Saturday, June 08, 2013

Such a Pretty Fat: or Why Pie Is Not the Answer by Jen Lancaster

This completes the trilogy of Jen Lancaster books that I took a chance buying all at once when Borders in Wilmette closed. From flipping through and reading bits, I thought I'd like her, and mostly it worked out.* Unfortunately, I'm liking each book less than the previous one. Even more unfortunately, I already bought four more of her books because I had anticipated that I would like them all.

Lancaster can be very funny and entertaining (despite my XY chromosomes excluding me from her target market). My problem with these books is that they are like cotton candy: tasty but lacking much substance. I laugh a lot but when it's over I don't feel like I've gained anything from the experience.

Though Such a Pretty Fat documents Lancaster's efforts to lose weight, her editor is the one who should have been trimming fat. There are some hysterical episodes, but there is a lot of forgettable and irrelevant crap in between. Also Lancaster's style and personality are becoming more exhausting with each volume; she just babbles annoyingly. Yet the most disturbing thing to me in this book is her revelation that she needs to move out of the city. Being sick of New York City memoirs, I loved that she lived in Chicago. She'll probably fade from my life just like my friends who moved to the suburbs.

After looking at the Amazon reviews for her later books, I wonder whether it's even worth continuing through Jennsylvania. I mean, everybody gets some lousy reviews, but when the negative ones are rated "most helpful", that's a bad sign.


* Incredibly, this purchasing behavior is not such a rare occurrence for me. I have at least three books apiece from two more authors whose work I haven't read yet (Mary Roach and Michael Perry), and I have two books from many others. I am a shopper of opportunity, so I'll buy something that looks interesting whenever I see it cheap regardless of whether I've confirmed that I like the author by actually reading one of his or her books. Such is the life of a book hoarder.


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