“If You Were Here,” by Jen Lancaster, chronicles how author Mia and her husband buy and renovate the home used in the movie, “Sixteen Candles.” She is infatuated with the house because of this, which leads her to overlook some minor details, such as the house is crumbling. The renovation journey includes neighbors you wouldn’t want to have, workmen and their less-than-calendar-based sense of time, and an ever-creeping deadline for her Amish-zombie-teen-romance.
This is a work of fiction, and a departure from Lancaster’s usual biographical works. Regardless, it’s funny, as her writing always is.
Although I’ve never taken on a renovation project this large, I do live in an older home. While this is technically fiction, some of the situations may seem like startlingly accurate journalism to anyone who has attempted to bring a home back from the brink.
Just like in her auto-biographical books, Lancaster makes you simultaneously wonder how anyone could make this many poor decisions in such rapid succession, and wish you had the guts to do it yourself.
Everything Jen Lancaster writes makes me:
- Laugh uproariously.
- Lament I’m not as funny as she is.
- Want to be part of her (somewhat dysfunctional) inner circle.
Aside from the teensy-weensy problem that she doesn’t know I exist, I’m not sure I could keep up with Jen and her friends. I don’t really drink wine. I am, however, an excellent designated driver. I like to believe this compensates for my lack of love for the fruits of the vine.