Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A (Mostly) True Memoir by Jenny Lawson
I’m a huge fan of authors like David Sedaris and Augusten Burroughs who’ve managed to write highly-entertaining humor memoirs about their strange childhoods and dysfunctional families. So when my best friend’s wife suggested I read Jenny Lawson’s Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, I knew it was something I’d enjoy. (Lawson is also the creator of TheBloggess.com)
Lawson grew up in a small Texas town with her mother, sister and eccentric taxidermist father. After a childhood where pet raccoons and skinned deer in the house is more the rule than the exception, she goes on to eventually marry her college sweetheart and begin a life of her own. Through debilitating anxiety and paranoia and a witty, often illogical sense of humor, Lawson’s life has been anything but normal. In Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A (Mostly) True Memoir, Lawson tells story after story of her quirky childhood, loving but combative relationship with her husband and her admiration for her daughter.
This is easily one of the funniest books I’ve ever read. I frequently found myself giggling uncontrollably while reading (and trying to hide it in public). Each day, I looked forward to picking up the book again to see what shenanigans Jenny had gotten herself into.
Jenny’s writing style is as unique as her personality. While I’m not normally a fan of stream of consciousness writing, here it fits perfectly with the way her mind wanders from one situation to another. In the days I spent reading this book, I found myself thinking in a similar pattern, jumping from one illogical thought to another. Despite her unconventional writing style, Jenny is actually a very good storyteller. She often begins with the main point of the story (that she got stabbed by chicken, for example) at the beginning of the chapter and goes on to explain how she ended up in a strange predicament or how her mind twisted itself up so much that she perceived a situation in a particular way. No matter the situation, her stories are always entertaining and her humor is uncanny.
Jenny’s relationship with her husband, Victor, is endearing. It’s obvious how much he cares for her, not only in his actions, but the fact that he is so patient and understanding with her. Just like any other couple, they fight and bicker – though about much weirder things – but they seem genuinely happy together and Victor supports and comforts her in a way no other person can. Jenny also conveys how much she adores her daughter and that she would go to any lengths to keep her safe (including being bitten by a dog, which is an actual story from the book).
Jenny’s openness about her anxiety and paranoia are what makes her so lovable. And the fact that she has a book and a blog that chronicles this for the whole world to see is admirable. Despite her struggles with anxiety and low self-esteem, Jenny is able to close her story with a positive attitude and an enlightened outlook on life. This is why Let’s Pretend This Never Happened is so compelling and hard to put down.
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened was published in 2012 by Putnam/Penguin.