Let’s Pretend This Never Happened

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Let’s Pretend This Never Happened
A Mostly True Memoir
by Jenny Lawson
★★★★☆

I’m not really a “laugh out loud” kind of girl. This is why I don’t go to comedy clubs. The only time I went to one it was disastrous. The comedian was pissed because I wasn’t laughing at any of his jokes so he yelled at me! Anyway, the point is, it takes a LOT to make me actually laugh out loud and this book just killed me. I started laughing so loud while I was reading it in bed that my husband finally made me read the section I was in
aloud to him.

Jenny Lawson, better known online as The Bloggess, has been crossing lines and embarrassing her husband online for years. I first discovered her through the infamous metal rooster post and she’s been cracking me up ever since. Her memoir maintains her hilarious rambling style and it works well with the crazy (but true) stories she tells.

Lawson covers a lot of ground in her first memoir. We start with her childhood in a small town in Texas and her taxidermist father who can’t help but bring home some interesting “pets.” We follow her all the way through uncomfortable moments in high school, adventures in her HR job, a nervous weekend with other bloggers, meeting her boyfriend’s wealthy parents and some odd run-ins with Texas wildlife.

Her relationship with her long-suffering husband Victor is one of the funniest aspects of the book. The two are incredibly different, but they understand each other and that makes their relationship work.

I couldn’t stop laughing out loud at some of the mental pictures she paints, like her finance’s mother visiting her parents for the first time and driving up to see Lawson’s father boiling animal skulls in their yard.

But the book isn’t all laughs. There are some incredibly serious issues discussed as well. Lawson has struggled with anorexia, anxiety disorders, depression and more. She talks about each of those things with a bracing honesty and humor, but the edge of her literary voice is tinged with the pain of those struggles.

I think Jenny’s writing is both riotously funny and jarringly honest. Her irreverent style and adult language may not appeal to everyone, but I think fans of David Sedaris would love her.

I’ll leave you with a great example of Lawson’s writing style. If the following paragraph cracks you up, you’ll probably love the book. If it doesn’t, then don’t read the book, and also, what’s wrong with you?!? (Just kidding… kind of).

“Spell-check refuses to recognize the word “Chupacabras.” Probably because it’s racist. Spell-check, I mean, not chupacabras. Chupacabras are monsters from Mexico that suck blood out of goats. They don’t care what race you are. Bizarrely, spell-check is perfectly fine with the word “CHUPACABRA!” in all caps, which makes no sense at all. Unless it’s because it recognizes that you’d use that word only while screaming. Touché, spell-check. P.S. Actual words used in this book that spell-check insists are not real words: Velociraptors. Shiv. Chupacabra. Yay. It’s like spell-check doesn’t even want me to write my memoir.”

Here are a few other thoughts on the book…
Devourer of Books
Beth Fish Reads

17 comments:

Sandy Nawrot said...

I just finished this one on audio (OMG she narrates it herself). Holy crap is she funny. I followed her blog, but I never quite GOT her. I think you need her whole story to understand where she is coming from. And that would be...some unknown planet I think.

annieb said...

I may have to make an exception to my "no new books" policy for this one. I stumbled across The Bloggess when you wrote about her the last time and think she is amazingly funny, but then I like David Sedaris as well and adult language doesn't bother me in the least. I am not a laugh out loud person either; more of a giggler/chuckler myself.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Sandy - I would LOVE to listen to the audio of this one! I bet she would be the perfect reader for it too. Soemtimes the authors are awful, but I think it would work in this case. I also agree that knowing her background really explains a lot about her sense of humor.

annieb - It's a very similar sense of humor to Sedaris. Very odd, redneck family, crazy things happen to them, etc. If you like him, I think it's safe to say she'd crack you up as well.

Kailana said...

I have been seeing this around. I think I am going to read it at some point. :)

Anonymous said...

Never heard of this before, but now I want to read it! Thanks! Also, I must hear the comedy club story sometime.
-Care

Carl V. said...

I added this one to the wishlist as soon as I saw mention of it online. I hadn't actually heard of her before but the book sounded way too fun to pass up.

Jenners said...

Even though I have burning jealousy at bloggers who get book deals, this does sound worthy!!

Alyce said...

I've only tried to read one David Sedaris book and wasn't a fan, but that excerpt was very funny so you never know. Plus the whole future mother-in-law meeting her dad while he's boiling heads just sounds awesome. I'm off to check out her blog now.

Alyce said...

OMG - I just read the metal chicken post! I laughed so hard I cried - love that photo of the ridiculous chicken at the door! I'm definitely adding her blog to my reader.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Kailana - Save it for a time when you need a good laugh!

Care - Stupid comedy clubs, they stress me out now! The comedian can see you so you feel like you have to laugh at their jokes.

Carl V. - It did not disappoint!

Jenners - I know, it seems like there are so many now. But I agree, she absolutely deserved one.

Alyce - Hahaha, that's the post that hooked me! I couldn't stop laughing. "The chicken will CUT you!"

Meg @ write meg! said...

Cannot wait to read this one... Jenny is hilarious! Glad to hear her memoir is great.

Bookish Hobbit said...

Sounds like an interesting book. I think I'll have to look into it later. Great review!

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Meg - She really is!

Bookish Hobbit - It's perfect if you need a laugh.

Kristi said...

I'm so glad you loved it. I suspect I will too. Can't wait to read it!

I started following her blog about six months ago. I think the first post I read was about her wearing that wolf pelt to the latest Twilight movie. I'm not much of a "laugh out loud" person either, but I laugh out loud at her blog more than any others I've read.

As you mentioned, what makes her so amazing is that she seems to be a really genuine person. Behind all of the humor, there's an honesty to her writing. I'm amazed at how much she does to raise much needed awareness of mental health issues.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Kristi - The wolf pelt! I loved that post. I think you're right about the "person behind the humor" thing. Her blog wouldn't be as good if it was just the funny bits. Her book dives even more into the real stuff.

Trish said...

She was just at my local indie and I was there that night attending book club. I was so so sad not to see her speak but am really trying hard to get involved with the group. :(
But people were ROARING laughing and I saw a few people being carried out of the store because they were so drunk. Ha!

Her blog is a little too over the top for me but I'll eventually read this one.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Trish - That's hilarious. She's not coming to my town, but I wish she was! I'm sure she isn't for everyone, but she cracks me up.