Monday, April 23, 2012

Review: Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson (The Bloggess)

Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir
Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I can't remember the last time a book made me laugh this hard. At page 120, I literally had to put the book down, log into Goodreads, and update my status before I could stop giggling. Then I wiped my tears of laughter away, and went back to reading.

My husband was both intrigued and baffled by this, among many similar episodes. More than once, I woke him up with how hard I was laughing. Considering he's taken to wearing earplugs (I wonder why), it was quite a feat.

I've been reading Jenny Lawson's blog* since her most popular post went viral last summer, so I had a vague notion of what to expect from her book. And yet, I was unprepared. The humor is at once her trademark absurdist brand and something that sneaks up on you.

(* As I don't swear in my reviews or on my blog, I feel it would be appropriate to alert you that The Bloggess has a varied and colorful vocabulary. If you're offended by four-letter words, you are unlikely to appreciate that link.)

Were this book just a humorous romp, though, I wouldn't have rated it as high as I did. I would've felt enlightened, knowing the childhood and upbringing that made The Bloggess the woman so many readers love today. I would've felt like I'd gotten my money's worth.

But there's even more to it than a quirky childhood, laugh-worthy observations, and bizarre circumstances brought about by the various quirks she discusses. There's also a depth to this narrative. It's in the overall thread running through the chapters about her relationship with her husband, where they bicker about the oddest things and she reveals how she frustrates him, but it's clear they're made for each other. It's in the chapter where she takes a big risk to hang out with people she knows only online, and discovers that meeting people can be awesome, if they're the right people. It's in the humble way she refuses to take credit for the strength she evinces in these pages.

Though the book heavily features taxidermy and an obsession with stuffed dead things, you don't have to appreciate taxidermy to like this book. I'm indifferent to the subject, and yet I relate to The Bloggess's obsession, because I have things I buy even though I know I shouldn't, too.

The Bloggess espouses the value of being furiously happy. I didn't know if I really knew what that meant, before I read this book. Now, I know, because this book has made me furiously happy. You should be furiously happy with me, and read it.

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