Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Book Report.

Bitter Is the New Black. It just rolls right off the tongue, doesn't it? Well, of course I adore the title! "The New Black"? Love it. And the subtitle, if proven to be an accurate representation of what's inside, sounds even more lovely & delicious to me: Confessions of a Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self-Centered Smartass, or Why You Should Never Carry A Prada Bag to the Unemployment Office. I'm not a big "chick lit" fan, but after having that brilliant title catch my eye, how could I not give it a shot, right!?

From Publishers Weekly:
It doesn't take Lancaster long to live up to her lengthy subtitle ("Confessions of a Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self-Centered Smart-Ass, or Why You Should Never Carry a Prada Bag to the Unemployment Office"): in just one chapter, she gloats over cheating a homeless man, is rude to a waitress and passes judgment on all of her co-workers (including her "whore" best friend). She's almost gleeful about lacking "the internal firewall that keeps us from saying almost everything we think," but she doesn't come off as straightforward, just malicious. (Of course, it's possible she's making up much of her dialogue, which is a little too clever to be believable.) Lancaster expects sympathy for her downward slide after getting fired from her high-paying finance job in the post-9/11 recession, and chick lit fans may be entertained watching life imitate fiction, but just when you start to feel sorry for her, the snotty attitude returns. In later chapters, Lancaster increasingly relies on entries from her blog (www.jennsylvania. com) and caustic replies to criticisms, and though things start looking up—her husband finds a job, she lands a book deal—it's not clear that she's been as chastised by her experiences as she claims.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
I, along with the rest of the bloody country, just finished Running With Scissors: A Memoir by Augusten Burroughs... which I actually started reading about 2 years ago, before I realized that it was to be made into a movie & would become so "mainstream" (I'm glad I stumbled upon it before seeing it on the big screen. I guess). But see, I sometimes have this nasty habit of reading about 3 or 4 different books at a time (a good many of which are usually a/b depressing shit like serial killers or drugs -- I know, it's odd), until I reach the point in one of the books where I want to read nothing else & the others fall by the wayside. This particular one just happened to be one of those neglected for another when I was about a quarter of the way through it. So with the movie a must-see for me, I decided to pick the book back up again to finish it first (I ended up starting from the beginning all over again). Lately, I've been practicing more literary monogamy, I guess. There, have I validated myself enough? Hee, hee...

Oh. My. Gawd. I know there are people out there who will be offended, disgusted, appalled or who-knows-what by some of the subject matter (mental illness, child abandonment, homosexuality, it pretty much runs the gamut)... but people, I loved it! I'm sorry, it's freaking hi-larious. I know it's cliche', but the movie will have a daunting task in doing the book justice. I swear, the stories are almost unimaginable... I know it's told as a "memoir", but it's almost too hard to believe! The scariest & most hilariously horrifying part? That a.) someone actually did imagine these things, or b.) they really happened!!!

From the back of the dustcover:

Running with Scissors is the true story of a boy whose mother (a poet with delusions of Anne Sexton) gave him away to be raised by her unorthodox psychiatrist who bore a striking resemblance to Santa Claus. So at the age of twelve, Burroughs found himself amidst Victorian squalor living with the doctor's bizarre family, and befriending a pedophile who resided in the backyard shed. The story of an outlaw childhood where rules were unheard of, and the Christmas tree stayed up all year round, where Valium was consumed like candy, and if things got dull an electroshock-therapy machine could provide entertainment. The funny, harrowing and bestselling account of an ordinary boy's survival under the most extraordinary circumstances.

Next on tap after the Bitter book? Apathy and Other Small Victories by Paul Neilan. Catchy title and with its boasts of ironic & sarcastic humor, it sounds just like my kind of book. At least, "my kind of book" for the moment (until I get back into my crime and drug-filled biographies stage). "[t]here's only so much you can do," he shrugs, "and even that's not worth the trouble." I guess, right now, I'm just enjoying the laughs...


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