Pretty in Plaid

Saturday, August 1, 2009

In her fourth memoir, Pretty in Plaid, Jen Lancaster takes us back to her life as a child and teen all the way up to where we start off in Bitter is the New Black. She breaks the book up into three parts -- the seventies, the eighties, and the nineties. The seventies are filled mainly with stories about moving to Indiana, trying to fit in at school, and being part of the brownies and girl scouts. The eighties fast forward through high school and college, while the nineties take a look at her life right after college graduation.

I did like this book, but overall, I have to say I was a little disappointed because I expected more. I am so used to laughing out loud throughout her books and this one didn't seem quite as funny. There were some good parts; I liked the one about the time she had lobster for her birthday -- it's something I could see myself doing as a child. But after a while I realized that combining her sense of humor with her actions as a child actually made her sound more bratty to me than anything else. The eighties explored college and was somewhat funnier. One of the better moments was all the focus on trying to dress right to fit in and on buying the expensive purse. But this section of the book got old after a while because it was so largely based on her sorority experiences.

But then when we got to the nineties where Jen talked about her naivete upon graduating college and how she thought she was rich, the Jen that I'm used to from her previous 3 books appeared again. This section of the book was by far the funniest to me and the most enjoyable to read. Maybe her sense of humor is only funny to me when it's applied to an adult who is confident and successful yet ironically naive and childlike at the same time. This is also the part of the book where Fletch makes his first appearances and I found I really like reading about the interactions between them too.

All that being said, if you like Jen Lancaster, I would definitely read this. And I do look forward to her next book (I think it might be about her quest to read classics or something along those lines?) If you haven't read her before, don't read this first both because it's not her best but also because she refers to things that, while you don't necessarily need to know, are funnier if you already know what she's talking about. I give this one 4 out of 5 stars.


ANovelMenagerie said...

I LOVED Such a Pretty Fat, but haven't gotten to this one. I'll have to check it out.

Jenny said...

Sheri, have you read the first two? I thought those were the best!

bermudaonion said...

I've never read any of Jen Lancaster's work, but I've heard she's pretty funny. It sounds like this isn't the one to start with. Thanks for the review.

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