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Welcome to the United States of Anxiety: Observations from a Reforming Neurotic

3.37  ·  Rating details ·  3,914 ratings  ·  547 reviews
New York Times bestselling author Jen Lancaster is here to help you chill the hell out.

When did USA become shorthand for the United States of Anxiety? From the moment Americans wake up, we’re bombarded with all-new terrifying news about crime, the environment, politics, and stroke-inducing foods we’ve been enjoying for years. We’re judged by social media’s faceless masses,
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Kindle Edition, 288 pages
Published October 1st 2020 by Little A
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Average rating 3.37  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,914 ratings  ·  547 reviews


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Melki
Oct 02, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: offal
I was so excited when I saw Jen Lancaster's latest book was the Amazon Prime freebie for September that I almost squealed. I started in on it immediately on September first, and now, over a month later . . . I FINALLY finished it. What a drag! Could I have made a mistake? Are there possibly two Jen Lancasters out there? The Jen Lancaster who I thought wrote this book is funny and vivacious. She tells stories about clothes, and shoes, and trying to lose weight, her dogs, and her long-suffering hu ...more
Susan Bazzett-Griffith
Never thought I'd read another Jen Lancaster book- I liked several of her earlier books, but her fiction never wad my thing and in recent years, i just don't appreciate privileged snark the way I once did- add in a healthy dose of total irritation at any Republicans since 2016, and knowing she was a proud one made me just kind of stop following her books and career. This one, though was an Amazon free First Reads pick for the month, and because of the title and because I do indeed have all the a ...more
Becki
Sep 06, 2020 rated it did not like it
So -. .read it. . . .where is Jen Lancaster and who is this "woke" person who wrote this book? And what IS this book? Have been a big fan for a long time - but ugh . .so much of this 'wokeness' - a little humor mixed in but this felt like a textbook . with lectures and 'facts" to support the lectures. .no topic left unturned. .and wasn't expecting a "new road" (and had no clue from the 'coming soon' that it would be this way) but man - wish I had read a copy first before ordering 3. Wasnt a tota ...more
Jennie
Sep 03, 2020 rated it it was ok
I’m really not sure what I just read. Jen Lancaster used to be an author whose books I would buy based on just her name on the cover. That stopped awhile ago. But every time there’s a deal on one, I bite again. The Tao of Martha, Stories I’d Tell in Bars, and now this. I just don’t know what to say about what this book is. Is it a non-fiction essay on anxiety filled with footnotes/citations? It is personal stories related to anxiety (tangentially at best)? I’m not sure it was successful as eithe ...more
Michele
Sep 05, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned-dnf
I picked this as my first read for September and hate myself for it.
I made it to 60 % and just couldn't torture myself anymore.
Life is too short to read a bad book and this is a bad book.
The writing is fine, the content was just dull.
Neurotic, absolutely, humorous not even close.
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Jamie Jack
Sep 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: humor, p-2020
Intensely Personal Humorous Nonfiction

When I first opened this book, I loved the cartoon of Maslow's hierarchy at the beginning. Most of us who've been to college in the last 30 or 40 years are familiar with this pyramid of need. The book is broadly structured around this hierarchy. The author is a Gen-Xer like me, so much of what she related about her pre-tech childhood was very much like my life as well—before computers were in every home, when the internet was for academics only... and when s
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Elizabeth
Sep 07, 2020 rated it did not like it
Let me start by saying I’m a devout Jen Lancaster fan. I have read EVERY SINGLE BOOK she’s written and I follow her on social media. I’ve seen her 3 times when she would travel on book tours, pre-COVID of course.

Set against the backdrop of Maslow’s hierarchy, I honestly don’t quite know what I just read. Jen says it’s not a memoir. It felt like a lecture, full of facts and references. While there were some funny lines, it’s not the Jen I know and love.

I love her snarky sense of humor which pla
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ALLEN
Sep 26, 2020 rated it it was ok
Trite and unconvincing. Clever ideas -- such as updating Abraham Maslow's "hierarchy of needs" from 1943 to the present day -- flit by, sometimes with success, just as often not. I often felt that a Gen Xer who had "been to college" had to tell us all about it, whether the results were truly funny or not. Being lightly bitter about one's life situation does not equal a new Erma Bombeck, I'm sorry to say.

Yes, this is technically a non-fiction book, but hanging-chad facetiousness like attributing
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Stephanie Spruyt
Sep 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I love when an author tries something new and writes in a new style. Jen Lancaster has proven that she can bring the facts and her sarcastic and witty point of view. While I will always love her snarky memoirs and tales of pop culture, I have room in my cold dark heart for books like Welcome to the United States of Anxiety.
Emily
Sep 09, 2020 rated it did not like it
A good reminder why I stopped reading Jen Lancaster books. Started out amusing and fun, but quickly spiraled into nonsense rambling and stupid childhood stories. Thank God it was free through Amazon first reads. Woof.
Melissa (LifeFullyBooked)
Solid read overall, but got a bit bogged down with information.
This is a slight departure from Lancaster's previous non-fiction memoirs. It's not a memoir as such, but she does incorporate quite a bit of her life and personal experiences as illustration. The over-arching concept is anxiety, the real anxiety we feel, the causes (some real and some created by our minds and by the collective minds of society), and some solutions.

Sprinkled throughout the book is Lancaster's snarky humor that her fa
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Vanessa
Jan 09, 2021 rated it liked it
I recently came across Jen Lancaster in her socials and found her funny (especially her videos with her and her husband) she does snark very well, so that lead to me reading this book, she’s written many others but this is her latest offering.

With everything going on in the United States I gravitated to this book, even from afar I feel the anxiety and dread every time I turn on the news so I can only imagine the levels of anxiety running through everyone there at the moment, even if not usually
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Jen
Sep 22, 2020 rated it it was ok
Based off of the synopsis, I’m not sure I read the same book. This is not an advice book about anxiety but more of a unleashing of the authors thoughts. I found myself incredibly bored and skimmed a large portion of it. The synopsis is definitely not what I found in the book! This may have just been the authors form of therapy and not what i was looking for.
Dwain Williams
Sep 05, 2020 rated it it was ok
I gave up after the 1st Chapter!!

My goodness, she rambles on and on and says nothing. It was so boring that I decided to spare myself further pain and call it a day.
Melissa
Nov 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was my first experience with a Jen Lancaster memoir. I liked her personal and anecdotal material, but felt a lot of the book was just her throwing facts our way. The footnotes didn't come in until the very end of the e-book (not sure if it was set up the same way in the print version) and it was too hard to go back and match each one up by that time. Jen said some things I could relate to, but I wish that the book was overall about her anxiety vs. what she researched.

While she has made me
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Kira
Sep 10, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
How relieved was I when it turned out that this book was only 239 pages instead of 275? Very! The remaining pages were taken up by Acknowledgements, footnotes (yes, 20+ pages of footnotes, mostly references), and the author bio.

I've read every Jen Lancaster book except one, I Regret Nothing, because our local library doesn't have it and I refuse to pay $11.99 for it on Kindle. Hopefully eventually it will join her last two books, including this one, on the Kindle Unlimited list. It's unlikely t
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Audrey (Warped Shelves)
Sep 08, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dnf
DNF @ 33%

Yeah, this just isn't what I was looking for. I thought that this book would go more along the lines of:
>things that make people anxious in society today,
>anecdote about how the author herself encounters this anxiety,
>some advice on how to cope and survive and maybe feel a little better.

But The United States of Anxiety is (as I should have garnered from the full title) literally just anxious observations. After almost one hundred pages of anecdotes that I frankly don't care about, I
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kt
Sep 07, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2020
Having just finished, I'm not even quite sure what I read. It was a series of not quite related personal stories that were loosely tied to Maslow's hierarchy of needs with over 200 citations of other works/articles/random side thoughts.

I didn't really learn anything about better handling anxiety. Much of the subject matter seemed wholly ill timed in today's world. I'm surprised the publisher didn't request rewrites beyond the page and a half writer's note at the beginning acknowledging the pande
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Caryne
Sep 04, 2020 rated it did not like it
Unfortunate timing with COVID. This felt superficial and not relevant for the times we are in.
Lisa Leone-campbell
Nov 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
I have been reading Jen Lancaster’s books since I happened on her book of essays called Bitter is the New Black while shopping at BJ’s many, many years ago. I have always enjoyed her snarky wit and her boldness in the midst of social awkwardness.

Welcome to the United States of Anxiety is her new book of essays which sometimes reads more like a dissertation, but correctly points out the chaos and confusion of the new norms while trying to navigate social media which sometimes (well, most times) c
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Nancy
Sep 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Not sure its a generational thing...

But everything in this work was so relatable, funny, and what I wouldve said if I could. After reading it I remembered to give myself permission to return to the calmer state of mind I had before I felt I had to always keep up, with the news, the neighbors and just about everything. The point really is to enjoy your life. And whatever contributions you make may not necessarily be anyone else's business. Thanks Ms Lancaster. A recommended read for the anxious a
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Taylor
Oct 05, 2020 rated it it was ok
A poorly executed mashup of a memoir, undergraduate research paper, and rambling nonsense. This is my first book from Jen Lancaster and likely my last. I couldn't bring !myself to finish the book, not even making it to 100 pages. Each of her sections felt disjointed, trying to pair data with her real life experiences, which felt !like a stretch in a lot of areas. From what I have seen in other reviews, this is not a typical piece of work by this author and it feels like she really missed the mar ...more
Kourtney
Jan 02, 2021 rated it it was ok
This book is hard for me to review. Normally, I really appreciate Jen Lancaster and her writing style. I like that she writes as though you are having a conversation with her, I imagine her thinking/speaking is in the same credence. I like her sass, her honesty and that she is from the Mid-West.

However, this one, I felt, really showed her privilege. She is pretty honest in her processing of the recent societal happenings. But, I think it is surface level only and she could have reached deeper.
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Kara
Nov 16, 2020 marked it as unfinished
I'm being a little more particular about books I spend time with, and I don't think this one's for me. I'm putting it aside for now. ...more
Julie
Sep 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
I’ve been a long-time reader and fan of Jen Lancaster’s books. Initially, I’ll admit, I was drawn to her snark and humor (no one does snark better than Jen Lancaster). However, in her past few books there has been a progression in her writing to include more serious topics (but still told with a bit of her signature humor) that I’ve really come to enjoy.

In the U.S. of Anxiety, Jen covers the anxiety that we are currently facing as a society, and dives deep into what those factors are. Nothing is
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Whistlers Mom
Sep 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Are we still allowed to laugh? Seriously.

Because if we ARE still allowed to laugh, you should buy this book. And if we aren't, then you shouldn't. I'm no longer sure myself because while it SEEMS like a "humor" book to me and I laughed a lot while I read it, the people who are marketing it take it VERY seriously.

When I bought it, there was a tag beside it that read, "#1 New Release in Medical Psychology Pathologies." (No, I am NOT making that up.) Maybe that one didn't grab people, because NOW t
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Boeds
Oct 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Well done, Lancaster. I respect and appreciate the depths of research, both internal and external, conducted to create this book. As a fellow GenXer, I related/responded to virtually every element. Humor can still be woven into meaningful introspection - bummer for those who can't deal with that. WHATEV'S! ...more
Heather
Oct 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book was not only funny, but also made me think about the things today that can make me (and others i love) anxious, and keeps us from living a kind, calm life.
Dawn Betts-Green (Dinosaur in the Library)
I didn’t enjoy this book. The Tao of Martha was great, but this...ugh. Way too UC white woman virtue signalling for me.
Teresa
Nov 06, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
DNF - I barely made it 10% in. I honestly couldn’t tell if the author actually has anxiety or if it’s just a big unfunny joke. I found it unrelatable and annoying.
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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
“When I’m able to slough it off, when it’s not causing physical symptoms or putting me on edge, my anxiety still pops up out of nowhere to spoil nice moments. I fear good things happening because I believe something bad is sure to follow.” 2 likes
“bundle of nerves, swaddled in a blanket of panic.” 1 likes
More quotes…