Book Review ~ My Fair Lazy by Jen Lancaster

My Fair Lazy: One Reality Television Addict's Attempt to Discover If Not Being A Dumb Ass Is the New Black, or, a Culture-Up Manifesto

Summary ~ It’s a JENaissance! The New York Times bestselling author of Pretty in Plaid gets her culture on.

Readers have followed Jen Lancaster through job loss, sucky city living, weight loss attempts, and 1980s nostalgia. Now Jen chronicles her efforts to achieve cultural enlightenment, with some hilarious missteps and genuine moments of inspiration along the way. And she does so by any means necessary: reading canonical literature, viewing classic films, attending the opera, researching artisan cheeses, and even enrolling in etiquette classes to improve her social graces.

In Jen’s corner is a crack team of experts, including Page Six socialites, gourmet chefs, an opera aficionado, and a master sommelier. She may discover that well-regarded, high-priced stinky cheese tastes exactly as bad as it smells, and that her love for Kraft American Singles is forever. But one thing’s for certain: Eliza Doolittle’s got nothing on Jen Lancaster-and failure is an option.

It’s not every day when I feel a connection to an author, pop culture icon, character or celebrity but recently I’ve had two connections that helped to remind me that I’m not crazy and have no reason to apologize for living my life the way I live it.  Friday night I related to the storyline in Sex & The City 2 that had Carrie & Big explaining to everyone and reminding each other that a life with each other was going to be plenty.  The other connection I experienced was with author Jen Lancaster and her hubby Fletch while reading her newest memoir, My Fair Lazy: A Memoir ~ One Reality Television Addict”s Attempt to Discover If Not Being a Dumb Ass Is the New Black, or a Culture-Up Manifesto.  (LOVE THAT TITLE!)  Jen & Fletch chose not to be parents to human children (for reasons known to them) but instead to be “fur parents” to a menagerie of dogs and cats.  Hubby and I are in our mid-30’s and after facing disappointment when trying to have kids, the decision was made that life with just us and our Cocker Spaniel (for now and then a dog for each of us in retirement.. earmuffs Rocky!) will be really wonderful, fulfilling and perfect for the lifestyle we lead.  Anyway, I digress.  This is supposed to be a book review right?!

My Fair Lazy is a breath of fresh air and hilarious to boot!  I have known of Jen Lancaster since 2007 when my friend Jesse and I were in Singapore at Borders Books.  We walked past an end-cap and Jesse picked up 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?  The title made us laugh and the inside cover drew us in but for some reason I never got around to reading anything by Lancaster until my Sis-In-Law read My Fair Lazy and reviewed it on her blog, Aliverse.  Thanks Allison for bringing Jen Lancaster to my attention all these years later!  Just like you, I adore her too.

I must admit that I would have read this book much more quickly if I hadn’t had to stop to read parts out loud to Hubby and crack up every other page or so for the first half of the book.  Highjinx ensue for Jen as she dedicates a year to incorporating culture into her reality television addicted life.  Personally I don’t think there is anything wrong with watching a ton of reality T.V.  I love those crazy bitches on The Real Housewives of NYC & New Jersey, I want to be BFF with Tori Spelling (Dean you’re a douche sometimes and I wish you would grow up), and I have spent plenty of hours over the last twenty years watching and analyzing MTV’s The Real World, America’s Next Top Model, The Amazing Race, American Idol, Dancing with The Stars, both Rockstar INXS & Supernova and many other top quality reality television shows that is fed to us through that ingenious invention, the television.  But I also have ten years of classical voice training under my belt and I like to read and watch things that are informative, enlightening, and outside of my comfort zone (I still have to review The Blue Notebook.  That book is so far out of my reality and comfort zone that I still haven’t been able to get it out of my head or write a proper review.)  Jen Lancaster fearfully jumped in fuzzy slippers first and attended live theatre, ate questionable dishes in exotic restaurants and faced a pile of stinky-ass cheese that ended up becoming her next true love.  She’s much braver with new foods than I have been in my life but I have gotten better about it.  I actually fell in love with many different asian cuisines and dishes thanks to a four-year stint in Okinawa, thank you very much!

Jen Lancaster is a wonderfully funny writer who is shameless and heart-warming in her retelling of her quest for culture.  The restaurant experiences alone have me wondering how to invite her to Washington, D.C. and join me on a restaurant field trip in our Nation’s Capital, which happens to be a massive melting pot of international cuisine.  I am so glad that I got to know Jen Lancaster just a little bit by reading her new book, My Fair Lazy, and I look forward to getting to know her that much better by reading her other New York Time’s best-selling memoirs.  Now I have to get back to watching the 2010 MTV Movie Awards.  Tom Cruise and Jennifer Lopez are cracking me up!

{Rating ~ 5 out of 5}