Friday, May 18, 2012

Good Books Are Good

I love Jen Lancaster. She's a great author, and she makes me laugh. She is very active on her facebook, blog and Twitter, and as a reader and fan, I totally get behind that.

She usually writes memoires, her first being "Bitter Is The New Black" which follows her from being a rather large, wealthy fish in a rather small pond to being out of work, in incredible debt, and trying to make her way after the huge market crash following 9-11. It's a great story, especially since she is so self-deprecating. You see the build-up in the way she is, the way she spends, and you know what's coming. And when it does, it's somewhat gratifying that a spoiled ex-sorority girl trying to claw her way back up, but you also feel badly for her because it must have been hard. My favorite memoire of hers is "Such a Pretty Fat" which follows her through trying to lose weight. Again, you get a huge beginning of abject indulgence followed by a huge fall from grace when she starts realizing how her weight is affecting her health. Her honesty is what you're there for, and her descriptions of her friends, dogs, husband, cats, and her various apartment-related-issues of living in the big city (Chicago) and being surrounded by all kinds of crime and Redneckishness, wanna-be gang members (and real gang members) and homeless crack heads. Jen (can I call her Jen?) might not always have the perfect witty comeback at the tip of her tongue, but her reflections are always golden.

I kind of want to be like her when I grow up.

Anyway, I'm reading her new novel, "If You Were Here" which actually came out quite a while ago (I've been busy!) to the point that she actually had another book come out in the last few weeks (Jenneration X) and is currently doing a tour for it, so I am admittedly behind on things here.

But the book. Oh, the book. The book does not disappoint.

It follows Mia and Mac (who are suspiciously exactly like Jen and her husband Fletch) as they embark on their first foray into homeownership. Mia is a writer who writes YA novels about teenaged Amish zombies.

No, no, I'm serious. Teenaged Amish zombies.

They're teenagers, and they're Amish, and there are zombies. Sometimes they're in love with the zombies.

Someone needs to get into this genre quick.

I'm actually not very far into the book yet (only about 28%), so I can't speak for the whole thing, but so far it's great. However, just like most of her books, there are huge foreshadowing clues that sort of hit you in the head about what will go wrong.

For one, they are buying a house based on the fact that it was Jake Ryan's house in Sixteen Candles (Mia's reason) and because it has a panic room (Mac's reason). There is no way this can go wrong. (Also: Jaaaaaaake!)

For two, Mia spends so much time talking about how cute and adorable her inspector was, but very little time actually talking about what he inspected. This house has stood vacant for over twenty years, there is no way that it's going to get a glowing report. I'm surprised there wasn't grass growing through the foundation.

For three, Mia and Mac's former landlady is called Vienna Hyatt, and...well, I'm sorry Jen (I can call you Jen, right?) but that's a smart and witty. It's the opposite of smart and witty. And you're smart and witty, and you're too good for that. Vienna Hyatt makes me think of Chekhov's Gun (not a reference to my cat or the Star Trek character, but to the actual writer and if you don't know what TV Tropes is, I can't help you here), and I'm sure she's going to make a reappearance at some point because you just don't invest that much into someone unless you're planning on resurrecting their character at some point.

For four, apparently the people of the neighborhood were going to tear down the house and turn it into some sort of community property, so they hate Mia and Mac already. And that never bodes well.

So far, the book is making me laugh, and I'm already driving my mom crazy by reading out blocks of text to her while she's trying to do her own thing, but she loves Jen (I'm just going to call her that) like I do, and she laughs with me.

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