For fans of Tina Fey and David Sedaris-Internet star Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, makes her literary debut.
When Jenny Lawson was little, all she ever wanted was to fit in. That dream was cut short by her fantastically unbalanced father (a professional taxidermist who created dead-animal hand puppets) and a childhood of wearing winter shoes made out of used bread sacks. 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.
Lawson’s long-suffering husband and sweet daughter are the perfect comedic foils to her absurdities, and help her to 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.
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened is a poignantly disturbing, yet darkly hysterical tome for every intellectual misfit who thought they were the only ones to think the things that Lawson dares to say out loud. Like laughing at a funeral, this book is both irreverent and impossible to hold back once you get started.
*Blurb from Goodreads*
I can count on one hand the number of nonfiction books that I’ve read. Not just liked. READ. I am not a fan. Never have been, and unless Jenny Lawson writes another book, doubt I ever will be. But this “Mostly True Memoir” was wonderful. It kept me laughing and giggling and wishing for more.
This book follows the life of Jenny Lawson, otherwise known as The Bloggess. She tells stories from her life in each chapter, and they continually get funnier and funnier as they go on. Starting with chapters from her childhood, she details growing up in a small Texas town with her taxidermist father. The stories range from her getting stuck in a deer, to their pet raccoon, and her father making a puppet out of dead animals. While at times the story from her childhood had me cringing (and very thankful I don’t know anyone who is a taxidermist), I also laughed harder than ever before.
The story moves forward and chronicles her hilarious adventures in school, like when her pet turkey followed her to school and had an…. “accident.” But despite these hilarious and sometimes outrageous (ok, almost always outrageous) stories, she always somehow manages to throw in a tidbit of worthwhile advice and extremely insightful quotes. For example:
“but the lessons I learned from them still remain: turkeys make terrible pets, you should never trust your father to identify poultry, and that you should accept who you are, flaws and all, because if you try to be someone you aren’t, then eventually some turkey is going to shit all over your well-crafted façade, so you might as well save yourself the effort and enjoy your zombie books.”
By far my favorite chapter was “The Dark and Disturbing Secrets HR Doesn’t Want You to Know.” In it, she shares some of the funniest moments of working in an HR office, including multiple penis conversations and the apparent misuse of company computers to look up, are you ready for this… Amputee porn. O_O This stuff can’t be made up…
Some of The Bloggess favorites can be read again, including my favorite blog post of all time, the Giant Metal Chicken story. We get the Dead Alligator on the Airplane post, and many of the classic Jenny and Victor conversations that are frequently showcased on the blog. I can honestly say that if those two have made it work, there is hope for me and my hubs after all. :)
Lawson also talks about her on-going social anxiety problems and how it has affected her throughout her entire life. She is candid and honest about the social awkwardness she sometimes creates, and how it had affected her life, for both the good and the bad. She is putting it all out there, letting everyone know just how real of a problem it can be, how widespread, and she is bringing it to life in a humorous and factual manner.
All in all Lawson had written a hysterically funny and yet profoundly deep memoir. The stories will have you laughing out loud until your side hurts, and then a message will pop up to make you think and appreciate everything you have in life. With one of the best Epilogues every written, I found myself wishing I had the chance to meet and befriend Lawson, because I can imagine my life would be richer for just calling her a friend.
I give Let’s Pretend This Never Happened an A-
and leave you with this:
But most importantly, I see me…or rather, the me I’ve become. Because I can finally see that all the terrible parts of my life, the embarrassing parts, the incidents I wanted to pretend never happened, and the things that make me “weird” and “different,” were actually the most important parts of my life. They were the parts that made me me.