Lawson, Jenny. Let’s Pretend this Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir (2012). Berkeley Trade. 384 Pages. $7.99
When Jenny Lawson was little, all she ever wanted was to fit in. That dream was cut short by her fantastically unbalanced father and a morbidly eccentric childhood. It did, however, open up an opportunity for Lawson to find the humor in the strange shame-spiral that is her life, and we are all the better for it.
In the irreverent Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, Lawson’s long-suffering husband and sweet daughter help her uncover the surprising discovery that the most terribly human moments—the ones we want to pretend never happened—are the very same moments that make us the people we are today. For every intellectual misfit who thought they were the only ones to think the things that Lawson dares to say out loud, this is a poignant and hysterical look at the dark, disturbing, yet wonderful moments of our lives.
This book is totally true, except for the parts that aren’t. It’s basically like Little House on the Prairie but with more cursing. And I know, you’re thinking “But Little House on the Prairie was totally true!” and no, I’m sorry, but it wasn’t. Laura Ingalls was a compulsive liar with no fact-checker and probably if she was still alive today her mom would be saying “I don’t know how Laura came up with this whole ‘I’m-a-small-girl-on-the-prairie’ story. We lived in New Jersey with her aunt Frieda and our dog, Mary, who was blinded when Laura tried to bleach a lightning bolt on her forehead…”
My adoration of Jenny Lawson started small. One day, I stumbled across her site The Bloggess, and found myself laughing maniacally. I think it was even the day she posted about Beyonce the Giant Metal Chicken for the first time.
I’ve been checking her site fairly consistently ever since, and without fail, I’ve ended up laughing. Her sense of humor just appeals to me, so it’s always entertaining to see the latest thing she’s posted.
AUTHOR BIO: Known for her sardonic wit and her hysterically skewed outlook on life, Jenny Lawson has made millions of people question their own sanity, as they found themselves admitting that they, too, often wondered why Jesus wasn’t classified as a zombie, or laughed to the point of bladder failure when she accidentally forgot that she mailed herself a cobra. Her blog (www.thebloggess.com) is award-winning, extremely popular, and she is considered to be one of the funniest women alive by at least three people.
So anyway, I got her book on kindle the day it came out. And then I proceeded to read the introduction out loud to my boyfriend. He laughed, and I laughed, and then I called my mom and read her some of it, and she laughed, too. Ultimately, my mom and I both ended up reading it, and loved it. My boyfriend… well, he read it by listening to me read highlights to him, which was most of the book.
There is a gratuitous use of footnotes (which you may remember or know that I love) and Jenny has mastered the art of telling the most absurd stories with an earnestness that makes them even better. She could write about the most boring day in her life and it would still be hysterical.
There is also quite a bit of swearing, but it never struck me as vulgar. (That said, I’m a construction worker– or skilled tradesperson to be specific– so my threshold for swearing is higher than most, I think.)
Despite the title, Jenny manages to be honest, baring her past and her struggles with depression, anxiety, and a series of miscarriages. She’ll make you laugh within a few pages of making you tear up, and the whole thing is can feel a bit like an emotional rollercoaster but it’s good. Her narrative is relatable, charming, and entertaining.
I loved this book and cannot recommend it highly enough. It earns a very solid 5/5 and a suggestion that you buy it.
A note on format: I would suggest getting the hardcover or paperback, since there are photos in the book that do not do well on Kindle. (This may not be true for Kindle Fire, but I have the “Kindle Keyboard” and it did not play nice.)If you enjoyed my review and decide to purchase this book, please consider using my Amazon referral link.