Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Let's Pretend This Never Happened

Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True MemoirLet's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny  Lawson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Jenny Lawson (also known as The Bloggess), recounts the stories from her life, beginning with her bizarre Texas childhood as the daughter of a taxidermist.

When not to read this book:
  • When your bus stop is coming up, because you'll probably miss it thanks to stories about roadkill squirrel handpuppets
  • When you have a mouthful of hot coffee, because you may lose it over the author's argument with her husband about the appropriateness of calling a graveyard "Resurrection Cemetary".
  • In a crowded Starbucks where people may look at you funny for laughing aloud to yourself
Lawson's sense of humor runs to the bizarre and frankly unbelievable - you won't be able to tell the true from the "mostly true" in this memoir. But facts are not why you read a blogger's memoir in the first place (though in her defense she does sometimes provide photographic proof). Her rambling style and recounting of unlikely conversations with her long-suffering husband will definitely hit your funnybone if you aren't one to be offended by f-bomb laden musings on the possibilities of a Harry Potter-esque vaginal scar. It's fun, but best in small doses.

There are also moments of real poignancy, as she tells the story of miscarriages, the sudden death of a well-loved pug (and the subsequent vulture invasion of its grave), and dealing with the effects of generalized anxiety disorder. She gets at real insights with outrageous flair:
  • "You should just 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 facade, so you might as well save yourself the effort and enjoy your zombie books."
  • "'A friend is someone who knows where all your bodies are buried. Because they're the ones who helped you put them there.' And sometimes, if you're really lucky, they help you dig them back up."
  • "Because you are defined not by life's imperfect moments, but by your reaction to them. And because there is joy in embracing - rather than running from - the utter absurdity of life."
And pay special attention to the mouse declaiming with a skull on the front cover of the book. Apparently it's one of the taxidermied creatures in Lawson's increasingly odd collection. For readalikes with similar absurdist humor, check out Jen Lancaster's Bright Lights, Big Ass or Stephen Colbert's I am America (And So Can You!) (which on audiobook is read by Colbert himself).

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