Jen Lancaster accomplished the nearly impossible task of turning her hilarious blog, Jennsylvania, into a successful book. Since Bitter Is the New Black was published in 2006, she's penned six more memoirs and three novels. Bitter is her tale of losing her lucrative finance job in Chicago and learning some seriously humbling lessons along the way. While it warmed my heart to see her ditch her snotty attitude as the book progressed, it was her spot-on observations of city life made me roar with laughter. Jen Lancaster is the friend who says out loud the things you wish you would have said.
Her follow-ups to Bitter have covered many aspects of pop culture: the arrested development of her peers in Jeneration X, a year-long attempt to imitate perfect home-maker Ms. Stewart in The Tao of Martha and body image in Such A Pretty Fat. As time has passed, she's retained her amusing sarcasm but gained a lot of empathy for her fellow humans.
It's even more unusual that a memoir writer can successfully transition to novels, but she's done it. If You Were Here finds a fictional version of Jen and her husband buying a house on the North Shore to pursue their ideal life that's right out of a John Hughes film. Their fix-me-up becomes a nightmare that tests their marriage and sanity. Any fans of 80s films will chuckle at the plentiful pop culture references. The title itself refers to a song that plays during a pivotal kissing scene in Sixteen Candles.
Her books are fun page-turners that will make you laugh at the end of a tough day. Here's a complete list.