Book Review – Bitter is the New Black

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 : A MemoirBitter 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 : A Memoir by Jen Lancaster

My rating: (5 / 5)

In 2001, Jen Lancaster was an up and coming marketing executive with a huge salary, a handsome live-in boyfriend, a fabulous apartment in one of Chicago’s trendiest neighborhoods, and a closet full of designer bags and shoes. She bought expensive perfume, took cabs everywhere, looked down on her less-classy neighbors, and had it all. Sort of.

Then her world exploded with the dot com bust. She lost her job. She lost her apartment. She lost some friends. She lost some stuff. She lost some dignity. But this book isn’t about loss, it’s about all the things she gained in those two years of unemployment, and how she became a different person with different priorities and a very different career path. I really, really like the “after” Jen better.

This book is bitingly funny, and the author is sarcastic almost to a fault. It would be too much if she didn’t poke as much fun at herself as she does at everyone else. I’m all for equal opportunity humour. I kept bursting out laughing – often loudly – garnering odd looks from a very confused husband. I understand struggle, as most of us do, and had a lot of empathy for what Jen was going through, but it’s impossible to feel too much sympathy when she’s this funny.

And yes, I’ll say it again. So. Freaking. Funny.

Despite the rather somber subject matter – dealing with unemployment and a bad economy – this book is a true pick-me-up and a great read.

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