Title: My Fair Lazy: One Reality Television Addict’s Attempt to Discover If Not Being A Dumb Ass Is the New Black, or, a Culture-Up Manifesto
Author: Jen Lancaster
Release Date: May 4, 2010
Publisher: NAL Hardcover
Genre: Memoir, Non-Fiction
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
In her fifth memoir, Jen Lancaster attempts to amend her steady diet of reality TV shows with some elements of culture. She attends the theatre, watches opera (on the TV, but it still counts!), dines at new restaurants, and goes to dance recitals in what she terms her “Jenaissance.”
I’ve read and enjoyed all of Jen Lancaster’s books (reviews of Such a Pretty Fat and Pretty in Plaid), so I was very excited to read her new memoir, My Fair Lazy. I was looking forward to the subject matter – I think culture is important, and was looking forward to Jen’s snarky thoughts on it.
Well, I have to admit, I had some trouble with the first part of the memoir. At the beginning, Jen has the unenviable task of making the reader understand why the “Jenaissance” was so crucial and why she needed it so badly. As a result, she comes across as a bit unappealing. Please note, I’m not saying she actually is that way – it’s just that it was necessary in order to help readers see how she feels sometimes, and why she wanted to inject culture into her life. Additionally, Jen is a reality TV addict, and I don’t watch much reality TV, so her constant penchant for talking about reality TV in social situations didn’t really sit well with me (as it didn’t with her either – hence the “Jenaissance.”)
I have to say, though, I absolutely loved where Jen took her quest. She went to the theatre and ended up becoming something of an expert, made herself eat things that seemed unpalatable in the name of culture (stinky cheese, anyone?), and was even complimented by a sommelier on her knowledge of Italian wines. She was determined to bring some culture into her life, at almost any cost. It is that spiritedness that I really admired in Such a Pretty Fat and was thrilled to see emerge again.
I also adored Jen’s comments on culture. It doesn’t have to be snobby or pretentious – you can go to the theatre one night and sit at home on the couch watching trashy TV the next. It’s all about exposing yourself to new things and figuring out what you enjoy, on your own terms. At the same time, just because someone says something is supposed to be high culture doesn’t necessarily mean you have to (or will) enjoy it!
I really enjoyed My Fair Lazy – the main quest was really interesting, and her asides were, as always, fun and amusing (although her story about her pets broke my heart more than a little.) Jen Lancaster has a great wit, and proves with this book that she is as smart as she is funny. I definitely recommend this one for both her fans, as well as new readers!