A Review of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

Let's Pretend cover

 

My friend Cat recently told me about a book that she thought I would like.  She said that it was written by Jenny Lawson, a woman who also goes by the title of the “bloggess”.  I had no idea who this was, as I had never heard either her name or her title before.

The book is “a mostly true memoir” – and is quite hilarious.
The Good
The beginning of the book, in which Jenny Lawson talks about her childhood, is absolutely wonderful.  Seriously.  Her dad is seemingly a little off, but it makes for wacky and hilarious stories.  The best thing about this part of the book was that I could relate to it a little bit (I, too, fell out of a car when I was around 3), but the stories were still pretty unique and bizarre.  They were new stories – ones that felt real, although a little wild.
Lawson also does a pretty remarkable job writing a few serious chapters, dealing with some tragic occurrences in her life – things that are usually pretty difficult to talk about.  Obviously, the humor is toned down in these sections, but Lawson seemingly writes from the heart – it feels sincere, and it definitely left an impression on me.  It seemed to show her ability to write compellingly regardless of the subject matter, while simultaneously giving a more full and complete picture about just who Jenny Lawson is – the true goal of any memoir.
I also felt like Lawson portrayed an incredible love story without really ever calling it that or perhaps without ever even being aware of it.  The stories about her and her husband, and the relationship that they apparently have seemed both real and wonderful.  I really liked the banter that she showcased – hilarious, but also coming from a good place.
The Bad
Jenny Lawson has a very interesting way of writing.  You will see what I mean as soon as you read it.  It can be a bit random, rambling, and sputtering, which does sometimes add to the humor, but can also detract from it.  At times, her constant rambling made me grow weary; I longed for the story that she had begun telling before randomness interrupted.  There were also points in which it seemed that she was trying too hard to be goofy – such as when she tries to convince us that there is a secret word or exaggerates to the point where she becomes frustrating.  In the case of the secret word, it’s this long passage at the beginning – an annoying one at that – and did not add to the memoir at all.  But moving past it was relatively easy and worth it.
The Verdict
Overall, this book was quite funny, and I think Lawson would be really cool to hang out with.
Read: If you are looking for something light & funny, including many moments where you literally laugh out loud, this is for you.  There are some serious moments, but I think humor reigns supreme.  Although I think this book appeals to more of a random humor crowd, as Lawson gets easily distracted.  But her life has been pretty different from the norm – something I really appreciated.
Don’t Read: This type of humor just might not be for everyone.  I am having a hard time finding something to compare Let’s Pretend This Never Happened to… But if you don’t find any comic potential in dead squirrels, ducks for pets, and a taxidermied baby crocodile who is apparently French, then you should probably pass on this one.
-R

Written by Rachel B.

Rachel is a co-creator and writer at Definitely Not for the Birds (DNFB). She recently graduated with a degree in English. Presently, she writes, reads, and then reads and writes some more, with a giant and ever-present mug of green tea in her hand. Follow Rachel @rrbindl and DNFB @not4birds

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