Jlee’s Review – If You Were Here by Jen Lancaster

I’ve always said I enjoy reading. I would say I try to read one book per month. Sometimes I’m successful; others not so much. I read memoirs, chick-lit and self-help books.

The self-help books – before you go judging me – are usually inspirational with tips on letting go of stress and anger (Remember 10 Things). I know it’s hard to think of me as an angry person, but there is a bit of anger locked up inside this little body.

Is it my Italian passion? Who knows, but because I strive to be a calmer and happier person I do read self-help here and there. And I strongly suggest the genre. It’s good for the soul. It opens your mind.

Bitter is the New BlackBut, in the interest that you just want a laugh out loud easy read here’s a great author for you. Jen Lancaster. Omg, I love her. I was introduced to her by a friend several years ago. She pulled Ms. Lancaster’s first book, Bitter is the New Black, off of her bookshelf and said, “Jen, you would love this book. I can’t believe you’ve never read it?”

I hadn’t read it or even heard of Jen Lancaster, but I’ll be the first to tell you that Jen Lancaster has inspired me in many ways. I know it sounds super cliché. But, Jen Lancaster is the reason I started Jlee’s Blog. I’m dead serious.

So, Bitter is the New Black is a memoir in which Ms. Lancaster recounts a dark time in her life when she was out of work and selling her designer purses on Ebay. The thought of selling my Juicy Couture sent me into a tailspin.

During the time that Ms. Lancaster was out of work she started to write a blog. Her blog writing skills then – eventually – turned into a solid writing career and several books on the New York Times Best Seller list. Omg, jealous.

Some of her memoirs include (all of which I have read): Bitter is the New Black, Bright Lights, Big Ass, Such a Pretty Fat, Pretty in Plaid, and My Fair Lazy.  After writing five successful memoirs Ms. Lancaster decided to set her sights on fiction.

I was presented her first fiction novel If You Were Here by the website Chick Lit is Not Dead. (Uh yeah I was excited. I NEVER win anything!) Here’s a big thank you to Liz and Lisa at Chick Lit is Not Dead and to Jen Lancaster, the amazing Chicago author and pet-lover.

If You Were HereHere are my thoughts on If You Were Here:

As a huge fan of Jen Lancaster I was slightly disappointed in If You Were Here. It might be because I’m not a fan of change. I love her memoirs. They are very honest and funny quick reads. You love to hear about Jen’s adventures through sarcasm and wit. You love to read her inner thoughts through her footnotes. Then you just love her.

I guess I wasn’t prepared to read about Mia and her husband Mac. They seemed all too familiar to me as Jen, herself, and her husband Fletch. The story is about Mia and Mac’s adventures of buying and renovating their first home in the suburbs of Chicago.

The book of course was funny. I enjoyed it, but I didn’t fall in love quite like I did with her memoirs. I do give her credit for trying a new genre. I’m sure it was tough to follow the success of her memoirs, but If You Were Here has received great reviews from the writing community.

Jeneration X came out after If You Were Here. I was more than pleased with her memoir detailing the fun and not so fun parts of growing up. In fact, Jeneration X is definitely on par with her very first book Bitter is the New Black, which was by far my absolute favorite.

Since the release of Jeneration X, Jen Lancaster has published Here I Go Again, A Novel; The Tao of Martha; and (to be released in 2014) Twisted Sisters. Click here for Amazon.

Photo courtesy of Amazon.com
Photo courtesy of Amazon.com

For more information on Jen Lancaster go to Jennsylvania.com and follow her on Twitter @altgeldshrugged.