Jen Lancaster was the author that really got me into the memoir genre; she was loud, liked animals and felt comfortable sharing most of her somewhat ridiculous life with her audience. In recent years she has delved into fiction which I tried but haven’t enjoyed. Jen knew her core audience, including many of the women buying her fiction, wanted more memoirs from her and she wrote this book for them. But then her publisher didn’t want to publish “vintage Jen Lancaster” so she opted to self-publish. You can tell. It is rife with spelling and grammatical errors- to the point that people have brought it up on social media and she has altered her e-reader files (I, unfortunately, have a hard copy) and overall Stories I’d Tell In Bars could have used a proper editor.
I had a moment of great clarity.. and then I decided I was done. I was done twisting myself into knots to satisfy the trend du jour, done trying to be all things to all people instead of just taking control and publishing the kind of stories I wanted to write on my own.
Her introductory essay is dated as July 2017 and details her reasoning for self-publishing this memoir for her loyal fans’ enjoyment. The book came out on July 24 2017! There is just an overall rushed feeling to the whole thing. She has written a YA novel, which she name checks a few times, and it is coming out in October so I wonder if she had some sort of agreement involving the spacing between these two works?
Side note; the above average Friends From College on Netflix has a similar plot point where Keegan-Michael Key can’t get his latest piece of literary fiction published but Kevin Arnold tells him he could sell a YA novel if he’d just write one.
After writing eight memoirs it is no surprise that this feels a bit repetitive, worse if you follow her on social media, but the overall tone is “vintage Jen Lancaster” in a good way. She talks about her successful marriage to her husband, Fletch, and her weight loss journey like usual but adds some new stories involving her neighborhood watch and a few vacations she has taken in the last few years. She is definitely your loud, slightly embarrassing roommate from college on steroids but she doesn’t take herself seriously and does a good job poking fun at herself and the people around her.
This is probably best for true fans, for those of us who have been waiting for her next memoir with bated breath, and not for casual memoir fans. Also, since I doubt she is able to properly edit the paperback book I’d go for the Kindle version!
3.5 Stars… rounded down