Let’s Pretend This Never Happened

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir)

by Jenny Lawson
ISBN 978-0-399-15901-5
Amy Einhorn Books, Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 2012

“Because there is joy in embracing—rather than running screaming from—the utter absurdity of life.” —Jenny Lawson

Consider this book therapy to process your own dysfunctional family experiences. Consider it therapy to make yourself feel better about your own weird personality quirks. When you read this book, you will be glad you are reading about Jenny Lawson’s life and not living it.

Jenny Lawson, The Bloggess, has enough blog followers to send this book to #1 on the New York Times bestseller list its first week out, so things aren’t so bad really. To get to that point though, Lawson had to learn how to leverage life’s challenges instead of let them destroy her. She describes this lifelong process in Let’s Pretend This Never Happened with humour, sarcasm, and poignancy.

This book’s 18+ rating indicates that Lawson uses language that one wouldn’t use in the presence of the Queen. The subject matter of her stories wouldn’t be appropriate bedtime reading for your children. But Lawson entertains. No one else has a mind that functions quite like hers. Reading this you marvel and admire her fresh take on life, and you start to think, “If only I were as interesting as unique as Jenny Lawson.” Then you realize that to be like her, you would have to suffer from anxiety disorder, depression and an unnatural obsession with the zombie apocalypse and vaginas. Not worth the tradeoff. You will laugh at Lawson’s telling of events, but you will never lose sight of the shadow side of pain that lies behind it all.

And you will laugh out loud reading this book. Unless you are a member of PETA. Then you might suffer palpitations and fainting spells. You might cry reading this book. Especially if you are a member of PETA.

Lawson uses a variety of literary techniques to relate her story—not because she’s trying to be clever or coy, but because that’s her natural storytelling style. The playwright-style dialogues and Post-it note conversations with her long-suffering husband are especially entertaining. Amusing captions accompany the photographs embedded within the narrative instead in a clump in the middle of the book.

Lawson calls her book a “mostly true memoir,” but it is in truth part memoir and part life-as-lived-now. We read about her childhood with bobcats in the house and dead animal playtoys, and we read about her current scorpio-ridden life in rural Texas. You can choose which parts are true and which parts are mostly true, but whether true or just entertaining, the lesson for all of us remains the same. The challenges we overcome become the things of which we are the most proud. As Lawson says, “. . . the most terribly human moments—the ones we want to pretend never happened—are the very same moments that make us who we are today.”

Arlene Somerton Smith


About Arlene Somerton Smith

Writer, laughing thinker, miner of inspirational insights, sports fan, and community volunteer

Posted on June 6, 2012, in Books I bought, Non-fiction, Penguin Group and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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