Sunday, March 23, 2008

The One I Had To Read At Home

The delightful folks at work have already caught me smiling one too many times, so there was no way I was going to bring Jen Lancaster's Bright Lights, Big Ass to work with me. I enjoyed this one before bed, after a hard day, and in the morning with my coffee. I finished it last night.

I really enjoyed Bitter is the New Black, the tale of her fall from grace as a highly paid vice president to nearly getting evicted from a ghetto apartment. This one doesn't follow a neat story arc in the same manner. It's billed as a tale of life in the city, but it's really more about Jen's life. This isn't to say that it's not funny or well-written, just that future historians may be disappointed when this one is uncovered.

The book picks up where Bitter is the New Black left off. Jen has sold her first book, and her husband Fletch is still working at the job that saved them from eviction at the last moment. Beyond that, it's really just a slice of life. Jen temping to help pay the bills, since it turns out that being a writer isn't really a high-paying occupation. Jen wrangling with the dogs. Jen and Fletch shopping at Trader Joe's and entertaining friends.

I like her books a lot. I like her conversational style. I like the way her forceful, contradictory personality comes through. I love her sense of humor (I practically peed my pants during the part where she wrote "asshole" on Fletch's arm in self-tanner and he shaved off one of her eyebrows). I visit her blog a lot and comment sometimes so it almost feels weird to say anything negative about her here, not like she'd ever come here and read it. I don't really have anything negative to say -- I do like her books. But they're very dependent on liking her. If you read Bitter is the New Black and thought she was annoying, stay away from this one. If you read it and thought she was hilarious, check out Bright Lights, Big Ass. Just maybe not in the lunch room at work.