Skip to main content

Review: My Fair Lazy, by Jen Lancaster


Pages: 371

Original date of publication: 2010

My edition: 2010 (NAL)

Why I decided to read: Jen Lancaster is one of my favorite authors

How I acquired my copy: review copy from the publisher

I’ve been reading Jen Lancaster’s books for a while now—since after her second book, Bright Lights, Big Ass was published, actually—and she never fails to entertain her readers. I’ve been following her through her now-famous experience at losing her job and taking up temp work; bad neighbors; and her efforts at weight loss, and she’s truly not afraid to put herself out there. Her last book before this one wasn’t her best however, so I was pleased to discover that with My Fair Lazy, Jen Lancaster has returned to true form.

My Fair Lazy is a collection of essays about Lancaster’s addiction to reality TV and how she made a conscientious effort to change her habits by becoming more cultured-visiting the theatre, for example; or eating cuisine beyond her old standard of hamburgers, French fries, and orange soda; or reading (or rereading) the classics—there’s a hilarious bit in there that’s classic Jen, where she goes into a bookstore to try to find “a novel written by a woman whose initials are EW,” picking up a book by Edith Wharton, and realizing that she meant Evelyn Waugh instead! Then there are some very funny comparisons between Edith Wharton’s characters and the characters on Gossip Girl (not a reality show, but yes, there are a number of similarities between them now that I think about it). Each chapter has a title that's a twist on a certain reality show's title o catchphrase ("Outwit, Outlast, Outclassed," for example, or "The Biggest Winner"). And Lancaster's prose is littered with zingy references to various shows, although tat, of course, isn't the focus of the book.

There’s a fair amount of plugging here for her previous books, as well as many details about her writing the books and going on book tours; and there are a couple of factual errors (cycle thirteen of America's Next Top Model was the one with the petite girls, not cycle eleven). Also, the book dates easily, as Jen mentions seasons of various TV shows from a few years ago (e.g., Survivor: China). But other than that, I thought that this was a really strong, humorous book. I read very few memoirs, especially since many of them seem like navel-gazing most of the time; but Jen Lancaster’s books are the exception. She always manages to learn her lesson at hand with a certain about of humility—although, as she says herself, she’s perhaps not so skilled at filtering what she says. All the better for her readers, however, as Lancaster’s books never fail to be entertaining and insightful.

Comments

Aths said…
I like the sound of this book. I haven't read Jen Lancaster yet, but I've been intrigued by many of her titles. Gotto look this one up!
Serena said…
O goodness..an addiction to reality TV. I shamefully admit I am addicted to this season's celebrity apprentice!
S. Krishna said…
I enjoyed this book as well and appreciated Jen's frankness. Great review.
The Blonde Mule said…
Great review! I always struggle with reviews, especially when I love the author, but didn't love the book. I hope you don't mind, but I linked to your review in mine.

Thanks for sharing!

--Kim

Popular posts from this blog

2015 Reading

January
1. The Vanishing Witch, by Karen Maitland
2. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
3. Texts From Jane Eyre, by Mallory Ortberg
4. Brighton Rock, by Graham Green
5. Brat Farrar, by Josephine Tey
6. Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert
7. Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy
8. A Movable Feast, by Ernest Hemingway
9. A Room of One's Own, by Virginia Woolf
10. Other Voices, Other Rooms, by Truman Capote
11. Maggie-Now, by Betty Smith

February
1. Middlemarch, by George Eliot
2. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
3. Nerdy, Shy, and Socially Inappropriate, by Cynthia Lee
4. Music For Chameleons, by Truman Capote
5. Peyton Place, by Grace Metalious
6. Unrequited, by Lisa Phillips
7. Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh
8. A Lost Lady, by Willa Cather

March
1. Persuasion, by Jane Austen
2. Love With a Chance of Drowning, by Torre DeRoche
3. One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
4. Miss Buncle's Book, by DE Stevenson
5. One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garc…

2016 Reading

January:
1. The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
2. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum
3. The Awakening, by Kate Chopin
4. Liar: A Memoir, by Rob Roberge

February:
1. The Forsyte Saga, by John Galsworthy
2. Girl in the Woods, by Aspen Matis
3. She Left Me the Gun, by Emma Brockes
4. Because of the Lockwoods, by Dorothy Whipple
5. The Chronology of Water, by Lidia Yuknavitch
6. To Show and to Tell, by Philip Lopate

March:
1. Fierce Attachments, by Vivian Gornick
2. Too Brief a Treat, by Truman Capote
3. On the Move: a Life, by Oliver Sacks
4. The Go-Between, by LP Hartley
5. The Art of Memoir, by Mary Karr
6. Giving Up the Ghost, by Hilary Mantel
7. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
8. The Great American Bus Ride, by Irma Kurtz
9. An Unquiet Mind, by Kay Radfield Jamison
10. A Widow's Story, by Joyce Carol Oates
11. So Sad Today, by Melissa Broder
12. The Liar's Club, by Mary Karr
13. An American Childhood, by Annie Dillard
14. So Sad Today, by Melissa Broder

Review: Forever Amber, by Kathleen Winsor

Pages: 972Originally published: 1944My edition: 2000 (Chicago Review Press)How I acquired my copy: Amazon.com, 2004

Forever Amber takes place in the 1660s, immediately follwing Charles II's ("the Merry Monarch") return of the Stuarts to the English throne. The book features Amber St. Claire, a young woman who starts out as a sixteen-year-old country girl, naieve to the workings of the world. She immediately meets Bruce Carlton, a dashing young Cavalier, with whom she has a passionate love affair in choppy intervals throughout the book. They have two children together, but Bruce won't marry her for the reason he tells his friend Lord Almsbury: that Amber just isn't the kind of woman one marries.

Upon following Bruce to London, he goes to Virginia, leaving her to fend for herself. What follows is a series of affairs and four marriages, with Bruce coming back from America now and then. Amber's marriages are imprudent: her first husband is a gambler, her second is…