Bitter Is the New Black by Jen Lancaster, 2006 (398 pages)
Before I say much about the book, I'd like to clarify the title. In case you can't read it on the image here, the full title of the book is Bitter Is the New Black: Confessions of a condescending, egomaniacal, self-centered smart-ass, or why you should never carry a Prada Bag to the unemployment office. Even the title made me smile. :)
I thought this was a good book. It's definitely chick lit, but it wasn't quite what I expected. This is the author's memoir, which I didn't realize before I began reading it. Jen is very successful at her job, and she likes living a lifestyle that reflects that success (like wearing designer shoes, spending $300 on her highlights, and carrying an $800 Prada bag while living in what she calls "the Dot Com Palace"). The story basically shows what she goes through when she suddenly finds herself unemployed.
In a lot of chick lit books, I find myself wanting to slap the main female characters and tell them to quit being idiots. I don't recall having that feeling with this book. Even though the characters make some mistakes as the story progresses, and even though the characters make some choices that I wouldn't necessarily agree with, I didn't feel like they were ditzy airheads who needed some sense knocked into them. And even though the characters live a lifestyle that I can't relate to (see above paragraph), I did feel like I could relate to the characters themselves.
I think this would be a good first chick lit book for someone to read. Unlike a lot of other books that fit into the genre, this book seems to have more of a solid story line with themes that a lot of people can relate to. Unlike a lot of other books in the genre, this story line was actually believable (which is a good thing, considering it's actually more or less a true story). I found it especially appropriate to be reading right now. When we start thinking about all the people losing their jobs these days and/or struggling to find work, this book is a good reminder that this isn't the end of the world. We've had tough economic times before, and we always come out of it.
Overall, I enjoyed the book, and I recommend it!
Total number of books read in 2009: 23
Total number of pages read in 2009: 8454