Tuesday, May 08, 2012

"Let's Pretend This Never Happened" by Jenny Lawson- Oversharing at its Best

I don't remember when I first found The Bloggess. I'm pretty sure I blog-hopped my way to her site and never left- figuratively speaking. It isn't just that she's funny, and boy is she ever, it's that she isn't afraid to expose the raw nerves exposed by the insecurities and neuroses that most of us are too scared to share. Her new book Let's Pretend This Never Happened: (A Mostly True Memoir) is an even more frank, and funny, version of her blog and is an absolute gift to every blogger that has agonized over a post and wondered did I share too much?

For those of us who think we had a crazy childhood, Jenny's childhood in Wall, Texas is a lesson in perspective. I might have grown up on Hamburger Helper, but I never had to wear bread-sack shoes. Nor did my dad make a hobby of using road-kill for taxidermy. Jenny relates the stories of her upbringing in her trademark laugh-out-way, and as an added bonus has photographic evidence of the more outrageous stories. From her mortification of having a flock of turkeys (or very large quail according to her father) follow her to elementary school to the time she had to artificially inseminate a cow, Jenny points out the beauty of having high-school as the benchmark for embarrassment and the solace of knowing that things probably won't get worse from there (hopefully).

We get to meet her husband Victor- her amiable partner-in-crime (though I'm sure he thinks he's the voice of reason) and get a view into their lives and their unconventional bickering (who knew you could argue for a week over whether Franken Berry was male or female?) Despite the huge differences in upbringing they share a sweet goofiness and one can't help but marvel at Victor's ability to adapt to the nuttiness of Jenny's family (wait till you read about the bobcat).

Jenny's story incorporates her experiences working in Human Resources (I thought it was rare for men to email pictures of their junk to co-workers, but apparently it's quite common), her struggles to have a baby and the agony of the anxiety disorder that often has her hiding out in the bathroom at dinner parties- and her amazing ability to find the humor in all of it.

So many of us bloggers know Jenny as The Bloggess, but to get to know her in a book is special. The stories are hilarious but the most striking thing is that Jenny can tell you the most mundane thing and make it interesting. When she puts the wrong soap in the dishwasher it's entertaining because her inner monologue is funnier than ours. And I could only wish to have a way with a post-it-note like she does. It's also the first time I've ever been privy to the back-and-forth between an author and their editor- and I'm sure glad Jenny includes a few gems for us to enjoy.  I'm also fairly certain that she's the only person who can say Angelina Jolie is an anti-Semite and get away with it.

To say that I would recommend "Let's Pretend This Never Happened" is an understatement. It's one of those books that you can't put down and end up reading in one sitting. And it'll be especially endearing to those of you who blog. She's one of us- the socially awkward types who find it easier to seek companionship with like-minded people online. Who understands that the friendships you make are real, even if you never meet in person. I've tried to entice you to read the book by including a few tidbits in this review- but if that's not enough, just know that I enjoyed this book so much that everything else has seemed boring in comparison ever since.

5 out of 5 stars.


Charles Gramlich said...

That Road kill for taxidermy is interesting. I saw a movie where Robin Williams played a character who did that. Pretty bizaarre.

Madame Cahiers du cinéma said...

I have read nothing but great things about this book and I'm convinced I should add this to my summer reading/listening list - anything this crazy must be a good read. It's actually being reviewed next weekend on The Book Report -- its a literary AM talk radio show that I try to catch on WIOD here in Miami or I just stream it from their site also. I was checking out the upcoming book list at their site and saw this listed on the audiobook preview list and I decided to give it a look - Elaine Charles, the host, has great taste and has yet to steer me wrong.