I’ve read all of Jen Lancaster’s books. The minute I see a new title coming out, I immediately order it and buy it. I’m a loyal fan and find her brand of crass candor refreshing to the max. (PS- I have no idea what the hell that whole sentence means). So, I’m a fan. I often have to remove myself from the fandom to post an objective review. Not hard when it’s a book that’s entertaining, laugh-out loud funny, and thought provoking at the same time. This one has all three. Great job, Ms. Lancaster. (PS- still waiting for Fletch to write a book. I’m a fan of your husband..and NO, not in the way that entire sentence sounds).
This time around, Jen is writing her bucket list. She has a girls’ weekend in Savannah and comes to the horrifying realization that she is MIDDLE-AGED(I hear ya!). This leads to her deciding to make a bucket list and Carpe Diem! and all that crap… so Jen begins to make her list, check it twice, and learn to ride a bike. And learn Italian, attempt a juice cleanse, start a new business, and training for a 5K. As always, I laughed at a lot of this, and yet not as much as I have laughed in the past. I think she spent a lot of time in this book going off on social media. Face it, it’s not going away anytime soon. And if you are a published author, radio personality, actor, or anyone in the public eye, social media can be an impenetrable tool as far as getting the word out about your talent and your passion. This is something I feel very strongly about. That’s why blogging is important. If reviewers didn’t do blogs for products coming out, how would the word get out? There’s a fine line between appreciating that powerful tool and depreciating it. Parts of this book, it seems like Jen would rather not have any part of this at all. There’s quite a story about someone on Facebook going nuclear over something that she joked about. And that probably, maybe, had something to do with her displeasure, but come on, you take the good with the bad. The same can be said about parts of her book. The other real irritating thing is that Jen goes out of her way to get the word “Sidebar” put into contention for “word of the year”. It becomes a very distracting word and expression she overuses throughout the book. I don’t quite understand how this sharp, hilarious woman would need to go to such a drastic extent with overuse of that word. Again, all little things. In the overall picture, I still loved the book.
With age comes wisdom. So they say. I agree with this, and obviously Jen does as well, because she spends a lot of time talking about things that happened in the past, as well as things that happen in the present. Although, hence the title- she regrets nothing. I kept thinking “the way she wrote these chapters, there certainly seems to be an emotion strongly resembling regret in several parts of the book.” So, therein lies the rub. I love the book, and laughed, and thought it fantastic that parts of what she addresses in her bucket list are mirroring a few things I’m doing- or more accurately, thinking of doing- in my life. She buys a bike and learns to ride it. Nicole has been after me to get the bike out of my shed and start riding that (since I’m on this weight loss journey/healthy lifestyle/gym crapola). I daresay that by the end of the week, that motherfucker is going to be out of the shed and I will be riding it. Jen tries a juice cleanse; I had been contemplating it after the chick at the gym who does the Zumba was talking to me about its benefits (that option? Highly unlikely, in terms of full disclosure). The 5K? I’m thinking of taking up running. Something that Darren, Raz, and Juneda are encouraging me to do- because they’re all doing it (and we’re all in that same age group, although I think J is behind us ten years or so). And it’s likely something that I’m going to enjoy, as well as being healthy. Also the line “Sorry doesn’t work for me”? Brilliant- and becoming more true by the day! See, here’s the thing- you could do shit in your twenties and thirties and most of the time skate by, but when you hit 40 and start climbing upward, you examine things a lot more closely. You don’t just jump into shit- or if you do, more often than not, you regret it. Regret. Not only a great New Order song (top 5), but definitely what I felt Jen was trying to tell us. That eventually you may feel it seep into your bones, and in the forties, well, they ache and you sometimes do as well. Life is to be lived, and Jen is trying to do that and accomplish her bucket list- and more power to her for it! I loved that spirit, and love that spirit, and I am trying so hard to incorporate parts of what she’s written about here, and I hope I succeed in some capacity, as she has. I also hope, again, that she gets Fletch to write a book. So, I don’t regret reading this book. I don’t regret only giving it 4 stars, because parts of it just didn’t strike chords but rather broken strings. I don’t regret recommending it to people, because she’s still hysterical and makes many a valid point. I just think that the word “Sidebar” needs to be stricken from her written record.