Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Such a Pretty Fat

I haven't really found anything lately that I was super-excited to read, or at least was able to read fairly quickly. I tried out a few library books that didn't quite meet my standards, and am still in the middle of In the Garden of Beasts, but otherwise I've run dry. I haven't even listened to any good audiobooks lately, although I did just start the Bill Clinton autobiography, My Life. 

The other night I just wanted to read something fun and light, so I picked up a Jen Lancaster book I've read a bunch of times, Such a Pretty Fat. 

For those of you unfamiliar with Jen Lancaster, she and her husband were dot-com success stories whose reign ended suddenly when the bubble burst. During their long-term unemployment, Lancaster began blogging about her experiences at Jennsylvania. Her writing voice was so original, witty and opinionated that she caught the attention of publishers and eventually turned the blog posts into her very successful first memoir, Bitter is the New Black. She followed that up with Bright Lights, Big Ass. Such a Pretty Fat is her third memoir, written on an entirely new topic: what it took for Lancaster, a woman with prodigious vanity and healthy self-esteem, to realize that she's overweight, and her subsequent attempts to get healthy.

I've read all of Jen Lancaster's books except for her most recent one, Jeneration X, and I was a pretty big fan at first. I like her sense of humor, her chutzpah at putting her feelings and opinions out there in such a candid way, and the way she was able to re-make herself into a popular blogger and author. As time has passed, I've become less of a fan of her blog and her books. I still admire the same things about her that I did at first, but her opinions, while always quite different from my own, have seemed to become less open and accepting of others. I'm finding it harder to find common ground with her.

That being said, I do enjoy her earlier books, and Such a Pretty Fat is always a fun read. Jen is such an original character; she could only have sprung from real life. She often makes me laugh out loud, and that's something I rarely do while reading. It would be a mistake to characterize Pretty Fat as a weight-loss book. It's more like a journey in which the heroine forces herself to break down, mentally as well as physically, in order to get herself into a healthier state. Yes, she does visit Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers, and has some hilarious interactions with a kick-ass blond trainer named Barbie. But it's really more about the realizations Jen makes about herself, and in fact, that's how the book ends, with one final breakthrough.

Like I said, it's a fun book. I'm still looking for that next great new read though! Any suggestions?

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