Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Let's Pretend This Never Happened

Let's Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir)
by Jenny Lawson
Penguin Group; April 17, 2012
Kindle edition, 384 pages
ASIN: B0065S8R38

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.
My Thoughts: 

Let's Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) by Jenny Lawson is a very irreverent look at her life so far. Known as "The Bloggess"online Lawson first made her impact through her blog before writing a book that included many of her stories. This collection of mostly true and certainly embellished stories run the gamut from brutally honest to exaggerated to fabricated. You should be able to figure out what's real and what isn't.

Let's Pretend This Never Happened was making the book blogging rounds when it was first released and most of the reviews I read were raving about how funny she is and compared her to David Sedaris’s Naked.  I must admit that I enjoyed Sedaris's books more. While she is funny, much of the humor and language definitely deserves an R rating and was almost just too far over the top several times. It also seems less story teller based and much more frantic one liners that may or may not lead up to a good story.

There are moments when Lawson isn't relying on crude jokes and is legitimately sharing where she shines. This is generally when she is talking about a real life experience and not trying to tell us a story to prove how messed up she is. Hey, we all have our issues and it helps to laugh about them.

I'd highly recommend this, as long as you are fully aware that it is only for mature audiences.


Usually when I tell people my dad was a Texas armadillo racing champion, they assume I’m exaggerating, but then I pull out his silver armadillo championship ring (which is, of course, shaped like an armadillo), and then they’re all, “Crap on a crap cracker, you’re actually serious.” And then they usually leave quickly. Page 17

Also, whenever I read this paragraph to people who don’t live in the South, they get hung up on the fact that we had furniture devoted to just guns, but in rural Texas pretty much everyone has a gun cabinet. Unless they’re gay. Then they have gun armoires. Page 20

There are few advantages to growing up poor, and not having money for therapy is the biggest. Page 23

My grandparents weren’t poor, but they were the type of people to save and reuse tinfoil, always certain that another depression was looming around the corner, so they met the challenge of creating a pool for their grandchildren by salvaging three fiberglass bathtub shells that someone was throwing away. Page 34

When I was little my mother used to say that I had “a nervous stomach.” That was what we called “severe untreated anxiety disorder” back in the seventies, when everything was cured with Flintstone vitamins and threats to send me to live with my grandmother if I didn’t stop hiding from people in my toy box. Page 37

Occasionally the turkeys would follow us, menacingly, on our quarter-mile walk to school, lurking behind us like improbable gang members or tiny, feathered rapists. Even at age nine I was painfully self-conscious, and was aware that dysfunctional pet turkeys would not be viewed as “cool,” so I would always duck inside the schoolhouse as quickly as possible and feign ignorance, conspicuously asking my classmates why the hell there were always jumbo quail on the playground. Page 43

Pretty much everyone hates high school. It’s a measure of your humanity, I suspect. If you enjoyed high school, you were probably a psychopath or a cheerleader. Or possibly both. Those things aren’t mutually exclusive, you know. I’ve tried to block out the memory of my high school years, but no matter how hard you try to ignore it, it’s always with you, like an unwanted hitchhiker. Or herpes. I assume. Page 48

High school is life’s way of giving you a record low to judge the rest of your life by. Page 55

Victor kind of rolled his eyes when his mom went on about all the debutante balls Victor had gone to with these girls, and I nodded, trying to look politely interested. Then she asked me when I came out and I said, “Oh, I’m not gay. I’m dating your son,” which I thought was pretty clear to begin with. Then Victor started coughing loudly and Bonnie looked confused, but then she got distracted, because Victor sounded like he’d swallowed his own tongue, and then right after that Victor said that we should probably leave. Page 81

“It’s nothing,” I said. “It’s just that . . . Have you ever been homesick for someplace that doesn’t actually exist anymore? Someplace that exists only in your mind?” Page 103

1. Did you know that “ostensively” isn’t a word? Because I didn’t, and apparently I’ve been using the wrong word for my entire life. Apparently the “correct” word is “ostensibly.” Ostensively. Page 124

It is exhausting being me. Pretending to be normal is draining and requires amazing amounts of energy and Xanax. In fact, I should probably charge money to all the normal people to simply not go to your social functions and ruin them. Page 150

Most bloggers are emotionally unstable and are often awkward in social situations, which is why so many of us turned to blogging in the first place. Page 171

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