Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson (pub date 4/17/12)
“People with anxiety disorders are often labeled as ‘shy’ or ‘quiet’ or ‘that strange girl who probably buries bodies in her basement.’”
In my recent post about the BEA Bloggers Conference, I wrote about Jenny Lawson’s entertaining and heartfelt closing speech at the conference. She struck me as one of those people who is just naturally funny, and her delivery and comedic timing cracked me up all throughout her speech. But even as she discussed more serious issues like her battle with anxiety problems, she still captivated the audience with her honesty and unique perspective on life. After receiving a copy of her book at the conference, I knew I wanted to read it right away.
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened is Lawson’s (mostly true) memoir. It’s a composite of events from her childhood, stories from her experience as a human resources rep, random arguments with her husband, phobias, and obsessions. With a poignant wit, she describes growing up poor in rural Texas with a taxidermist father who also enjoyed bringing home live wild animals. She moves onto meeting her husband Victor and how on the night he proposed she was convinced he was going to kill her. Later in the book are side-splitting stories from her HR days, and various calamities that you feel bad for laughing at, like the time she had to bury and then exhume her beloved pug Barnaby Jones.
Though humorous at heart, the book has its tender moments as well. Lawson writes about the misfortunes in her life, like her multiple miscarriages and battle with anxiety disorder, with a voice that lets you know she is using humor to deal with the pain. She fears going out in public, and when she does her obsession with fitting in causes her to unintentionally make a scene. Her descriptions of these events are hilarious, but you somehow feel bad for laughing. Yet in the end it’s OK to laugh, because she is laughing along with you. Lawson also describes the joys in her life, like the birth of her daughter and her love for her husband. Moments like these give a lot of substance to the book, and let you know more about who Lawson is as an individual.
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened is probably the funniest memoir you’ll ever read. With chapter titles like “Stanley the Magical Talking Squirrel,” “If You Need an Arm Condom, It Might Be Time to Reevaluate Some of Your Life Choices,” and “Thanks for the Zombies, Jesus,” you know you’re in for a real treat. It’s dark, it’s offensive, it’s gross, and it’s also human. It’s about the moments that we wish we could just forget, but ultimately make us who we are. It’s definitely not for everyone, but if you have a twisted sense of humor and an appreciation for the macabre, you definitely need to read this book. And check out Jenny Lawson’s blog The Bloggess, the thing that started it all!