Bitter is the New Black – Review

Ugh. I think I’m done with memoirs. I was hesitant to try again after reading the pitiful Eat, Pray, Love for the Lit Ladies Book Club (though I have to admit the movie previews look pretty good). But, hey, even I can be a follower in book club, so I read our July pick, Jen Lancaster’s Bitter is the New Black. It’s supposed to be “hilarious” and the author is “like that friend who always says what you think — only 1,000 times funnier.” Hmmm.

Jen is funny and clever and mean and shallow and nasty and mean and mean and mean. Her rise to excess and subsequent fall to near poverty is interesting. But, really all she learns from her trials is to take it easy on the handbags. She still thinks she’s queen of all that’s right with the world and that it’s her responsibility to insult and point out the flaws with everyone else. She gets a better perspective on belongings – but then turns to insulting and degrading all those who don’t follow her profound revelations. She gets fat – but somehow turns the health conscience world into evil-out-of-touch freaks. There are moments where she actually admits to her flaws and mistakes. Moments when she shows feeling and tenderness toward her dogs and her spouse. But, you guessed it, just when you think she’s getting it, she quickly turns to judging others again.

I love sarcasm as much as the next person, but Jen is just cruel.

I talked over my ban of memoirs with Brian and his perspective was right on. I’m paraphrasing, “well, duh, you have to be an egomaniac to write a memoir.” So true. Though I believe that Maya Angelou’s autobiographies are the exception. They are beautiful and inspiring. Some people really do have a story to tell and thankfully raise the bar too high for someone like Jen to reach.

Note: Some people love Bitter is the New Black. Even if you appreciate the humor it does get a bit boring after awhile in book format. All the little anecdotes are fun at first, then just distracting. Try out her blog for a few days first. Then decide if you can really handle a whole book of it.

This entry was posted on Thursday, July 29th, 2010 at 10:08 am and is filed under Book Review. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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