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

Tao: noun, ( sometimes lowercase)

1. (in philosophical Taoism) that in virtue of which all things happen or exist.
2. the rational basis of human activity or conduct.

3. a universal, regarded as an ideal attained to a greater or lesser degree by those embodying it

I’d heard this word but never really thought of it in terms of applicability until this book. The Tao of Martha is pretty simple, but finding it doesn’t sound simple. Lancaster takes her year and discovers the Tao of Martha, and a few others, along the way. Here’s the back cover info:

One would think that with her impressive list of bestselling self-improvement memoirs Jen Lancaster would have it all together by now. One would be wrong.

After all, she’s no Martha Stewart. And that’s why Jen is going to Martha up and live her life according to the advice of America’s overachieving older sister—the woman who turns lemons into lavender-infused lemonade. By immersing herself in Martha’s media empire, Jen embarks on a yearlong quest to take herself, her house, her husband (and maybe even her pets) to the next level—from closet organization to party planning.

Maybe Jen can avoid food poisoning if she follows Martha’s dictates on proper storage. Maybe she can rid her workout clothes of meatball stains by using Martha’s laundry tips. Maybe she can create a more meaningful anniversary celebration than getting drunk in the pool with her husband. Again. And maybe she’ll discover that the key to happiness does, in fact, lie in Martha’s perfectly arranged cupboards and charcuterie platters.

I really am a fan of memoirs and this is no exception. I enjoyed the over-sharing, blunt style of Lancaster’s writing, her full acknowledgement of her problem, and that her unhappiness didn’t stem from actual problems. She was stuck in a rut. A well-to-do rut, but a rut none the less. This was her idea on how to get out of it and I enjoyed reading (listening) about all the things she tried, the pitfalls and the successes.

Sometimes unhappiness in a good place or any other form of rut sneaks up on us and we can’t just let it consume us. This was a great idea on how to get out of one, in the event anyone else is looking for one. While mastering domesticity may not do the trick for everyone (and mastering is not the word that I would necessarily use for Lancaster, but it was what she attempted), the tenets involved in it can certainly help anyone. I won’t tell you what they are because I’m not a spoiler, but I will tell you that this is a great book for anyone else stuck in a rut.

Oh and in the event the author ever finds this little review/recommendation of her book, please let Fletch know that me and my husband (who have both been active duty in different services) totally loved Fletch’s Halloween costume! My husband actually doubled over in laughter.

I had originally picked this up to be my food memoir for the Read Harder Challenge, but I do have my doubts about its fit. There are sections about food, like making homemade toffee and an odyssey for cinnamon donuts, but I’m not sure how I feel about calling it a food memoir. On the bright side, it was still fun and worth the read!

I got my copy from the library, but it’s also available for purchase from Amazon or  the Book Depository.

Has anyone else read The Tao of Martha? What did you think? 

2 thoughts on “The Tao of Martha: My Year of LIVING; Or, Why I’m Never Getting All That Glitter Off of the Dog by Jen Lancaster

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