‘Bitter is the New Black’ gives hilarious life tips, fashion quips

Annie Yoskoski, Staff Writer

Jennifer Lancaster has been fired from her job. Her cozy life in her upscale Chicago apartment is in jeopardy. What is a girl to do? In this case, the solution would be to involve yourself in some mischief and hijinks, adopt some pit bulls and blog all about it.

In her first memoir, “Bitter is the New Black,” Jennifer Lancaster honestly tells the story of her fall from grace, the lengths she went to in order to restore it, and how she ended up happy with a new career in the end.

Reading this book several years ago and following her career ever since, I have laughed many times at Lancaster’s writing. “Bitter,” however, is the one that started it all. Having recently re-read it, I actually forgot how funny it was.

Readers take note: Don’t bring this book with you to a public place if you are self-conscious. I laughed so hard at the idea of a grown woman army-crawling down the hall of her apartment building to see who was stealing her paper, so she could paint-bomb them, that I practically fell out of my chair in our own Farley Library.

The lengthy subtitle, “Confessions of a Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self-Centered Smartass, or Why You Should Never Carry a Prada Bag to the Unemployment Office,” pretty much describes the book perfectly. It may all seem shallow, but Lancaster does find herself at the end, and sees what is really important in life: Family, friends, happiness, passion and integrity. Also, the discount rack. A memoir with a moral is always an interesting twist – and an unexpected one, based on the title.

I try to stay away from “chick lit”, and tend to read more serious material, but I am a person who likes to laugh. A man might not enjoy this book, being less able to relate to some of the girly tendencies Lancaster portrays, but anyone with a sense of humor is nevertheless guaranteed to crack a smile.

Lancaster may speak about “shallow” topics, but she is a very intelligent woman who expresses herself through snarky footnotes and hilarious text.

Currently, Lancaster is releasing her fifth book, “Jeneration X.” The memoirs keep rolling and the hilarity continues, but “Bitter” is the book that launched her writing career and subsequently her happiness. The blog that Lancaster started, and still runs, is Jennsylvania.com.

If you want a light-hearted read for finals or summer vacation, pick up this book and laugh until you cry.

I know I did.

5 stars out of 5