Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir)
How to describe how much I enjoyed reading this book? I laughed so hard, my sternum was sore for several days in a row. I laughed so hard I farted… twice and not at times when there’s enough background noise that you can pass it off as just another sound. Oh, no. It would have been mortifying if my brain hadn’t been soaked in happy neurotoxins from laughing so much. (I can’t believe I just told you that.) You guys, reading Terry Pratchett books usually results in me chuckling at a Feegle as he sets a broomstick on fire. Reading Lawson results in me silently writhing in laughter because I can’t look at the words “poop rope” without laughing. You see, right there, I’m laughing again. I actually had to put the book down a few times to allow for a little time to collect myself. I really can’t recommend this book enough. If you’re familiar with Lawson’s blog (The Bloggess), the book is written with the same ineffable, wry humor that she applies to everything she does. It’s perfectly done. You wouldn’t expect that rural Texas would be this bizarrely entertaining, but oh my god, it is.
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 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.
This book is billed as “The Book for Intellectual Misfits” and that’s absolutely right. Between Lawson’s need to know where the missing graves are in her neighborhood in the event of a zombie apocalypse and a childhood filled with a revolving cast of both live and not-so-live animals, it kind of impossible to not empathize with her if you fall anywhere off of the standard spectrum. Whether you’re a self-identified nerd or a person who wears their dweeb badge with pride, this book has something for you. How could it not with a chapter title of “Thanks for the Zombies, Jesus”?
On a more personal note, as a fellow sufferer of anxiety, her openness with her anxiety and depression is oddly comforting to me. The knowledge that there’s another person on the planet who would prefer to hide in the bathroom than go to a dinner party makes it seem more normal to me. I can’t even tell you how many anxiety attacks I’ve had on the way home from them, but reading Lawson’s path of dealing with her anxiety and the way that she’s forced herself to step outside of the box is inspiring. Don’t get me wrong, it’ll still make you laugh, what with the vampire cougars and all, but it’s reassuring to see that it’s totally possible to grow out of the debilitating fear.
However, this story is more than just inspiration and hilarity. It’s vividly wrought. Lawson really never holds back on helping you see the skinned deer or the infestation of scorpions that never seems to go away. There are photos yes, some of which are fantastically funny, but her ability to bring her past to life in words is truly unrivaled. The things that Lawson has been through and her ability to look upon it all with such a delightful sense of humor leaves me humbled and awestruck. We would all do well to take a page out of Lawson’s book, but buy it first. We need more Jaunitas in the world.
Here’s the deal, I’ve read and re-read this review probably twenty five times because I know it doesn’t do justice to the book. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to explain the many levels on which I enjoyed this book. I will tell you that I haven’t ever loved a memoir to this level. I have never read one that I was able I was able to identify with so truly and yet that entertained me so thoroughly. If you doubt how much you’ll love this book, just go read her blog. You only need to read a single post before you’ll realize that you need to read the book. And beware of the hiccups because that shit will sneak up on you.
5 ink bottles.
Pacing/Tension/Urgency: 5 Dresdons
Worldbuilding: 5 Snyders
Language: 5 Feegles