Review: Pretty in Plaid, by Jen Lancaster

Pretty in Plaid
Jen Lancaster
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If reading Jen Lancaster’s last book, Such a Pretty Fat resulted in the loss of three pounds, without the use of weight loss pills, her most recent offering, Pretty in Plaid, led me to clean out my closet.

Or at least, it would have, if I could have put the book down, and if I wasn’t so easily distracted.

In this book, Jen gives us a pre-quel, of sorts, for it begins with Jen as a little kid, and ends just before the publication of her very first book, Bitter is the New Black, and every chapter centers around her favorite outfit or fashion trend of the era in question.

She also gives us the truth of the world, at least for many women: It’s not “you are what you eat.” It’s “you are what you wear.”

As funny, acerbic, and brilliantly observant as always, this book will have you reaching for your high school picture to show people that yes, you really dressed that way, too.

Review: Such a Pretty Fat, by Jen Lancaster

Such a Pretty Fat: One Narcissist’s Quest to Discover if Her Life Makes Her Ass Look Big
by Jen Lancaster
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Jen Lancaster is never not funny, but part of the reason I always enjoy her books is that even though I suspect our politics are wildly divergent, her exaggerated version of herself is completely relate-able. That was the case with her first memoir, Bitter is the New Black, and it remains the case with her most recent, originally published last year, Such a Pretty Fat, in which she tackles self esteem, body image, and her own physical prowess – or lack thereof.

In this book, Lancaster gets a bit meta on us – spending about a third of the 375 (trade paperback version) pages talking about the novel she’s supposed to be writing, before deciding that a funny, frank look at her weight and attempts to lose it would be more saleable. Apparently, she was right, because I laughed with her, cried with her, and felt guilty about everything I put in my mouth while I was reading it that was less than healthy.

In fact, I lost three pounds while reading it, which I’m sure Jen would appreciate if she knew.

If you want a weight loss book that tells you to starve yourself, and shows pictures of cute size-four models on the cover, and supplies a diet, go read something else. If you want to find inspiration in the funny, real story of a snarky, real woman – read Such a Pretty Fat.

You may not lose three pounds, but you’ll definitely have a smile on your face when the book is over.