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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
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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

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  46,474 ratings  ·  4,281 reviews
This is the story of how a haughty former sorority girl went from having a household income of almost a quarter-million dollars to being evicted from a ghetto apartment... It's a modern Greek tragedy, as defined by Roger Dunkle in The Classical Origins of Western Culture: a story in which "the central character, called a tragic protagonist or hero, suffers some serious mis ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published March 7th 2006 by NAL
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Start your review of 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
Jul 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own
I've read the other reviews of this book and was horrified what people had to say about Jen. This book is real life. It shows that despite all the ups and downs in life, it's possible to still have a sense of humor. Jen went from (as people say) a "bitchy stuck up rich snob" to an unemployed, insuranceless penny pincher and still managed to see the humor in her life. I think just about every woman can relate to her in one way or another at some point in their life. Whether it's about gaining wei ...more
Jul 12, 2007 rated it did not like it
I tried to get through it, but I found Jen Lancaster horrendous. Obviously the title warned me she was going to be a bit annoying, but I assumed she would eventually tone down and figure out that she was a bad person. After realizing she was cruel for no reason, I assumed she would redeem herself. I couldn't bring myself to actually finish the book because I hated it so much, and kept cringing, so I don't know if she gets better or not. For the most part, she just keeps patting herself on the ba ...more
Nov 11, 2007 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one who has a brain
Ok. I can not yet determine what makes me more angry- the fact that Jennifer wrote this book and how egotistical and boring she is, or the fact that I bought this ridiculous “memoir” about her pathetic life. I kept waiting for it to get interesting, for my mind to buy into her musings. But the more I read the more annoyed I became. I wish I could give her some type of accolade, like the book was horrible but she is a good writer, but there is not one good thing I have to say. The first chapter s ...more
Nov 10, 2007 rated it did not like it
The subtitle should actually be "Or, Why Blogs Are Not Books". The writing is ludicrously bad at times, the "characters" are all thoroughly unlikeable, and I've seen greater degrees of self-awareness emerge among pre-verbal children. And to make matters worse, the snark seems forced and mostly unfunny.
Martha Wewer
Apr 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Beach bunnies and vacationers
Shelves: chick-lit
This book is totally and completely pure entertainment. There is nothing deep and profound, no message about life...well...maybe there is a message...prehaps the message is that life is unexpected. Or maybe I am reading it at a time in my life when things are happening unexpectedly. I don't know. I needed a fun book and this was it. I thoroughly enjoyed how self-centered and self-involved the main character is and the descriptions of her life are, truly, laugh out loud funny. It would be a great ...more
Dec 26, 2007 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: nobody
This book was a total waste of time. I only read it to complete an assignment. A memoir written by a totally immature, obnoxious individual. I threw the book in the trash. It was not worth giving to The Friends of the library. I was a friend by not giving it to them.
Sep 21, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: chicklit
I think that this is my last "blog into book" that I plan to read. I've read a few now and it has finally sunk in that a good blog does not necessarily make a decent book. I live in Chicago and lived through the early 2000s lay-offs so I thought I'd really enjoy this book. It was eh. Some parts were very funny but overall the book was just sort of pointless. Bitch with lots of money becomes a bitch with less money. Not much growth to read about. Plus, the end parts where she begins to post her b ...more
Nov 14, 2007 rated it did not like it
I got this book from a very kind friend and read it while traveling. While it was somewhat amusing and had some funny parts, I did NOT like the main character. I thought she was self-serving and foolish for having no self-control. It is based off of the author's personal story and I appreciate what she has gone through but her antics were ridiculous. I couldn't identify and found the character very annoying.
Jul 07, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: every chick-lit fan
Jen Lancaster's style of writing best mirrors the interior monologue that I have ongoing in my life. While a memoir, I found myself laughing out loud and nodding my head in agreement throughout much of the book. Her wit and humor are so similar to my own and perhaps that is why I so thoroughly enjoyed the book. Her trials and tribulations as she jumped from the perils of WASPy upper-class to the brink of being evicted and collecting unemployment, left me rooting for her to succeed. Through her s ...more
Jun 15, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Real Women and Puffs
I loved the author and rooted for her the whole time I read the book. I LOVE that she's a bitch and says things often without considering how it's going to make others feel (especially since I am guilty of the same thing). I especially love the part where she tells off her terrible boss. I sympathized with her when she realizes that maybe a hair appointment is a luxury and not a necessity after all (been there, done that). The book had a casual and personal tone to it which made it easy to read ...more
Feb 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: tbr-2017
I ended up re-reading this book yesterday because I needed something to make me laugh. I have always gotten a kick out of Jen Lancaster's older memoirs and even though I know them by heart, I still laugh each time. I think my main take away at reading this again after several years of reading her latest memoirs is that her older memoirs were more honest and up front about her life and family. Nowadays it feels like she always keeps things back. And she mentioned in one of her memoirs she was est ...more
Don't look at the reviews before you read this book!

I didn't and I still liked the book. I didn't love it necessarily but I didn't hate it either. Okay, yes this book is funny at time but it also made me cringe a little bit now and then. Not like the ewww cringe but the omg she said and did that kind of cringe. I can't say that the book is completely perfect or a huge hot mess - it's just like any other book out there. They all have at least one flaw if not many.

I still enjoyed Bitter is the Ne
Oct 31, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: People looking for a good laugh
Recommended to Sashana by: Heather
Refreshing, blatantly honest, and funny. I'm tempted to leave this review at that but in the sake of getting the word out about this book I will say more. If you're faint of heart and completely delusional about the realities of life then I suggest you read something else.

Jen says what everyone is thinking and no one has the balls to say. Being a woman, she's obviously labeled a bitch. She lives a good life in an extravagant apartment, has a six figure salary, and is the VP at her company.But w
Oct 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Jen Lancaster fully admits that at the height of the dot-com boom (heck, in the years leading up to it, too) she was rather a demanding beyotch.

But after the American economy took a nose dive in the early '00s she and her husband Fletch both lost their well-paid jobs and had to downsize their life until they were living almost at the breadline, not knowing how they would pay their rent. Jen decided to blog about their troubles (yes, she's a blooker) and eventually this book was born...

Bitter Is
Lauren Cecile
Sep 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Hilarious, sarcastic and vividly candid. You can't stand her but you can't help rooting for her either. But there was satisfaction from seeing smug people get their comeuppance.
May 24, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of Laurie Notaro
HA! The bitch had it coming. By the title, you know that the author is condescending, egomaniacal, self centered and about to be unemployed.

But one can't help but laugh with Jen Lancaster, rather than at her. Somehow, this self absorbed PITA is endearing, probably because she says the things to idiots that we all want to say but are too couth to actually say.

I don't want to call this memoir a "coming of age" story, since Lancaster is already a "grown up" when the book begins, but it is in a lot
May 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
I first read this book in 2010, loved it, and read the rest of Jen's cleverly-titled memoirs in rapid succession. I decided to reread this on audio now while we moved houses. It was a great distraction while unpacking boxes!

Still enjoyable and I liked the narration. I appreciate how Jen and Fletch reluctantly had to take a walk in others' shoes when both were laid off and were forced to reevaluate what's important.
Sep 01, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Loni by: Kalie's Bookgroup
Ok! Maybe I wasn't in the mood for the "humor" of this book, but Jen totally frustrated me, and in the end I still thought "she didnt get it" ("It" being life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness- so to speak).. I am really glad that I borrowed this from the library instead of purchasing it and contributing to the bank account of the Condescending, Egomaniac, Self centered Smart A**!
Meg - A Bookish Affair
Dec 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010, memoir, biography, humor
Jen has a cushy job where she is on the fast track to success. After 9-11, she is laid off and spends the next 2+ years trying to find a job, any job while discovering just how much she took her good life (and spending habits) for granted. This book is laugh out loud funny. It definitely made me happy that my spending habits are in check.
Jul 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: women
Recommended to Suzanne by: somebody's blog somewhere
This is the true tale of a shrewish, spoiled girl with a mean streak, who loses everything, and then starts building her life all over again. Jenn's writing is honest, hilarious, inspiring, and sometimes hard to believe (even when you know it's true). She has an eye for comedy, sees the irony in everything, and laughs easily at herself. The books that follow Bitter are equally well done. Bitter was birthed on the author's blog, Jennsylvania, which is still going strong, although it centers mostl ...more
Aug 23, 2007 is currently reading it
I'm slowly working my way through this. I find there's only so much of Jen that I can take. This gal takes us on death-defyingly new heights of self-centeredness, narcissism and superficiality. And she's so unapologetic for it too! You've got to love (or hate) her for that at least. Note: I've got no immediate plans to pick it back up anytime soon.
Sep 12, 2007 rated it it was ok
I appreciated the Chicago setting of this book, but when I counted more than 13 obvious editorial errors, I got a bit disgusted. Hire a proofreader, please! However, not the author's fault. Despite my resistance, I grew to like her by the end of the story.
Nov 23, 2007 rated it it was ok
Swings between pretty funny and 'where is the author so I can smack her'. However, for me the final score was tipped slightly to the obnoxious side, I didn't find Jen Lancaster
s antics nearly as endearing as she did.
J.H. Moncrieff
Nov 30, 2018 rated it it was ok
Ugh. I normally don't trash another writer's book, but I couldn't believe how horrible this was. It breaks my heart that there are so many wonderfully talented authors with great books struggling to make a living, and then someone posts some semi-witty letters on Craig's List, gets the attention of an agent, and somehow ends up on the NYT's best-seller list. I have to admit--it is a great title.

When I found this gem at a used-book sale for only $2, I decided to give it a try because I did find s
Vanessa Vega
Jul 31, 2007 rated it it was ok
some funny parts, but cynicism gets old and i start to wonder if the materialism and egoism that the book is supposedly satirizing seeps into my subconcious, and the heroine isnt progressive because an entire chapter is devoted to finding a plus size black wedding dress for her fat ass that she got while unemployed and depressed for 2 years, and because she decided to throw a wedding to raise money and proposed to her boyfriend while he was on the crapper because she was so excited to enact the ...more
May 20, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Julie by: Jen Pellant
I guess I should like this book because it is about a woman who lost her job and is torn between her old life of prada bags and her new life of taking the bus, but in the end I just didn't like her. She was witty and kept up with the interviews and resumes but I just thought she was ridiculous. I t was neat that the book was in Chicago and I knew where she lived and could understand when she talked about "trixies" but the book was just a long rant. She needed to vent to someone about all her tro ...more
Dec 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
Really, this was a mesmerizing book. I couldn't put it down, despite wanting to save the bulk of it for the plane. The author makes no bones about who she is (e.g. she fits the subtitle perfectly) and you really hate her initially, but as her fortunes drop she goes through a she still is a condescending, egomaniacal, self-centered smart-ass, but in a way that seems a lot less vicious and a lot more funny. I've read the second book as well and found it just as good, so am loo ...more
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
I so felt this book. I lost my job that I made really good money at a few days after 9-11 so I know what the times were like. Funny look at that time and being "on the dole"
Jul 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: humorous, memoir
I never thought I'd read this; every time I heard or saw it mentioned I dismissed it as fluffy chick-lit lite, a la Candace Bushnell or Sophie Kinsella---not that there's anything wrong with that, it's just not really my thing. Then a woman with whom I work and whose reading taste I respect read BITNB for her book club and pronounced it "pretty good". She brought her copy to me Wednesday night and when I got home Thursday morning I sat down on the sofa with my Klingon cat Poopie to read and snug ...more
Aug 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: women
Jen Lancaster is hilarious! Her fall from a dot-com Vice President's job with a fabulous apartment and lots of designer accessories to the unemployment line and a not-so-great apartment in a questionable neighborhood is something we can all relate to, even if we're lucky enough not to have experienced it first-hand. Jen started out as a blogger, and it shows; her writing has a speech-like directness. Her writing is sure and secure, with a very casual first person/in your face feeling. This is ev ...more
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See similar books…
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 · 6 comments
“Owning a dog is slightly less expensive than being addicted to crack.” 125 likes
“Kiss the fattest part of my ass” 100 likes
More quotes…