Book Review: ‘If You Were Here’ is a rollercoaster of hilarity and endless detail

Annie Yoskoski, Staff Writer

Venturing into fiction for the first time Jen Lancaster combined her sharp sense of humor with hilarious events to create one of the funniest books I have read all year. Mia and Mac are house hunting and decide to buy the house of Mia’s dreams, one used in a John Hughes movie from the 1980s. The outside of the house is beautiful, but the inside is a mess. Everything needs to be fixed. With contractors dropping out and Mac taking on the renovations himself with a possibly active soviet soldier who gets beautiful bathtubs through suspicious contractors there is plenty of room for comic relief.

I felt like the novel was well thought out. It is also highly autobiographical. I found it amusing that Lancaster took the character of Mia on as an author of teen zombie romance fiction competing with Twilight for the spotlight in the literary world. Even though the book is about people in their late thirties, I still found it relatable because of cultural references like Twilight and various reality shows. One of the highlights of the book is the footnotes. Lancaster is famous for putting footnotes at the bottom of her pages usually to crack a joke or put in an explanation for something she has done. Mia’s footnotes in the book are hilarious, mainly the ones featured in her court appearance for chasing after a squirrel while intoxicated.

I felt that the book was very unique to Lancaster, which can be a problem if you have never read her memoirs. If I had read this book as a new reader, I don’t think I would have liked it. It is the type of book a reader has to give a chance before brushing it off. At some points the endless complaints about the house got annoying and I skipped over paragraphs explaining the condition of the wooden floors. One thing I would advise would be to not read this book in a public place. I started snickering in Barnes and Noble, drawing several strange looks. I found the book to be a roller coaster. Some parts were hilarious and the next chapter would be a downhill slide of normal, semi-boring Martha Stewart rants. Despite some of its flaws, the amount of humor outweighed the boring oak flooring for me.  If you are looking for a pick me up, fun read this is it.


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