Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

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Title: Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir)
Author: Jenny Lawson
Publisher: Amy Einhorn
Publication Date: 2012
Genre: memoir, humor

The Premise

From Goodreads:

Jenny Lawson realized that the most mortifying moments of our lives—the ones we’d like to pretend never happened—are in fact the ones that define us. In the #1 New York Times bestseller, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, Lawson takes readers on a hilarious journey recalling her bizarre upbringing in rural Texas, her devastatingly awkward high school years, and her relationship with her long-suffering husband, Victor. Chapters include: “Stanley the Magical, Talking Squirrel”; “A Series of Angry Post-It Notes to My Husband”; “My Vagina Is Fine. Thanks for Asking”; “And Then I Snuck a Dead Cuban Alligator on an Airplane.” Pictures with captions (no one would believe these things without proof) accompany the text.

I listened to the audiobook version read by the author.

The Good

  • That cover is EVERYTHING.
  • Some of the stories, particularly those at the start of the book about her with her very strange childhood living in rural Texas are laugh-out-loud, milk through the nose funny. I made the mistake of starting to listen to this book at work, and, well, it was awkward. These stories are good: well-constructed, tightly paced, with David-Sedaris levels of hilarity.
  • Lawson writes honestly and openly about some really heartbreaking, difficult stuff, particularly her fertility issues, rheumatoid arthritis, and her struggles with mental health. As somebody who suffers from anxiety, I particularly appreciated her descriptions of how anxiety can skew the way you view the world and lead to behaviors that to a lot of people seem completely bizarre but make perfect sense in your head.

The Bad

  • Those laugh-out-loud stories about her childhood? They make up maybe a third of the book. Her stories about her work life, marriage, and motherhood mostly left me cold. This is gonna be harsh and make me sound like a jerk, but… a) I am a jerk sometimes and b) I’m allowed to like what I like. I just don’t find Lawson or her life particularly interesting. Yes, she’s funny. Yes, she’s brave and honest about her struggles. Yes, she had a bonkers childhood. But the rest? Her marriage, her career, the wacky mishaps? I needed something more to keep me engaged and interesting.
  • While some of the stories felt well-crafted, much of the rest of the book is much more self-conscious, stream-of-consciousness stuff. I don’t have a problem with that style per se, and I suspect it’s meant convey what it’s like inside of Lawson’s mind.  But… it felt like it needed to be edited, shaped, structured. So many of the stories felt like unedited blog posts where you just sit and write and write and write. There’s nothing wrong with that on a blog, but a 8+ hour audiobook of that gets old fast.

The Verdict

3/5 stars for the laugh-out-loud moments and the depictions of anxiety. Also, the cover earned at least a half a star.

3 comments

  1. Have you read her other book, Furiously Happy? I’m about to read it. Looking forward to laughing at the antics that come with anxiety (I have it, so I can say that). 😉

    Like

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