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? by Jen Lancaster
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
(Originally published on Goodreads.)
I started my Jen Lancaster reading experience with Such a Pretty Fat, which I thought was hilarious.
A few months later I read Bitter is the New Black, which interestingly, I didn’t like quite as much. (odd, since most people claim that is by far her best.) I didn’t laugh as much, and I disliked her a little more in that one. (I also thought the first chapter was extremely boring and had little to do with the rest of the book.
And now I just completed her second book, Bright Lights, Big Ass, which I also liked a little more than “Bitter.”
Technically, this book is about “tales of living in the big city,” but it’s really “stuff that happened to me over the last year.” One could argue that explaining why you love Target and describing your pets’ antics does not a book make, but Jen somehow makes it laugh out loud funny and realatable.
Unlike a lot of reviewers, I think I would like Jen as a person. She is a self-described narcissist, but there are little hints here and there that a lot of that is bravado and exaggerated for humor, and that in truth, she definitely has a vulnerable and “gosh I am really a total idiot sometimes” side. Maybe I am giving her too much credit, but that’s the way I like to picture her as I read.
My Few Complaints:
* It would have been better if it was a wee bit shorter. Since there’s no real plot, it starts getting tedious toward the end. I thought the story about Jen and her husband playing punching games was particularly boring and didn’t seem to fit.
* I don’t mind the foul language itself, but at times it’s way too much. We get it, you have a foul mouth aren’t afraid to be incredible vulgar, ha ha. Move on already.
* Nitpick that drove me crazy: I’m not a southerner and don’t say “y’all,” BUT I have lived in the south my entire life. I can assure you that people NEVER EVER say “y’all” when speaking to/about one person. She has a character do this repeatedly in the first chapter and it makes no sense. If that character had been talking to me, I know I would look around the room, be slightly confused, and/or even ask who he meant.
Bottom line, this is funny and easy to read. Don’t be expecting a plot, anything deep, or clean language.
I’d really like to try Jen’s fiction but am a little afraid to, since I haven’t heard great things about it.