Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Review: Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: (A Mostly True Memoir) – Jenny Lawson

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: (A Mostly True Memoir) – Jenny Lawson

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.

Review: I knew I needed to read this book as soon as I saw the cover. It has a taxidermy mouse on it. A mouse that happens to be dressed as Hamlet. This is a total me-book.

Jenny Lawson’s other memoir, Furiously Happy, was one of my favorites last year. I love how she uses humor to cope with her mental illnesses. I do the same thing. Sometimes, when weird stuff happens, all you can do is laugh at it.

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened focuses on the worst moments of Jenny’s life. “Worst” can mean anything from slightly embarrassing to tragic. Jenny talks about her miscarriages as well as the time she thought someone was breaking into her house while she was trapped on the toilet with diarrhea. Nothing is off-limits. She argues that our worst moments—and how we deal with them—shape who we are. I totally agree with the message of this memoir.

“Because you are defined not by life's imperfect moments, but by your reaction to them. And because there is joy in embracing—rather than running from—the utter absurdity of life.” – Let’s Pretend This Never Happened

This book is hilarious. I especially like the chapter about Jenny’s career in HR and all the stupid things that people do at work (including watching porn on company computers during the workday). There’s also a chapter where Jenny’s dad slips half a dead squirrel on his hand and uses it as a puppet. Yeah . . . kind of gross. The thing still had some of the guts in it.

And, there are chapters about blogging! Jenny is a blogger. She talks about being nervous to meet other bloggers, and then discovering that they’re just as weird and antisocial as she is. This book confirmed my opinion that bloggers are the most awesome people ever.

“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.” – Let’s Pretend This Never Happened

Compared to Furiously Happy, I found Let’s Pretend This Never Happened a little disappointing. While Furiously Happy focuses on mental illness, Let’s Pretend is scattered. The stream-of-consciousness style is very prominent. It jumps somewhat randomly through Jenny’s life and is full of long tangents and vagina jokes. Sometimes I just wanted the chapters to get to the point.

I think the author sometimes tries too hard to make her life seem outrageous. She goes on and on about what a strange childhood she had, but it didn’t seem that strange to me. Maybe it’s because I’m also kind of “country.” A house full of animals (both live and taxidermy) is pretty common around here. Also, what parent hasn’t had a kid’s diaper disintegrate, bloat, or explode in water? It seems to be a normal experience.

I didn’t think this book was as good as Furiously Happy, but I’ll probably read whatever Jenny Lawson writes next.

“I am the Wizard of Oz of housewives (in that I am both "Great and Terrible" and because I sometimes hide behind the curtains” – Let’s Pretend This Never Happened


  1. I've seen these books on a lot of blogs but never really paid much attention to them before...but I do love the covers and your review makes them sound kind of interesting. Maybe I will take a look at some point...

  2. Completely agree that I liked Furiously Happy more but I really enjoyed this one. I thought her childhood was different but we were less "country" for sure. I hope she writes more soon!

  3. It's a shame you couldn't enjoy this one as much as Furiously Happy, but it still sounds like it was still quite an enjoyable and funny read nonetheless. Maybe it just needed to be a little more straightforward with the meaning...

    1. Yeah, I would have liked it a lot more if it wasn’t so rambley.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

  4. I agree that those circumstances don't sound all THAT crazy, but it still sounds like a great book!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  5. I definitely want to read Furiously Happy. But I (and this is random) like to read funny memoirs in the bath tub, so... bubble bath and this book could work for me, even if it isn't quite as good as the former. I agree that the diaper bit is kind of a given, but I didn't have squirrel puppets so maybe that'd work ;) Great review, glad that it was at least enjoyable!