Jen Lancaster is sarcastic, self-involved, shallow and condescending. She is also direct, clever and funny.
It should come as no surprise that I had a little trouble in the beginning. The title says it all: Confessions of a Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self-Centered Smartass. Guess what? She isn't kidding.
The first part of the book is a view into her high powered job and self-reported extravagant lifestyle. Maybe I am just too old to be impressed by designer clothes, Prada handbags, expensive restaurants and spas and "everyone who is anyone in Chicago".
Things begin to change when she gets downsized. Resumes, interviews, unemployment and temp jobs. Moving, selling shoes on eBay, car repo and all. Great material for her wit and and snappy one liners.
The first time you see the other side of Jen is when she volunteers to be a dog walker for an animal rescue organization. She ends up with two of the dogs because she can't bare to let them go. Behind the wisecracks and cynicism there is a woman who is loyal and cares about her family and friends. A committed partner in her marriage, a dutiful daughter and a caring aunt. OK, so sometimes the caring comes out sideways, but she does care; deeply. Little by little I began to see behind the tough facade.
Months go by and life becomes harder and harder; yet Jen manages to keep her sense of humor and not take herself to seriously (most of the time). Whatever character flaws she may have, she is frank and painfully honest about her sense of losing herself. After all, what happens when you lose all the things that make your identity -- your wonderful apartment, your high powered job and your bank account?
What happened for Jen was a serious evaluation of her choices, her priorities, her career choices and ultimately her toughness. She is a creative survivor and by the end of the book I developed an admiration for both she and her husband Fletch.
Great book to read on the patio, by the pool or beach or on a plane. Jen will make you laugh, cry and reflect.
Here is the publisher's words:
Jen Lancaster was living the sweet life-until real life kicked her to the curb. She had the perfect man, the perfect job-hell, she had the perfect life-and there was no reason to think it wouldn't last. Or maybe there was, but Jen Lancaster was too busy being manicured, pedicured, highlighted, and generally adored to notice. This is the smart-mouthed, soul-searching story of a woman trying to figure out what happens next when she's gone from six figures to unemployment checks and she stops to reconsider some of the less-than-rosy attitudes and values she thought she'd never have to answer for when times were good. Filled with caustic wit and unusual insight, it's a rollicking read as speedy and unpredictable as the trajectory of a burst balloon.