One of my favorite friends, Beth Harte, introduced me to one of my all-time favorite authors, Jen Lancaster. I started out with Bitter is the New Black and have worked my way through her books, gobbling up each one as it comes out, with both a sense of “I NEED IT NOW” and a regret that if I read it too fast, the joy will be gone far too soon.
Her last book was ‘fiction’, based on a couple buying their first home, and was laugh out loud funny. I went to signing and got a copy for both Beth and my friend, Elizabeth Stinson, who I think of every time I read one of Jen’s books. Elizabeth wasn’t so sure since she doesn’t often read fiction, but because I gave her a signed copy, she capitulated and now is in love with Jen’s books as well.
Her new book is Jeneration X- One Reluctant Adult’s Attempt to Unarrest Her Arrested Development; Or, Why It’s Never Too Late for Her Dumb Ass to Learn Why Froot Loops Are Not for Dinner, and I’m excited she will be doing an appearance at one of my favorite book stores ever, Chester County Books. Being able to see Jen this week with Elizabeth and with Beth as well, is like sharing something incredibly special- and the way reading should be- sharing a treasure and pleasure with friends.
I think each of us sees a bit of ourselves in Jen Lancaster and her friends. As Gen X’ers and 40 something women ourselves, Jen captures how we feel and see the world with the ironic twist that’s always present at the same time. I feel like I am hanging with Elizabeth and Beth and we’re laughing and thinking about making margaritas by the pool this summer as I read through the pages.
I think about Elizabeth’s antique sports gear stuff and almost squeal when Jen talks about that in her book. I think about whether bringing her a silver bowl trophy I earned in high school as a thank you present would seem creepy or sweet, or whether baking her brownies would seem odd. But the problem here is that Jen Lancaster writes in a way that she already feels and sounds like my friend, and I am so grateful to her for all the fun I’ve had not only reading her books but sharing them with my friends as well. It’s a gift of joy and understanding and that while in mainstream life, the 40 something women often feel like supporting characters in a drama, in Jen’s world, we’re the fun and funny center stage characters. We have a voice and something to say.
I think many of us have hit our 40’s and finally realized it’s ok to be ok with ourselves. We still feel young and fun and aren’t sure when we exactly became grownups. I know my Mom seemed so much more adult (to me) at this age than I feel, and I’m still trying to puzzle out why the generations seem so different. What I do know for sure is that Jen Lancaster’s books, and sharing them with friends is always a pleasure, and that I hope, someday, she’ll share the Rick Springfield Bolognese recipe with us all. (Read the book to understand- Lynette- I know you’ll love this chapter- maybe you should save it for the Rick Springfield cruise, though 🙂 )