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The Tao of Martha: My Year of LIVING; Or, Why I'm Never Getting All That Glitter Off of the Dog

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  9,032 ratings  ·  1,141 reviews
One would think that with Jen Lancaster’s impressive list of bestselling self-improvement memoirs—Bitter Is the New Black; Bright Lights, Big Ass; Such a Pretty Fat; Pretty in Plaid; My Fair Lazy; and Jeneration X—that she would have it all together by now.

One would be wrong.

Jen’s still a little rough around the edges. Suffice it to say, she’s no Martha Stewart. And that
Hardcover, 335 pages
Published June 4th 2013 by NAL (first published June 1st 2013)
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Start your review of The Tao of Martha: My Year of LIVING; Or, Why I'm Never Getting All That Glitter Off of the Dog
I worship Martha Stewart.

I see her as our nation's overachieving older sister. Like, I might resent her a tiny bit, but mostly I'm in awe of how she makes everything look so damn easy.

I've been called the "Martha Stewart of Central Pennsylvania" more than once. (Okay - twice.) Both times were by book club members impressed with my table laden with sumptuous desserts, and my impeccably decorated house. Little did they suspect that the desserts started life as boxes of cake and brownie mix, and t
Jun 24, 2013 rated it liked it
This is a humorous memoir about the year Jen Lancaster tried to be like Martha Stewart. She focused on getting her house organized, throwing festive parties, doing crafts and spending more time baking.

"I realize Martha Stewart isn't everyone's icon, but she is mine. I love her because instead of lording her superior skills over everyone and making them feel bad about themselves, she's out there breaking it all down for even the least talented among us."

Jen was inspired by Gretchen Rubin's year-l
Kim Weiss
Jun 08, 2013 rated it it was ok
This is my least favorite Lancaster book. It's like it's written by a different person. Her debut memoir "Bitter is the New Black" is my favorite memoir because of Jen's snarky writing style AND the conflict in the situations of the book. Sadly, most people have been unemployed and frustrated in looking for a job. Even if Jen's sarcasm was occasionally grating, she and her also- unemployed husband were still sympathetic characters. Ten years later--not so much. There's no conflict, and Jen's wri ...more
Jun 13, 2013 rated it liked it
it was kind of sobering to read this book & realize that cranking out a humorous memoir every year has enabled jen to buy a pretty fancy house with extra bedrooms & a great room, fifty rosebushes, & an in-ground swimming pool, & hire her husband as her assistant, & still have money leftover to outfit a prepper den in her basement, pay for several years of oncology for her dog, & drop money on random shit like duvet covers & multiple christmas trees. i had no idea that the publishing industry was ...more
Jen Lancaster is fantastic. I discovered her long after the Bitter Is The New Black days, but eagerly devoured her entire catalog faster than you can say "beloved pit pulls." I find her wit hilarious and refreshing, and she's an author I love so fiercely that I'll pick up her latest without even reading the book's summary.

So it was with The Tao of Martha, though the subject of Jen's stunt memoir is clear from the title. In an effort to clean up her rough edges, Jen embarks on a quest to channel
Jun 11, 2013 rated it liked it
I am a huge Jen Lancaster fan who gives 5 stars to all of her books...until this one. While 'The Tao of Martha' is still a good book and one I'll re-read again I'm sure, it wasn't by far Jen's best effort. I read other fans' reviews on here to see what the general consensus was and it was verifying to read that I wasn't the only Jen fan disappointed in this novel for a variety of similar reasons.
A big reason why I think Jen's works are so successful is because of her realness, her down-to-earth
Aug 16, 2013 rated it it was ok
I've never been a Martha fan, but I like Jen Lancaster, so I got this book. It's just okay. There are a few funny parts, but most of it is hard for the average reader to relate to. For example, when Jen wants to have a party, she calls people to clean the house and pool, takes linens to the dry cleaners, and shops at Williams-Sonoma and Whole Foods. When Jen wants to "garden", her "rose guy" doesn't show her how to prune the sixty rose plants she already has; instead, he plants her a "cutting ga ...more
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

'...ready or not, happiness, here I come.'

Organization = happiness? That's what Jen Lancaster has set out to prove. Her life is in dire need of some organization not just within her house but in her life in general and she thinks that in doing so she'll be less stressful and have more happiness. She decides to emulate the Queen of Organization: Martha Stewart. The Tao of Martha is her personal accounting of incorporating Martha's ideals into her daily life, both when it
Well. I think I would like Jen Lancaster in person, all her bubbly self deprecatory, pitbull loving self. I think.
And because I think I'd like Jen, if she were really my cool friend who was struggling with trying to emulate Martha, I'd likely be on the sidelines cheering and determined to give her five stars: one for the pitbulls, one for the effort, one for the small bits of humor, one for her attempts at honesty, and one just because.

But it's really a 3 star book for me, sorry.

Now, true confes
Apr 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
When I see Jen's books on my "picks" for Amazon Vine, I do a happy dance because there are few authors that I look forward to as much as her. I've especially missed her over the past year or so since her blog posts have been waning and her Ambien fueled twitter binges have seemed to come to a stop (the reason behind this is explained in this book BTW). While she's still "out there" and has had a few wars on Facebook she's not been around so much and she's definitely a person that I can always co ...more
Jun 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: chick-lit, memoir, humor
I've read several of Jen Lancaster's books and she is very funny. This one is also touching (I won't give away the reason why). In this book she decided to devote a year of her life to living like Martha Stewart. The most important lesson she learned (or as she puts it - the Tao of Martha) is "the only way to fail is not to try." Words to live by! ...more
Jan 05, 2014 rated it it was ok
I like Jen Lancaster. I really do. I read BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG ASS and I thought it was a very fun read. She was charming and sassy, and I liked reading about her take on life. I still liked her while reading THE TAO OF MARTHA, where she aims to get happy by living like Martha Stewart for a year, but this book absolutely reeks of "I'll come up with some precious thing to do for a whole year so I have something to write another book about." Lancaster is at her best when the ridiculous things of lif ...more
Lisa Ahlstedt
May 31, 2013 rated it it was ok
I had read some of Jen Lancaster's books before, so I was familiar with her humorous writing style. I was also pleased with the cover of the book, which promised an experiment of living the Martha way which wouldn't quite work out. That was the truth, to an extent, but overall I wasn't pleased with the book.

The first few chapters were entertaining. She does have a very funny way of writing and her good intentions didn't always turn out as planned. However, toward the middle of the book, things r
Beth Knight
Oct 28, 2013 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Susan Bischoff
Jun 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is so not my usual thing, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it.
PLEASE NOTE: This is NOT a book in which the author guides you through the steps she took to live a more Martha-esque lifestyle. There's very little of a how-to nature here, and if you go into it looking for or expecting that, you may be disappointed. Read it for what it is, a memoir of the year in the life of woman determined to make herself happy while dealing with the first-world problems many of us allow to bring us
Jun 28, 2013 rated it it was ok
Odd. Jen Lancaster has made an industry of writing snarky memoirs but she's running out of material. Here she takes on a year long project to imitate Martha Stewart's style and try to find the secrets to happiness through domestic prowess. I did appreciate that Lancaster is respectful of Stewart's ideology, which is actually about reaching for elegance with ease and reviving traditional methods, rather than the fussiness or perfection that Stewart's critics misunderstand her to promote. But ente ...more
Jun 10, 2013 rated it liked it
Not my favorite of her memoirs, did not cause any embarrassing laughing so hard I could not read moments as her past books have - but still enjoyable. A bit heavy on what felt like product placement though - if these companies are not paying her for all the mentions, they should be.
Feb 03, 2019 rated it liked it
A very funny lady who tries to become like Martha Steward. She goes overboard on everything. Can anyone be Clone of Martha Steward. Yes if you have all the background help. Yet I enjoyed the story and will read more of Jen Lancaster.
Jan 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
All my reviews and contests! (oooo) are listed here Slave to Books

Okay, I’ve got a disclaimer I should probably make. I honestly LOVE Jen Lancaster. I was introduced to her books shortly after the premiere of Bitter is the New Black by a friend of mine I’ve long since lost touch with. The introduction to the book was simply, “You need to read her. It’s like an entire book written by someone i believe is your clone. Her personality and yours are almost exactly alike.”

Hmmm? To think there are more
Nov 12, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: memoir-bio, audiobook
2.5 stars - It was alright, an average book.

Though I have a few by her, this is the first book I have actually read by Jen Lancaster, and other reviewers mention it is not her strongest book. With that in mind, I will eventually give her another go one day.

For the most part this was just discussion around a lot of first world problems with thousands of examples of how people can be wasteful with money. There were a lot of predictable and formulaic, but not funny, jokes (i.e., Dallas is mentione
Sep 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book was funny. It had me laughing out loud at work, which is frowned upon, but I couldn't help it. I work in a very quiet environment. Jen Lancaster wrote about her year of channeling Martha Stewart into her life. It was a fun read. I liked that she talked about her husband and her animals in a way that was endearing but yet it still seemed honest. This is 5 stars because I would read this again. She had some great one-liners. ...more
Apr 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: amazon-vine, 2013, arc

In Lancaster's latest memoir, we learn how the Thundercats came to be, the loss of Maisy (I got a bit misty at this part) and the abuse she doles out to poor Fletch. I did get the impression that Fletch laughs at her behind her back at times and it is so refreshing to read that this pair are truly in love. I am also glad to know that she didn't buy her house because of the gun cabinet. I do follow her blog, so some of these stories were hinted at there, but when yo
Jun 26, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Wanted a summer read, and after seeing the author on a morning program, got this on a whim.
First: Very enjoyable light reading, and laugh-out-loud funny in places. As another Goodreads reviewer has pointed out, it’s not actually a treatise on “how to organize your life Martha-style,” but it was well done. No regrets; it was what I wanted.
Second: Turns out, the author lives just down the road from my hometown. I enjoyed the occasional references to familiar places. Lovely nostalgia!
Third: A pot
J.H. Moncrieff
Mar 21, 2018 rated it liked it
2.5 stars

This was a tough one to review. On one hand, I really loved this book. It made me laugh out loud several times, and it even made me cry (some of the chapters about Maisey were heartbreaking). However, as much as I'm not one to throw around phrases like "white privilege," the unnecessary spending, hoarding, and obsession with trivial things described in this book made my skin crawl.

It was like a real-life account of Kinsella's Shopaholic series, which I used to love until I realized they
Jun 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Jen Lancaster is one of my favorite authors. I love the sarcastic wit, the funny stories that make me laugh like crazy, and the crazy stories of animals gone awry. With this iteration, it felt like reconnecting with an old friend. She shared her funny stories, her tales of health concerns, and the pain in losing a loved one that had me in tears. After the recycled blog posts of a book (Jeneration X) it felt good to read original stories again. As many have mentioned, the footnotes are gone, whic ...more
Jul 13, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Let me preface this by telling you how much I luuuuuuuuv Martha Stewart. I love her shows, her books, her blogs, her products, all of it ! Anytime I am throwing a party or hosting even the smallest of lunches I browse her website looking for new ideas and delicious recipes and she never fails me!
Now, I don't know much about Jen Lancaster but I stumbled upon a video of her promotion for this book a while back and thought it sounded funny enough. I mean the author is a sarcastic queen and what's m
Diane Younker
Aug 09, 2013 rated it it was ok
I laughed out loud at Bitter is the New Black, but enjoyed each memoir a little less after. The Tao of Martha is not funny, and reads like it was written quickly and not proofread very carefully. Some examples: "This looks like a plane wreck," "I'm sure other husbands have also stepped in to take over at the grill when his wife was...," "Wendy's silent on the other end of the phone." Thankfully I borrowed this from the library so the only thing I wasted was my time. ...more
Jul 30, 2013 rated it it was ok
"The Tao of Martha: Or How I Sold a Bunch of Books Using Someone Else Fame". Simultaneously jumping onto the "Year of Living" trend (see The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible and many, many others) and clinging remora-like to Martha Stewart's brand name, conservative blogger Jen Lancaster is back with more stories about her (1) pets, (2) butt and (3) party-planning in order of reference frequency. Do friends' stories about their pets ...more
Not bad, but given how long it takes me to finish audiobooks (my commute is just not that long), I wondered several times why I was sticking with it. I'm just not the kind of person to appreciate a Martha Stewart-based lifestyle, honestly. I got the impression from the publisher's blurb that it was going to be kind of a joke—because who really needs to spend time on "artfully displayed charcuterie platters," right?

But Lancaster is totally sincere in her adherence to Martha's "Tao." And the thin
Sep 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was so much fun to listen to while I was doing yard chores. Jen Lancaster makes me laugh and I love that she tells about her failures and her successes while she has her year of learning the tao of Martha. I would have loved to have watched the egg blowing episode, although cleaning up after it would not have been fun or been at her house on Halloween. I love how she and her husband have all these crazy pets and they do their best to care for them. I'm going to have to see if I can become a ...more
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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.

Related Articles

Lancaster shared with Goodreads her favorite books that both revel in and rip off popular culture.
30 likes · 5 comments
“I would rather receive a Pap smear from Captain Hook than venture out on New Year's Eve.” 21 likes
“Actually, I believe there are only two kinds of women in this world: Martha people and Oprah people. That doesn’t mean one can’t have an affinity for both of them, but my theory is that every chick is more firmly in one camp than the other. The typical Oprah woman is all self-actualized and best-life-y and Eat, Pray, Love. The Big O seems like the kind of gal who’d insist we all spend the afternoon wearing jammy pants. And how fun would that be?!

But Martha?

She’s not putting up with that nonsense, and that makes me adore her all the more. She’ll tell you what to eat, where to pray, and who to love, and I appreciate the guidance.”
More quotes…