Published by Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated on 2012-04
Genres: Biography & Autobiography, Essays, Form, Humor, Personal Memoirs, Women
For fans of Tina Fey and David Sedaris—Internet star Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, makes her literary debut. 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.
This is laugh like a crazy person funny. This is don’t read it in public because you’re going to get weird looks funny. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened is one of the funniest books I’ve read in a long time. Just thinking about it makes me have to clench my jaw to stifle giggles. I’m getting weird looks from my husband right now.
It’s best at the beginning, she really packs most of the hilarity in the first half of the book but there are still little places where I started laughing maniacally in the second half of the book as well. In the essay, “If You Need an Arm Condom, It Might Be Time to Reevaluate Some of Your Life Choices (Alternative Title: High School is Life’s Way of Giving You a Record Low to Judge the Rest of Your Life By)” she recounts a formative episode in her high school years where she impregnates a cow.
I’m positive that there’s something deep and important there and even if there isn’t, well, at least I don’t have my arm stuck up a cow’s vagina.
So while clearly, this book is highly amusing, it also tackles a very important topic. Lawson speaks freely and honestly about her generalized anxiety disorder. This makes me happy for several reasons, not the least of which is that this book has brought tales and experiences of a mental health disorder to those who otherwise never would have experienced or read anything other than what mainstream media and Hollywood churns out. She undoubtably reaches a wide audience both with and without the mental health community.
I love this book and think that everyone should read it. While some of the experiences are pulled from Lawson’s blog (The Bloggess) there’s a narrative flow to the book that makes it an excellent example of how to properly write a book after offered a book deal because of your blog.
One last personal note.
I have a signed copy of this book. I went to a book signing with my sister in St. Louis. It was downtown and we underestimated her rabid popularity so we reserved a table at a nice restaurant before the signing. We had a few cocktails, shared a bottle of wine and then walked down to Left Bank Books where the event was being held. We were late, this meant that we were the second to last people in line. By the time we made our way to the signing table you could just tell she was totally exhausted. That didn’t stop her from being a total pro.
My sister was there on serious business, to get a book signed for a Christmas gift, so being a little intoxicated we had a long discussion on how we were going to have her inscribe it. At this point I’m waffling because I have an acquaintance who loves her, so I was thinking of getting it inscribed for her but then thought that might be weird. If I had known then what I know now about book collecting I would have just had her flat sign it, but I didn’t so here we are.
Stephen King is hands down my favorite author. So when there are probably only five people left in front of us I turn to my sister and exclaim, “Do you think I could get her to sign it as Stephen King?!” my sister looks at me with dead eyes and hisses, “You wouldn’t.”
Au contraire, ma soeur. My sister doesn’t like to inconvenience people and she doesn’t like to be embarrassed, so naturally I’m always inconveniencing her and doing inappropriate things to make her uncomfortable. I take her response as a dare.
It’s our turn. I place my slip of paper on how I want her to sign it and as she lifts her pen I break in and say, “Hey, this is going to be weird, but can you sign it as Stephen King?” if she missed a beat, I didn’t notice it. She grinned at me and said, “Absolutely!” In retrospect she may have been thinking, “Almost done, just sign the signatures, at least you don’t have your arm in a cow’s vagina.” but if that’s what she was thinking, she never let it show.
My sister was mortified and gave an uncomfortable laugh when I pointed it out. I think that she threatened my life several times on the way home, though you would have thought after growing up with me she would be used to it by now.