Monday, April 30, 2012

Let's Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir), by Jenny Lawson (the Bloggess)- Review

I've been following The Bloggess on twitter almost since the day I joined (which is not long, but hey, I was a hold out for a good reason, Twitter is a diabolical eater of time), and she has made me laugh until I cried on several occasions.  To say I was eagerly awaiting her book is an understatement, and I was elated when I won an early ARC from Penguin (on Twitter, you fabled wonderful eater of my time!).

It arrived with almost fated timing, two days before being told in a walk-in clinic that my god awful rash from hell was actually shingles.
I don't talk about it, because I'm sure it's fabulously boring to the average reader, but I've been on a bit of health roller coaster since September, when I came out of 13 years of remission from Rheumatoid Arthritis.  I've had a plethora of fun times with severe joint pain, massive loss of mobility and less than fun side effects from fun drugs like steroids (lets just say that side effects include: moon face, buffalo hump and stretch marks as well as massive weight gain, and they're all just as fun as the "medical" terms make them sound).  Shingles was the icing on the cake I tell you, and if Jenny hadn't had me laughing my ass off (even in the walk-in waiting room) I may have had to have had a serious pity party.

A series of stories from her, often surreal, life, Jenny does two things that make this book one that should be the #1 book on everyones list this year.  First off she makes you laugh, and laugh and laugh.  At one point I laughed so hard I was sobbing- in bed.  The hubby was rolling his eyes at me, but oh god, so hysterical.  But even better than this, she tells a life story with heart.  I walked away feeling so good about things, she should sell this book as the side effect free replacement for Xanax and Valium.  Hell it should be sold as a happy drug.

Her life has not been easy, miscarriages, anxiety issues, rheumatoid arthritis (see, I bored you with mine for a reason!), poverty, and yet she tells all of it with optimism and joviality that's not at all hurtful or even self deprecating, it's truly a celebration of an unusual life.  It left me a bit jealous my life wasn't crazier.   But she also talks about many moments I could fully relate to- going home and realizing it's moved on and is no longer the place of your childhood memories:
 "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?"

Developing relationships with on-line blogging friends:
Women scare me enough, but bloggers can be even more frightening to deal with.  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.  Also, they are always looking for something to write about, so if you fuck something up it will be blogged, Facebooked, and retweeted until your death.  It would be a lot like Lindsay Lohan spending a weekend with TMZ and the National Enquirer, and I suspect that one day my gravestone will simply read: JENNY LAWSON: SHE WAS MISQUOTED ON TWITTER.

And of course the endlessly funny, and so true to all married couples, ridiculous arguments with Victor:
Victor and I are having a huge argument about whether or not to feed the foxen.  Victor says yes, because they're adorable and- according to the neighbours- are quite tame.  I say no, because we have a fat little pug who likes to frolic outside occasionally and I don't want to see him eaten.  I thought we were on the same page about the fox, but then Victor went and threw an apple at it.  And I was all, "What the fuck? We don't feed the foxen,"  and he said, "I was throwing the apple at it to chase it away,"  but Victor is a tremendous liar, and he didn't go to pick up the apple, probably because he knows that foxen love apple cider... Victor has fallen for their clever ploys and is sneaking food out to the backyard so he can feed them.  Because Victor thinks I'm stupid.  He goes throught the fridge and carefully pulls out perfectly good sausages and eggs and loudly exclaims that they've gone bad, and then he throws them out the back door and wathces for movement.  He says he's " composting," but I've called him on his bullshit.  " You can't feed them," I explain again.  "That's like chumming for foxen.  I'm not going to bait the hole and then put Barnaby Jones Pickles out there.  we'll come out to see a fox chewing on the end of an empty leash." 
 "BUT I WANT TO SEE ONE UP CLOSE," Victor yells.
  "They look like cats." I say.  "Like grayish, plotting cats."

This sounds suspiciously like the arguments I had with the hubby when I wanted to foster two kittens at one point (my limit had been one foster at a time).  His argument was "think of all the cat poop," and mine was that he was ridiculous, they were so tiny their little turds hardly smelled at all.  I prevailed until the little traitors turned up at our house and with in minutes had THE BIGGEST, SMELLIEST TURDS EVER!  Honestly, didn't they know I was on their side?  They didn't even do it right after one of our own cats so I could blame it on Cheddar or Deliah.  Cutest, most ungrateful, little urchins.

Yesterday it was announced that Let's Pretend This Never Happened, had soared to the #1 spot on the NYT Bestsellers list for Non-fiction, and it didn't surprise me in the least.  It's a book with something for everyone, and I plan on buying it by the case this year and sharing it with every person I've ever known.  Honest to god, I'd like to give it out on the street corner every Monday morning as a public service.

Jenny, I hope you won't deny me my fangirl moment when I fall all over myself in the most embarrassing way at the BEA/BBC this year, because I think this might actually be love.

Let's Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir), by Jenny Lawson
Published by Amy Einhorn Books, April 17th, 2012
You don't follow The Bloggess? Crazy person, rectify that pronto.
My copy kindly provided by the publisher
Buy Let's Pretend This Never Happened: (A Mostly True Memoir) on Amazon


  1. I was wondering how this book would go over, especially in the blogging community. I'm glad to know that it's a big hit and I can't wait to get my hands on a copy. Humor can get us through the toughest of times. I'm sorry you've had such a struggle these past few months.

  2. Thanks Stacy, hopefully it's nearing an end!
    It's a great book, I can't wait to hear what you think of it.

  3. I laughed until I cried in bed too! It was the Stanley The Magical Squirrel chapter, and I got a headache from laughing so hard.

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  5. I keep hearing about this book on so many blogs, so this review is just the push I needed to finally decide to read it. I'm going to try to get an audio copy and have a listen!

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