The Tao of Martha: My Year of LIVING, or Why I’m Never Getting All That Glitter Off the Dog, by Jen Lancaster



Two stars, read in November/December 2014.

Not bad, but given how long it takes me to finish audiobooks (my commute is just not that long), I wondered many times why I was sticking with it. I’m just not the kind of person to appreciate a Martha Stewart-based lifestyle. I got the impression from the summaries that it was going to be a joke—because obviously the “key to happiness” does not lie in “artfully displayed charcuterie platters.”

It is not a joke.

Lancaster is totally sincere in her adherence to Martha’s “Tao.” And the thing is, considering how many times she described being physically affected by the stress of whatever project she was undertaking, all I could think was, “So why are you doing it??” The way I see it, if hollowing out 72 eggs to decorate them for Easter is causing you to sweat and cry, the solution is this: screw the eggs.

I can get on board with organizing your Drawer of Shame, cleaning out closets, becoming more organized. If implementing a specific filing or labeling system works for you, that’s awesome, and I absolutely believe that those kinds of changes can make a person genuinely more happy.

Lancaster does have a few of those projects, but really, almost everything in this book is completely non-essential. I get that that’s a personality difference, and that’s fine. I’m not a crafty person, I don’t like wreaths or glitter-covered pumpkins, I don’t want ceramic rabbits in every  corner for Easter. But when you’re telling me that your friend Angie yelled at you for not having enough “class” to send paper invitations to your Fourth of July party, serve a signature cocktail, or cook all the food yourself (“You’re buying food? Caps-lock double-yew-tee-eff?”), and that you thank her for performing this “service,” excuse me if my eyes are disappearing into the back of my skull.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Weezelle says:

    I’m not a particularly crafty or visual person either, so I totally get where you’re coming from with this. Great humorous post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gwen says:

      I’m pretty extreme in my utter lack of craftiness—I don’t decorate or dress for holidays, I don’t like knick-knacks or flowery things, I hardly ever cook—but this book is also pretty extreme in the opposite direction.

      Liked by 1 person

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