now, that could be because I think Jen and I are about the same age, with a very practical, middle class up-bringing, therefore have we have many of the same experiences and perspectives. If you are a child of the 70's & 80s and remember Kristy McNichol, Jordache Jeans, Polo shirts and Michael Jackson, you may relate too. She walks readers through her real first job and how she though she was RICH! Didn't we all? When you hit the 20k's in salary.. woo hoo!! until you have to pay rent and a car payment. Then the first time you heard people talking about "Their Lewie" - not know ing it wasn't a dog or an uncle, but a Louis (As in Louis Vuitton).

Jen feels like a Facebook friend I don't personally know very well, but because I read her posts and see her photos, I feel like we are BFFs. I think this book is worth the read. Just be prepared to remember who you were at that time. The entertainment lies not only in Jen's story, but who the reader was at that time in their own history.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hard to recommend, May 24, 2009
This review is from: Pretty in Plaid: A Life, a Witch, and a Wardrobe, or, the Wonder Years Before the Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self-Centered Smart-Ass Phase (Hardcover)
I have read all of Jen's books. Bitter was amazing! I told tons of people to read it and not one was disappointed. Pretty in Plaid sadly I will not be giving a hearty recommendation for. I agree with another review, chapter one was a gas! And there were moments of great stuff in this book, but not enough to make you want to turn the page. I am sad this book did not live up to my Jen standard. Read her first two, maybe her third but take a pass on this one.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Funny, but not "wet your pants" funny, June 10, 2009
If I hadn't read Jen's other books and nearly put myself into a coma with laughing, I would think this was hilarious. In comparison, it's just OK. It's still worth buying and reading, but I just like her adult books better. The memoir stuff is all right, but the timeline fast-forwarded at the end and felt disjointed.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Plaid Not Her Color, September 2, 2009
This review is from: Pretty in Plaid: A Life, a Witch, and a Wardrobe, or, the Wonder Years Before the Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self-Centered Smart-Ass Phase (Hardcover)
The publisher got greedy and the author got lazy. (Success can do that to you.) With the triumph of three books, someone got itchy to make some more dough and I guess a prequel sounded like a good idea, as well as a surefire moneymaker.
JL's grammar and high school years are a bore. It also reads like she made it up -- so much for the memoir part.
The book gets going more than half way through when JL goes to college, but didn't really capture my interest until the story about the yellow argyle sweater. That is class Jen.
The stories of her professional life don't hold a candle to her temp stories from the second book.
Then the book just sort of ends with..."and you know the rest...Bitter Is The New Black...blah, blah, blah."
I understand she has three more books in the works. I hope she puts effort back into those.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another hit for Jen., May 17, 2009
By 
I picked up Jen's first book, Bitter is the New Black, about a year and a half ago. It was funny and witty and made me want to read more. So I read the next book, and started following her blog. Then Such a Pretty Fat came, and Jen hit the New York Times Bestseller list.

This book follows her through her childhood to young adulthood, to place her as an uncomfortable teenager defining herself through a certain size of a certain brand, or a child being made fun of for her accent and too-fancy clothes on her first day at a new school.

Jen Lancaster is a funny, charmingly bitchy woman, who I would love to have drinks with. If anybody reads this review and has the opportunity to meet her on her book tour, DO IT. She's great in person. I met her in Atlanta, and my sister and I had a great time.

My only complaint about this book is that it doesn't translate fantastically to Kindle. The footnotes do not display on the bottom of the page; instead, you have to scroll through and click. I went out and bought a hardcover copy instead.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Eh., June 15, 2009
This review is from: Pretty in Plaid: A Life, a Witch, and a Wardrobe, or, the Wonder Years Before the Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self-Centered Smart-Ass Phase (Hardcover)
I'm a huge fan of Jan Lancaster, but I totally agree with what's been written here. Definitely not her best work. Still funny at points, but I don't feel like she went 100% with this one.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Love Jen, but this book was just okay for me, May 25, 2009
This review is from: Pretty in Plaid: A Life, a Witch, and a Wardrobe, or, the Wonder Years Before the Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self-Centered Smart-Ass Phase (Hardcover)
I'm a big fan of Jen and I have all her previous books, follow her blog, and laugh hysterically at things she writes. That being said, I ran out to buy this book as soon as I could and it took me a lot longer to finish than her previous ones. Her previous ones I had great difficulty putting down, this one I'd put down and wouldn't feel impatient to pick it up again.

Don't mistake me, this book wasn't bad and it was an easy read. It got better for me as it went along, but it lacked a lot of the laughter of previous books. Her traveling through the decades of her life was fine but some parts were just not very exciting or entertaining. Her early life wasn't as exciting, for me, until we got through the 80's.

Jen's writing is great and I'm a big fan of the footnotes which have been constant in all her books, but if I were to recommend a Jen book I'd recommend her previous ones before I recommend PIP.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A FRANK, FUNNY LOOK AT THE PAST, May 12, 2009
This review is from: Pretty in Plaid: A Life, a Witch, and a Wardrobe, or, the Wonder Years Before the Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self-Centered Smart-Ass Phase (Hardcover)
If you think you won't be captivated by a preternaturally manipulative little girl who holds out for lobster at ten dollars a pound for her eighth birthday dinner, you'll think again with the first few pages of the hilarious Pretty In Plaid. Not only is she demanding but also fashion conscious. It was a chilly evening when Jen, her parents and her brother, Todd, went out for that dinner and her mother wanted her to wear "a ridiculous pair of maroon tights." No way! As she says, "...I balked because my sweater is red and I refuse to clash, particularly on such an auspicious occasion."

And, that laughing readers, is only the beginning in this flat out funny memoir following Lancaster's highly successful Such A Pretty Fat. Yes, there are weight issues to be faced again but she primarily focuses on her growing up years, each period remembered by her must-have apparel of that time.

We begin with her days as a Junior Girl Scout - not only would there be camping and outings but she absolutely loved the green uniform. What was the all important accessory for that uniform? A sash laden with badges, of course. Only problem was you were supposed to earn those badges. Such details didn't stand in our Jen's way as she is soon sporting an eye-popping embellished sash.

What a romp it is to revisit those early years with her as she goes from that childhood triumph to college co-ed where she learns the hard way that a rush party described as casual does not mean a jean jacket and that a Coach handbag is an absolute necessity and why another rushee "with streaky blond hair from a suburb of Detroit called Grosse Pointe" looked so smug. There was so much for her to absorb in college, and further lessons learned when she didn't make her grades.

Later, she was ill prepared to find a job but that she did, and discovered what talents she possessed. No questioning her talent for writing a frank, funny look at her past which gives all of us some things to remember and lots to laugh about.

Enjoy!

- Gail Cooke
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another hit for Jen, May 11, 2009
This review is from: Pretty in Plaid: A Life, a Witch, and a Wardrobe, or, the Wonder Years Before the Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self-Centered Smart-Ass Phase (Hardcover)
I know I've already declared my love for Jen Lancaster so it should come as no surprise that I rushed out to buy it Tuesday morning. I couldn't put the book down. Covering her life from childhood to right before her boom in dot coms (covered in Bitter is the New Black), this book had me giggling from the start. It opens with a letter from 7 year old Jen writing to Mattel to inform them that Ballerina Barbie just fell apart in the bathtub and that they should send her another immediately, and all will be forgiven. They should also throw in a new Dawn for good measure.
The book opens with an imperious Jeni informing the waitress that a menu is unnecessary, and she will be having the lobster. As her parents try to dissuade this, Jeni haughtily informs them that she was promised lobster for her eighth birthday, and lobster she will have. She gets her way and is faced with a lobster in lobster form. Pulling it apart she finds the egg sac, and green goo and is unhappy with her choice. She mentions this would have been avoided had her parents let her taste the lobster last year at their party. Following that is the tale of her moving on from boring Brownies to the fabulously uniformed Girl Scouts. Her tales of badge collection are quite funny.
Every chapter is titled, and the subtitle is the outfit (or part of outfit) she was wearing in the occurrence. Her footnotes are still included, and still cause me to laugh a little more loudly than is polite in public. Her engaging, quick wit is evident throughout and makes for not a single dull moment in the book. Don't miss it!
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars This 'wonder years' memoir? Not so wonderful., June 4, 2009
By 
This review is from: Pretty in Plaid: A Life, a Witch, and a Wardrobe, or, the Wonder Years Before the Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self-Centered Smart-Ass Phase (Hardcover)
'Pretty in Plaid' was quite a disappointment. The quirky, quick-witted quips we've come to love Jen Lancaster for are few & far between in her newest project. Usually with her books, I am laughing out loud every few pages, however with 'Plaid' I could count those occasions on one hand. Perhaps she should stick to writing about the myriad of people and situations she comes in contact with in her great city of Chicago, because the "wonder years" she described in the book just didn't seem that extraordinary. I believe there was enough insight into her childhood with the references she gave in her previous work, especially in her debut, Bitter is the New Black. This installment just didn't seem necessary. It pains me to write a negative review, because I am a huge fan of Jen's writing otherwise.
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