“The Chicktionary” by Anna Lefler

Title: The Chicktionary: From A-Line to Z-Snap, the Words Every Woman Should Know
Author: Anna Lefler
ISBN: 9781440529849
Pages: 227
Release date: November 2011
Publisher: Adams Media
Genre: Humor; nonfiction
Format: ARC (paperback)
Source: TLC Book Tours
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Anna Lefler, stand-up comedian and writer at Life Just Keeps Getting Weirder, has a fresh, intelligent sense of humor that shines in The Chicktionary. Meant as a reference book to the sometimes mystifying and always evolving language of women, Lefler’s satirical book is a barrel of laughs.

I have to admit, I had an ulterior motive in requesting this book: I wanted to prove to Jack that “biffle” (Best Friend for Life, or BFFL) is a real thing–perhaps not a word, but a term that is certainly in vogue among a certainly set of young ladies. Thankfully, Lefler didn’t let me down; she included this word and so many others that have mystified men (and some women) for millennia. (Or, at least, months.)

From bandeau (“From the French word meaning ‘there’s no way that’s staying up’) to clitoris (“the original ‘Like’ button”), Lefler’s book is amusing and informative, though it occasionally verges on TMI (speculum: kind of like “a really mean platypus” beak).

Much of the humor seems directed at women, such as her description of maxi pads (“Some pads even come wrapped in sassy colors to match your sassy uterus”) and her instructions on diagnosing your face shape (“Stand in front of a mirror, view your face, and ask yourself this question: ‘What shape is that?'”) And what about the entire entry for I Was Called Ugly Duckling in High School?

One of two standard quotes (see also: everyone teased me for being so skinny) regularly attributed to supermodels and sexpot actresses in an effort to make them sound more like regular ol’ folks. We’re sorry, were those hard times? Do those old taunts come back to haunt you when you’re on the sun deck of your yacht running barefoot through Jake Gyllenhaal’s chest hair? Listen, some of us were called things like Scrotum Wind and The Turdinator–and that was just kindergarten. All we have now to ease the pain of those memories is a boyfriend who’s “keeping his options open” and a Camry whose driver-side window only shuts halfway.

I was truly ROFL.

But even Jack found several of the entries funny, reading aloud the entry for bangs:

Bangs are available in four lengths: 1) too short, 2) too long, 3) awkward, and 4) in your eyes like tiny knives. . . . The decision to cut bangs is generally acknowledged as one that should be acted upon only after a period of deep introspection and personal reflection.

Particularly funny since I had just had bangs cut the night before.

The one aspect of the book that I didn’t like was its rigid structure. It adheres to the structure of a dictionary, which makes it fun to flip through but not something you’d want to, say, read all the way through in almost one sitting. (Ahem.) Despite that qualm, I’m going to start reading more from Ms. Lefler, starting with her blog–particularly after reading her entry for breakups:

There are two kinds of breakups: 1) those initiated by him, and 2) those initiated by you. Both kinds of breakups are his fault, and anyone who doesn’t get that obviously hasn’t been reading your blog.

The book raises a few questions that it can’t answer, such as whether men really call their penises “Mr. Shock-and-Aw-Yeah!” But overall, The Chicktionary is the perfect gift this holiday season for the frenemy who has everything–especially a good sense of humor.

But don’t just take my word for it. Check out what other reviewers on the tour have been saying:

November 14: Life in Review
November 15: Amused by Books
November 17: Reviews from the Heart
November 18: Chick Lit Reviews
November 21: I Am A Reader, Not A Writer – author Q&A
November 23: The Betty and Boo Chronicles
November 28: Silver and Grace
December 1: Chick Lit is Not Dead
December 2: Overstuffed
December 5: Silver and Grace – author guest post
December 5: A Musing Reviews
December 6: Peeking Between the Pages
December 7: Peeking Between the Pages – author guest post
December 8: Sara’s Organized Chaos
December 9: 2 Kids and Tired
December 12: Write Meg!
December 13: Suko’s Notebook
December 14: She is Too Fond of Books – Spotlight on Bookstores
December 15: Life… with Books
December 16: Colloquium – author guest post
December 19: A Chick Who Reads

Categories: 3-3.5 stars, Book Reviews

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