REVIEW The Tao of Martha: My Year of LIVING by Jen Lancaster @penguinusa @altgeldshrugged

Book Description

June 4, 2013

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 is exactly why Jen is going to Martha up and live her life according to the advice of America’s overachieving older sister—the woman who turns lemons into lavender-infused lemonade.

By immersing herself in Martha’s media empire, Jen will embark on a yearlong quest to take herself, her house, her husband (and maybe even her pets) to the next level—from closet organization to craft making, from party planning to kitchen prep.

Maybe Jen can go four days without giving herself food poisoning if she follows Martha’s dictates on proper storage....Maybe she can grow closer to her girlfriends by taking up their boring-ass hobbies like knitting and sewing.…Maybe she can finally rid her workout clothes of meatball stains by using Martha’s laundry tips.… Maybe she can create a more meaningful anniversary celebration than just getting drunk in the pool with her husband....again. And maybe, just maybe, she’ll discover that the key to happiness does, in fact, lie in Martha’s perfectly arranged cupboards and artfully displayed charcuterie platters.

Or maybe not.


About the Author
Jen Lancaster is the New York Times bestselling author of eight books. She has appeared on Today, The Joy Behar Show, and NPR’s All Things Considered. She resides in the suburbs of Chicago with her husband and their ever-expanding menagerie of ill-behaved pets.



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 you read the fully fleshed out version, they become more real, more humorous and a bit more touching.  Yes, Jen gets a bit serious in this one and we get to see a more grown up look.  

I am also a bit sad that she is being contained from her public Ambien frolics.  Those were some seriously funny situations.  If you are a fan of Lancaster's blog, you will never forget the Barbie Doll Head situation.  In her year of Martha, she tries crafts and actually find she can do some of the decorating and cooking just like the big M.  I always pick up a few cooking tips from her books when she gets on a self-improvement thread.  I was also inspired to clean out a few drawers until I decided I could just continue to contain my messes in cabinets, much like Jen used to.  I wonder exactly how many of these habits she actually stuck with.  

I also always come away with a few new addictions like One Kings Road.  I am done decorating my house, but a girl can dream.  That is part of the joy of reading Jen...you can live vicariously through her addictions and never get dirty yourself.  Well, all except her garden when her friend and landscaper discovers why her garden isn't growing, (hint -- water is involved).  Oh MY GOSH, THAT was truly a funtacular moment to some like me who would live outside among my roses as much as possible. I admit I am a bit jealous that she has room for sixty bushes for her cutting garden.  

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