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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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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)
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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
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Top customer reviews
Yes, she is self absorbed and materialistic and narcissistic. But, unlike some of the other reviewers here, I think she did "grow up" toward the end of the book -- reflecting on WHY?? had she spent so much money on frivolous items, and, in the end, deciding to stick with her writing career rather than take a fast paced, lucrative job. (Clearly, that was the better decision for her, anyway. Check out her growing list of books and bestsellers).
Lancaster is brutally unkind toward her co-workers at the beginning of the book, but Hello! They sounded like incompetent, nit-wit, lazy people in the first place. (See? She and I would probably get along just fine...)
Finally, I think Lancaster would be a very loyal friend. I wouldn't go out drinking with her (she could probably out-drink most sailors?), but Lancaster strikes me as a person who would stick with you when the going got tough. Case in point: how she rallied to help her husband and get him the necessary medical help (despite not having health insurance) during his bout of depression. When he needed her to be his advocate, she refused to take "No" for an answer, and made sure he had the counseling and medication that he needed.
Jen is a vice-president at a major finance firm in Chicago. She is very high-maintenance, spoiled, and self-involved. But when her world comes crashing down in the post 9/11 recession, she is forced to re-evaluate her life. But she fights it all the way. And she does it with humor, sarcasm, and bluntness.
my review: I decided to read this memoir after reading a review of it by Rebecca from Lost in Books.
This book was incredibly funny with its biting humor. Reading about Jen's search for a job, from those equal to what she was doing and eventually down to a barrista at Starbucks, while scary in this economic climate, was hilarious. Jen and her fiance', Fletch, who also has job problems of his own, struggle to maintain their lifestyle, but deal with eviction, repossession, and almost get to the point of moving in with her parents. She is not particularly PC and even though she is a Republican :), I couldn't help but like this strong-willed woman and enjoyed her antics. She eventually begins blogging about her adventures and gains a following, which led to the writing of this book.
This was the perfect antidote for what ailed me. I will definitely be checking out more of her work.
my rating: 4/5