I'm Un-Stalking Jen Lancaster.
There. I said it. I'm out of the closet. This has been a difficult decision, one in the making for over a year.
My college friend, known here as "Pat", turned me on to Jen about five years ago. Pat is pretty cutting edge on her pop culture, and knows I appreciate edgy, cool stuff, so she sends tips my way. She sent me an e-mail in late 2007 that said, "If you're not reading Jen Lancaster, you need to - you are like a version of her with kids." I clicked on the link to Jennsylvania, and I was hugely flattered that she would say that at all. I was hooked. Jen was awesomely hilarious. I immediately began stalking her, because OF COURSE we would be besties if we met in real life!
I read "Bitter Is The New Black". Hi-larious. I want to be a writer. I can relate.
I read "Bright Lights, Big Ass." Completely Awesome. She's like Every Woman.
I read "Such a Pretty Fat." Love, love, love. Who likes to exercise? I love food.
I read "Pretty in Plaid." I crushed on Jake Ryan. I got all the '80s references. Funny stuff.
Then "My Fair Lazy" came along. Hmm. Not so much. Not bad, but not like the others.But I still loved Jen, because she was Jen. I went with Pat to Chicago to Jen's book signing, where we got completely shit-faced drunk and I nearly passed out in Borders waiting for her, but had the besttimeeversomuchfun. You can read here, but try to respect me in the morning. It was fun! Because we were hanging out with Jen!
Then came "If You Were Here". The fiction book that wasn't fiction, it was more like "Jen and Fletch's crazy hijinks, under false names, with some exaggerations." But it felt disingenuous. I felt like she thought she was being smarter than her readers, and it wasn't really fiction, it was creative non-fiction. I was distracted during the whole book thinking "Yeah yeah, the dog Daisy is Maisy and Tracey is Stacey and Maya is Jen, just own up to it already!"
But it was Jen, so it was okay. Sort of.
Then her blog started turning ugly.
I loved her blog, Jennsylvania. It was funny and snarky and wonderful. Jen has always done a great job of being funny while poking a little fun at herself. She's always bitched a bit, but shown some compassion, or tried to understand the other side. The whole point of Bitter was to show how she had been this materialistic bitch who got her comeuppance, and now she was a writer and happy without the crazy high maintenance life she had been leading. In the last year, I feel like her blog has become this personal venting area where she can throw around her celebrity to bully companies into doing what she wants. Some of the gripes she has are legit, but they all just feel so...so....BITCHY.
She goes after commenters on her FB page personally and then outs them to her other 54,000 followers, who then go crazy on that person too so they can impress Jen. Usually these individuals get called out because they've expressed an opinion, sort of like how Jen does, but the backlash on these people who are called out is horrible. I can't believe the things people will post to total strangers, just because someone famous tells them to. If for some crazy reason she finds this blog post, she'll probably announce on her FB page "If you don't like it JULIE, then stick it! That's why I've blocked you!" Look on her page right now, she did it to someone named Krista last week. And that is her right. But it just smacks of meanness, and while I love me a little bit of bitchy and bitter, I'm not interested in being one of the Mean Girls. I don't visit Jennsylvania much anymore.
It seems, dare I say it, like she's gone full circle back the Jen in the beginning of Bitter, who had it all and ordered her minions around without thinking about the reprecussions, because she was better than them. I like the old Jen, who was funny and snarky and fun, and who invited us all in the good times with her.
Her new book, Jeneration X, is out. In the past, I would have pre-ordered the hardcover copy on Amazon and waited to see where I could drink a chardonnay in her honor on the book tour. The other day, I walked past the book in Barnes and Noble, paused, and then kept walking. Maybe I'll buy the paperback. Maybe not.
I'll miss you, Jen Lancaster!