Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Review: I Regret Nothing: A Memoir by Jen Lancaster

Title: I Regret Nothing: A Memoir   
Author: Jen Lancaster        
Published: May 2015, NAL  
Format: Hardcover, 320 pages   
Source: Publisher  

New York Times bestselling author Jen Lancaster has lived a life based on re-invention and self-improvement. From Bitter Is the New Black to The Tao of Martha, she’s managed to document her (and her generation’s) attempts to shape up, grow up, and have it all—sometimes with disastrous results…

Sure Jen has made mistakes. She spent all her money from a high-paying job on shoes, clothes, and spa treatments. She then carried a Prada bag to the unemployment office. She wrote a whole memoir about dieting…but didn’t lose weight. She embarked on a quest for cultural enlightenment that only cemented her love for John Hughes movies and Kraft American Singles. She tried to embrace everything Martha Stewart, while living with a menagerie of rescue cats and dogs. (Glitter…everywhere.)

Mistakes are one thing; regrets are another.

After a girls’ weekend in Savannah makes her realize that she is—yikes!—middle-aged (binge watching is so the new binge drinking), Jen decides to make a bucket list and seize the day, even if that means having her tattoo removed at one hundred times the cost of putting it on.

From attempting a juice cleanse to studying Italian, from learning to ride a bike to starting a new business, and from sampling pasta in Rome to training for a 5K, Jen is turning a mid-life crisis into a mid-life opportunity, sharing her sometimes bumpy—but always hilarious—attempts to better her life…again.

My thoughts: I don't tend to read too many memoirs, but when I read the blurb for this, I decided to give it a try and I'm so glad I did. It's always good to read outside one's comfort zone every once in a while and this book certainly reinforced that. I'm also not one to usually mark up a book when I read, yet I find myself doing just that because there were quite a few things that Jen Lancaster said or wrote about that resonated with me.

First off, I absolutely adored her blatant honesty throughout this book. It was refreshing to read and I found myself saying "yes" or "exactly" quite a bit. Reflecting upon her life as she reaches her mid-forties, Jen decides she wants to live a life of no regrets, so she decides to create a bucket list and live in the moment. I loved this idea and I loved that we got to see how she approached or tackled some of the items on her bucket list. 

In many ways, while I found this book to by quite hysterical - the Channing Tatum Tax, the adult tricycle episode, etc - I also found it to be inspiring. Jen set out to accomplish some pretty difficult tasks and in so doing, came to some pretty impressive conclusions. She learned Italian so she could travel there, by herself, and she did it! I don't think I would have the guts to do that. While training for a 5k race, she realized that it wasn't her body that was giving up so soon after starting but her mind, and once she realized that, her whole outlook on training changed. As someone who's trained for races (walking not running, but same difference) this is such a big concept to overcome and one that I occasionally struggle with. The mind is such a powerful block to anything at times.

This book has definitely got me thinking of making my own bucket list and what items I would put on it, especially as I'm just around Jen's age. Having a variety a items on your list makes the list that much more appealing and I loved that about Jen's list. Living in the moment, being present in life and not having regrets - all so important to living a happy life.

I found this to be a funny, yet thought-provoking book. It's the first book I've read by Jen Lancaster but it definitely won't be my last. For those of you that have read some of her other books, which one would you suggest I read next? What are your favorites of hers that are must reads?

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3 comments

  1. It's on my list - the audiobook comes highly recommended by a blogger friend so I'll use an audible credit. I haven't read any of her books yet.

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  2. I also read my first book by this author recently (The Tao of Martha), and my review should be up next week. I said the same things you did regarding not reading memoirs, how hilarious yet poignant the book is, and how I am now going to look for her other books. I've got this one on my "wish list" for BEA.

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  3. She is hysterical. Go back and read some of her other non-fiction (skip her fiction --it wasn't that good). She nails life!

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