Bright Lights, Big Ass: A Self-Indulgent, Surly, Ex-Sorority Girl's Guide to Why It Often Sucks in the City, or Who Are These Idiots and Why Do They All Live Next Door to Me?
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Bright Lights, Big Ass: A Self-Indulgent, Surly, Ex-Sorority Girl's Guide to Why It Often Sucks in the City, or Who Are These Idiots and Why Do They All Live Next Door to Me?

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  21,284 ratings  ·  1,496 reviews
Jen Lancaster hates to burst your happy little bubble, but life in the big city isn't all it's cracked up to be. Contrary to what you see on TV and in the movies, most urbanites aren't party-hopping in slinky dresses and strappy stilettos. But lucky for us, Lancaster knows how to make the life of the lower crust mercilessly funny and infinitely entertaining.

Whether she's...more
Paperback, 380 pages
Published May 1st 2007 by NAL Trade
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Bright Lights, Big Ass, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Bright Lights, Big Ass

Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie KinsellaCan You Keep a Secret? by Sophie KinsellaBridget Jones's Diary by Helen FieldingSomething Borrowed by Emily GiffinThe Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella
Favorite Chick-Lit
101st out of 1,416 books — 3,606 voters
Bossypants by Tina FeyIs Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy KalingLet's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny  LawsonAre You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea by Chelsea HandlerMy Horizontal Life by Chelsea Handler
Funny Women Memoirs
14th out of 167 books — 680 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Sep 06, 2007 Bonnie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone with a sense of humor.
Shelves: comedicmemoir
I'm a little late to the Jen Lancaster party...I picked up this book from the "New in Paperback!" section of Barnes and Noble on a whim one night when I was bored and desperately searching for something to read that I hadn't already perused a million times.

I realized quickly (because it says so on the cover) that there was ANOTHER one of these books out there...a predecessor, if you will...but I decided to stick with what I had, and go grab the first book if I liked this one. Luckily, with these...more
Nov 22, 2007 Laura rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: NO ONE
I really hated this book. It is supposed to an accurate depiction of the author, so I suppose I can say, I hate Jen Lancaster. She is lazy, self absorbed, petty, jealous, rude, and worse, hypocritical. She is the worst kind of woman. She is educated, yet one would never know it considering how small her world view is. Yes, it is all about her.
Jul 28, 2007 Lisa rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: no one, really
I allowed a humorous title and promising amazon blurb to build up my expectations for this dreary collection of essays.

OK, irritating point #1: In one of the first essays, there's this guy from Texas who refers to everybody, including people in the second person singular, as "y'all." I've lived in various parts of the Southeastern U.S. and have yet to meet anyone who does this (unless it's a southerner imitating a non-southerner attempting a southern dialect--a la "Steel Magnolias.")

Wait, I'll...more
Jan 09, 2009 Amy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: memoirs
OK, I went back and forth on this one. Sometimes I found her mean spirited, shallow, and just a plain pain in the ass. (As well as way too conservative in her political leanings for me. An Ann Coulter fan????? OMG!...but that's beside the point.) Regardless, the good outweighs the bad in my opinion. This lady is freakin' hilarious! There are times when you cannot keep yourself from busting out laughing. If you are in a public place, people are bound to think that you are a nut! I think perhaps m...more
Wow, I thought I liked Bitter is the New Black but it's got nothing on this book. I was laughing out loud in the first chapter. I have grown fond of Jen Lancaster and can see a bit of myself in her.

There are so many great one-liners in this book and I hope there are more books to follow.
I would have rated this book higher, but the author had to rave about Ann Coulter. After that paragraph I had to throw up a little and stop reading. I'm not sure why you'd love Anne considering she says women shouldn't vote, liberals hate America, and that the 911 widows were vultures. I might try Jen Lancaster in the future she doesn't mention her love the spawn of Satan.
Andrea Guy
This book was so funny I hurt myself laughing in several places. Jen Lancaster really recounts parts of her life in a hilarious fashion.

She's one of those people that you love to laugh at, with and about. I'd almost want her to be my best friend, if not for her political leanings. Sorry, I can't trust anyone that enjoys reading Ann Coulter. It really makes me question her sanity. Same could be said about a certain lady that was in the running for VP, but I digress. After I got past all the littl...more
When I finished this book, I thought, "How did this get published?" The book made me feel like I could just write down a bunch of my random thoughts and daily interactions, bind them together and call them a book. There were some funny moments but overall I felt like reading the book was a waste of time.

My biggest problem with the book was I feel like it was exaggerated. I live in Chicago so I've had my share of run-ins with crazy people on the bus, inappropriate PDA and eccentric neighbors. I u...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I liked this book SO much more than Bitter is the New Black. In fact, I was reading it in the lobby of a resort hotel (I was beginning to feel confined in my room and on my balcony) when I came to a particularly funny part and began to laugh uncontrollably. Of course, I didn't want people to know that I was laughing over a book, so I tried to restrain myself. The result was that now the patrons walking by probably thought that I was having a seizure. To their credit, no one stopped to see if I n...more
Nothing like driving to work listening to an audio book and laughing all the way there. I pretty much had to stop listening to this while at work because the sudden snorts and "HA!'s" were making people look at me funny. (Bless my co-workers hearts that they didn't think me a nutball - they already KNOW that - but were curious about what I was listening to since my knitting podcasts don't tend to cause such a reaction from me.) And I admit - although it made walking on my treadmill fun - I would...more
Very disappointing follow-up to the book "Bitter is the New Black"
I couldn't even finish this book since I just got so sick of the main character's incessant ranting about nothing important. In the first book, there was actually a plot and the ranting was hilarious, but by the 2nd book, it's clear that she's basically just trying to make more money and writing another book even though there's no real substance.
The only reason I kept reading is because she lives in my neighborhood and we apparently shop at the same Target and go to the same doctor's office. If I ever run into her in Logan Square I will tell her to stop? with the question marks in the middle of sentences and quit using footnotes to point out stupid puns.
Also, she should have stayed on the Blue Line to get to the library instead of transferring.
Felicia A
Jen Lancaster is a spoiled, racist, elitist, immature, bratty, Republican leaning, foul mouthed narcissistic arsehole, who is completely in love with herself. Worse, she thinks a) everyone else is too and b) if they're not, something is clearly wrong with them. That said, she is funny as hell.

But she? Writes like this. Even though? She complains when someone else does. So she? Apparently believes that she is allowed to do things that others are not. And that? Kind of proves my point about how mu...more
Finally a chick lit book written about living in Chicago instead of NYC or London! I really enjoyed this book--probably a little bit of that has to do with the fact that she shops at the same Target and Trader Joes as me, is obsessed with Borders, and includes detailed accounts of riding the CTA. Her relationship with her husband and pets is also pretty funny. I can't count the number of times I laughed out loud.

The cons are that she does a few really annoying things which is why I had to do th...more
There were so many quotable and funny quotes in here, I would be jotting down the whole book. I love this writer! This isn’t a novel with characters and plot. This is Jen’s actual life on paper. It takes someone special to be able to put all of her thoughts and adventures in writing like she does. I loved the chapter on Rachel Ray. I have a couple of her cookbooks and I have tried several of her recipes and liked them. But, I would never be caught dead sitting in front of the TV watching her sho...more
It was a cute book, I would probably try some of her other books just to see. It was fun and I enjoyed it, but she comes off as a bit of a slob and snob at the same time...which seems impossible. She seems incredibly self obsessed, but that is in the title so its to be expected. She steamrolls over folks for humors sake and mostly its pretty funny, but Im not sure I could read a lot of her work if its all like might get grating. He right wing politics and love for Ann Coulter are a lit...more
I don't really like to use goodread's 5 star rating that often, because there aren't many books that I find "amazing." I was a little reluctant to use it for this book, because I don't want to imply that it's literary genius or anything - I just thought it was a really funny book that I was able to lose myself in for a few hours.

The book is basically a collection of essays about her life. She adds in her two cents to everything and includes witty footnotes. This will never be called great liter...more
Lori Whitwam
I LOVED "Bitter is the New Black," and this is Jen Lancaster's follow-up memoir. Also check out! Good for a great laugh every day!

Oh, Jen, thanks for making everyday things as well as ordinary things freakin' HILARIOUS!

Now, having finished it, I have to say it's a bit less satisfying than the first book. In that one, there was more of a "novel" feel to it, as we followed Jen's progress from 200K-plus VP job to extended unemployment, relocation, and new levels of self-awareness (...more
...don't give a sh*t.

That sums up my feelings for this book. Please do yourself a favor and read Bitter is the New Black. She is so much better when she has a purpose. This was mostly "blah" about city life along with a tiny bit of temp work because her first book hasn't come out yet. It was funny in parts, even though I threw it across the room (figuratively because the copy I read belonged to my dear friend Kimberly) when she mentioned reading Ann Coulter. Out of her first three books (i have...more
I just started this book and am loving it so far. I'm about 100 pages in and have been in tears 3-4 times already.
After reading:

I gave this bok 5 stars b/c it was hilarious. There were multiple times I was in tears b/c of it. It wasn't amazing in an earth-shattering kind of way, but I thoroughly enjoyed it anyway. It helps that I'm in Chicago, but I think lots of people will find it funny. My favorite scene is when she's in the doctor's office dealing w/ the paper robe.
Aug 14, 2007 Poppy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: women
Jen Lancaster's sophomore effort, which, since this is a memoir, is about the period in her life after she sold and then wrote Bitter is the New Black.

Amazingly enough, as a published author, Jen still needs to make a living. The book opens with the funniest job interview ever recorded, and closes with her entering a book store and discovering a table full of copies of Bitter.

A fun, fast, read.
This is my second Jen Lancaster book, and I enjoyed it even more than the first one (Bitter Is the New Black). A rollicking memoir by a very funny but bitchy lady, Bright Lights, Big Ass is a bit more free-wheeling than her first memoir, and I think it suits her material and style better. And what style is that? Smart-assessedness mixed with lots of footnotes combined with superiority and leavened with a smidge of humility. It amazes me that someone who was born in the same year as me (1967) has...more
LM Yellow
I saw this on a conservative friend's reading list and the title intrigued me. I think I Googled just enough to see it was chick
lit. Also I succeeded in making my husband squirm when he picked it up from the library which is
always a bonus. You should have heard the rant from when we were dating and he found
Memories of the My Melancholy Whores under his name on the hold shelf. So I guess I
must have liked the book, because I subsequently read the next two books she has written
and I am conside...more
Absolutely no plot, intrigue, or anything else that typically defines a good book, but wow- snappily witty as h-e-double-hockey-sticks clever dialogue for days! The kind of stuff you want to say and think of in retort but it only occurs to you way too late, and is never really as good as Lancaster's. Jealous.

*(Warning: Lancaster's descriptions of the numerous and heart-stopping foods/drinks of which she partakes and dreams will have you running to the kitchen every 10 minutes.)

**(Second warnin...more
Travelling Cari
Yep, another literary treasure from Jen Lancaster, who also wrote Bitter is the New Black, which hit the shelves at the tail end of when she was writing this book. I bought this at the end of August but apparently had never registered it. Whoops.

Apart from? her annoying habit of random question marks (while at the same time railing on those who use LOL), this book was pretty good. Some interesting bits:

-very surprised she calls herself a republican. Politics don't play a huge part in the book b...more
Aug 30, 2007 Samantha rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: unintellectual yuppie wannabe cool kids i.e. no one I would ever interact with
Aside from the fact that this funny book isn't very funny, it lacks any sort of focus and doesn't go anywhere. Great humor could have saved it but Lancaster's jokes all feel extremely forced, and I obviously didn't find them nearly as funny as she did as she laughed at herself. I have actually been a victim of this kind of self-conscious, attempt at humor in some of my own writing in the past and nothing makes me cringe more than reading back over those essays. Lancaster clearly needs a new edit...more
Jan 29, 2014 Gail rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: comedy
If you’re looking for something light and fun, this is a pretty good option. It was pretty funny in a she's such a bitch/did she really just say that kind of way.
Why did I even open this when I disliked Bitter is the New Black, was bored with Pretty in Plaid?...but I had gotten four books by her at once from the library and I had enjoyed one of them. This one was moderately entertaining until I reached the chapter where she praises Ann Coulter, seems to want to be her bestie, and at the same time ridicules the appearance of another woman who criticized the Ann Coulter book (the execrable one where she trashes 911 widows). That was it for me. No more Jen...more
I really and truly LOVE Jen Lancaster. Mostly because she is me, minus frequent use of ye ole "F Word." Bright Lights was literally laugh out loud funny and some of the stories of her misadventures made me laugh so hard it hurt.
My favorite thing about reading Lancaster's books is that I feel like I'm sitting at lunch with a friend sharing stories of our ridiculous lives. I relate SO well to her interactions with her husband, the consequences of having no internal dialogue and her deliciously sn...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Favorite Jen Lancaster Book 12 51 Jun 05, 2012 01:19PM  
Chick Lit Book Club: Jen Lancaster: 2) Bright Lights 16 21 Mar 08, 2010 02:46AM  
  • The Idiot Girl and the Flaming Tantrum of Death: Reflections on Revenge, Germophobia, and Laser Hair Removal
  • Save Karyn: One Shopaholic's Journey to Debt and Back
  • Belle Weather: Mostly Sunny with a Chance of Scattered Hissy Fits
  • Good Enough to Eat
  • It's All Relative: Two Families, Three Dogs, 34 Holidays, and 50 Boxes of Wine (A Memoir)
  • Bringing Home the Birkin: My Life in Hot Pursuit of the World's Most Coveted Handbag
  • The Next Big Thing
  • Conversations With the Fat Girl
  • The Solomon Sisters Wise Up (Red Dress Ink)
  • It's Not Me, It's You: Subjective Recollections from a Terminally Optimistic, Chronically Sarcastic and Occasionally Inebriated Woman
  • But Enough About Me: A Jersey Girl's Unlikely Adventures Among the Absurdly Famous
  • Target Underwear and a Vera Wang Gown: Notes from a Single Girl's Closet
Jen Lancaster is the author of her own memoirs including: as Bitter is the New Black, Bright Lights, Big Ass, Such A Pretty Fat, Pretty in Plaid, My Fair Lazy, and the newest: Jeneration X.

She has also dabbled with fiction in her first book, If You Were Here.
More about Jen Lancaster...
Bitter Is the New Black: Confessions of a Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self-Centered Smartass, Or, Why You Should Never Carry A Prada Bag to the Unemployment Office Such a Pretty Fat: One Narcissist's Quest to Discover if Her Life Makes Her Ass Look Big, or Why Pie is Not the Answer Pretty in Plaid: A Life, a Witch, and a Wardrobe, or, the Wonder Years Before the Condescending, Egomanical, Self-Centered Smart-Ass Phase 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 If You Were Here

Share This Book

“I yearn to be a woman of more depth, but I'm not so fond of the path I'd need to follow to get there.” 42 likes
“Really? If I could hate my trainer? That would be ideal. I'd prefer to despise this person with the fire of ten thousand suns. So when I walk - nay, crawl - out of here at the end of my workouts, I want to lull myself to sleep by picturing my very talented and inspirational trainer getting hit by a bus. A bus that I am driving.” 11 likes
More quotes…