Wednesday, April 30, 2008
REVIEW: Bright Lights, Big Ass, by Jen Lancaster
Bright Lights, Big Ass: A Self-Indulgent, Surly Ex-Sorority Girl's Guide to Why It Often Sucks in the City, or Who Are These Idiots and Why Do They All Live Next Door To Me? by Jen Lancaster, Published 2007 by NAL Trade. Nonfiction. Memoir. Humor.
I bought Bright Lights, Big Ass on impulse, on one of my husband's and my weekly trips to our local Borders, when we usually buy books on impulse. I didn't buy it the first time I looked at it- it looked kind of frivolous, and not serious, when I have so many serious books to read. Because I am a very serious person, and a serious reader. Seriously.
But after a certain point this spring, I decided funny was a good idea. And this book looked funny. Seriously funny. Which it is.
Bright Lights, Big Ass, the follow-up to Lancaster's best-selling Bitter is the New Black (which is now on my nightstand), is a silly and often endearing memoir of life in the big city- specifically, Chicago, and her adventures as an office temp and a homeowner with her husband Fletch and an assortment of pets. I sort of lost track, but I think she has a dog named Maisy, and maybe some other dogs, and maybe some cats, and maybe a goldfish or something. I may be getting that part wrong. Anyway the general impression conveyed of her life is one of barely contained chaos, from landing and working various temp jobs, to struggling through vile plumbing issues, negotiating with crackpot neighbors, finding and moving into a new home, and dealing with her husband's crush on Rachael Ray.
The book is terrific fun. I loved her turns of phrase and invented words reflecting the way some people really talk- "breastacular," from the meme I did the other day, is her impression of Ms. Ray, for example. She even punctuates? to emphasize her tone of voice? so the reader really gets how she's talking. It's not high art, but it's funny, and it works. A former office temp myself, her portrayal of that life rang true for me- the office politics, the day-to-day search for meaning. Her adventures as a homeowner and pet owner and her struggles with her weight also struck me as genuine and honest. I think a lot of women in their mid-thirties will relate to her and enjoy the book a lot. She's sort of like a female David Sedaris, although maybe not quite as outlandish. I enjoyed dipping into the book during commercials or whenever I had a spare moment and needed a laugh. She didn't disappoint.
FTC Disclosure: I did not receive this book for review from the publisher.