Review: Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

Thursday, November 12, 2015
Title: Let's Pretend This Never Happened
Author: Jenny Lawson
Genre: memoir
Series: n/a
Pages: 317
Published:April 17, 2012
Source: purchased
Rating: 5/5

For fans of Tina Fey and David Sedaris—Internet star Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, makes her literary debut.

Jenny Lawson realized that the most mortifying moments of our lives—the ones we’d like to pretend never happened—are in fact the ones that define us. In the #1 New York Times bestseller, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, Lawson takes readers on a hilarious journey recalling her bizarre upbringing in rural Texas, her devastatingly awkward high school years, and her relationship with her long-suffering husband, Victor. Chapters include: “Stanley the Magical, Talking Squirrel”; “A Series of Angry Post-It Notes to My Husband”; “My Vagina Is Fine. Thanks for Asking”; “And Then I Snuck a Dead Cuban Alligator on an Airplane.” Pictures with captions (no one would believe these things without proof) accompany the text.

01/25/2014 page 88 - "I'm laughing hysterically, but partially to stop cringing. As a painfully shy, former anorexic goth with anxiety, who did half-assed magic at a school that made us fish up our own crawfish to dissect, (it may not be inseminating a cow, but I feel kinship,) I hope I too can marry a NPH look-alike. And Daddy may not be a taxidermist but they did bring one for career day. When I was 8. Yes, he brought samples."

Hilarious, yet relatable and poignant. Jenny Lawson's mostly true memoir is something I'll carry with me for a long time.

The best thing I can say about this book is that it's funny enough to carry itself through some seriously sad chapters. When you realize that what you're laughing at, until your diaphragm hurts and tears run down your cheeks, is a grieving woman wielding a machete at the vultures trying to dig up her dead dog, you might think, "am I going to hell?" But Jenny wants you to laugh. Anyone who's read her blog, will be familiar with her rambling, non sequitur-based sense of humor, which she frequently deploys as a coping mechanism for her (mental and physical) health issues, grief, and other sad things.

The book starts with Ms. Lawson's childhood in rural, rural Texas. If you didn't grow up in the country, animal husbandry, taxidermy, or drowning turkeys may seem strange and confusing. But to me, another painfully shy, former goth with anxiety and a recovering ED, who did half-assed magic at a tiny country school, I relate to this part of the book so much. I'm a little scared. (The kids I babysat for did raise turkeys, and yes, they do drown in the rain. My karate instructor also had a VICIOUS rooster that would chase you down the street and liked to torment the wolf they kept penned up in the back yard by standing juuuust out of reach. Yes, I realize several of those words are confusing and possibly upsetting to city folk.) Yet, even as a fellow country girl, I'm not sure I'll ever recover from the magic squirrel or the deer.

I think the book hits its stride when Jenny meets her husband, Victor. Like all great comedy duos, he's the straight man to her slapstick comic. The Ricky to her Lucy. If he's never told her she's got some 'splainin' to do, he's missing a great opportunity. A couple of chapters, (the imaginary post-it battle, the wet towels,) are obviously in the "not true" department. This has bothered some reviewers, but I thought the post-it notes were really funny, so does it matter if they're not verbatim arguments?

On the poignant side, the entire chapter about her struggles to carry to term had me in honest tears. I'm as child free as they come, but the idea of losing wanted baby after wanted baby? And the frank, honest discussion of becoming suicidal after the fact? It's heavy, and not even a little funny, but it's very well written and gave me a lot of respect for the author and her struggle. It does have a happy ending.

I really loved this memoir. Some stories are funnier than others, and a few will be familiar to long time readers. Beyoncé, (the chicken, not the singer,) is included, as are a few of her taxidermy friends, but the majority was new content to me. The end got a bit syrupy, which was really my only gripe. If a book makes me laugh, cry, call my physician, and my only complaint is the end is too sentimental? I highly recommend you pick this one up.

1 comment:

  1. Sooo I need to start reading her blog and buy his book is what you're staying?

    For some reason I had convinced myself that this wasn't my brand of humor or internet place but now I think I've been missing out for a loooong time.


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