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

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

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 jour...

Title:Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:0399159010
Edition Language:English
Number of Pages:318 pages

Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir Reviews

  • Jenny Lawson

    I wrote this book so I think I'm required to like it. But I'd like it even if someone else wrote it. Although if they did I'd sue them for stealing my life story.

    How confusing.

    Much like the book.

  • Jeanette

    Skull and crossbones on this one if you're easily offended. So no whiners, okay? I mean it. Just....no whining.

    This is the most hilarious vagina memoir ever written. Okay, so technically it's not just about vaginas, but she mentions hers more often than anyone I've ever known who actually owns one. And besides, I had to throw that out there right at the start, so if you're going to get all upset you can just get it overwith and stay. away. from. the. book. Should you choose to read it

    , d

    Skull and crossbones on this one if you're easily offended. So no whiners, okay? I mean it. Just....no whining.

    This is the most hilarious vagina memoir ever written. Okay, so technically it's not just about vaginas, but she mentions hers more often than anyone I've ever known who actually owns one. And besides, I had to throw that out there right at the start, so if you're going to get all upset you can just get it overwith and stay. away. from. the. book. Should you choose to read it

    , don't come back to me all complainy about how crass she is.

    Oh, and also? This book is not suitable for people who dislike frequent interjections of words beginning with "f" and ending with "u-c-k." And I mean with no letters in between the "f" and the "u-c-k," so "firetruck" doesn't count.

    So just to be clear: To my knowledge there is no use of the word "firetruck" in this memoir. You've been warned.

    NB: Jenny's dad is a taxidermist, so there are also a lot of dead animals in this memoir. But there are some adorable live ones, too. Especially if you like robertcats. (I know, most people call them bobcats, but I prefer to use robertcat until we get to know each other better.)

    So be impressed. This book is chock full of curse words, and I managed to write my review without officially using any of them.

  • Katie Mercer

    Basically the best review I can give this book, is that as a librarian I'm pretty much giddy with excitement waiting for the things people will come tell me after they've read this book. From the (boring) I loved that it was an honest look at mental illness and survival (very true) to the (no seriously I can not wait) YOU LET MY CHILD READ THIS AND NOW THEY WANT A DEAD SQUIRREL PUPPET and THIS BOOK IS BLASPHEMY AND READING IT KILLS PUPPIES AND KITTENS.

    I pretty much giggled in excitement when I w

    Basically the best review I can give this book, is that as a librarian I'm pretty much giddy with excitement waiting for the things people will come tell me after they've read this book. From the (boring) I loved that it was an honest look at mental illness and survival (very true) to the (no seriously I can not wait) YOU LET MY CHILD READ THIS AND NOW THEY WANT A DEAD SQUIRREL PUPPET and THIS BOOK IS BLASPHEMY AND READING IT KILLS PUPPIES AND KITTENS.

    I pretty much giggled in excitement when I won the advance copy, and then waited not really patiently to get my copy and then it came and I was away and that basically destroyed me and there was a 3 day long emotional trauma period. Anyways. I finally got to my copy and it was everything I wanted it to be. Heart-breakingly (also, it tries to auto-correct breakingly to lawbreaking. Fitting) wonderful, actually laugh out loud funny (not just LOL'd) and hands down one of my favourite memoirs and books out there.

    Go. Buy it. As soon as you can. I might buy it again so I can see the pictures. But then, I kind of loved that they were blurry. But I'm weird.

  • Chris

    I don’t know if it’s specifically American problem, but let me tell you, this is one of the worst memoirs I’ve read. (Seriously America, do you honestly find this

    O.o) And I’ll tell you why, I’m not just saying this because of some misplaced sense of spite, ok?

    When I first heard about this book, I was very excited – it sounded like a real good reading material

    it had an awesome cover to boost with too.

    From the very beginning though, I realized it would be far from t

    I don’t know if it’s specifically American problem, but let me tell you, this is one of the worst memoirs I’ve read. (Seriously America, do you honestly find this

    O.o) And I’ll tell you why, I’m not just saying this because of some misplaced sense of spite, ok?

    When I first heard about this book, I was very excited – it sounded like a real good reading material

    it had an awesome cover to boost with too.

    From the very beginning though, I realized it would be far from the book I expected. I have no idea who this individual(Jenny Lawson) is, but the whole book was one big mess, full of stories that were meant to be funny and unique (but were neither). Every single story felt forced and exaggerated. The author couldn’t stop herself from constantly reminding and insisting her childhood was unique and that she’s gone through SO MUCH and so on and so on…

    Well, be sure it’s not. Maybe for someone living in modern America it’s rarity to have to collect water in a cistern or to have wild animals for pets, etc, etc. But for the rest of the world it’s daily occurrences. The only thing that this book makes me want is to slap the oh, so great nation of “liberty” and shout “

  • karen

    **edited...with content!**

    watch your fucking back, sloane crosley...this lady is

    -funny, not "boys tell me i am funny at parties because i am pretty" funny.

    i am so glad that

    and it encouraged me to pick up my ARC and get into it far earlier than i ordinarily would have. BUT NOT EARLIER THAN I WOULD HAVE HAD I ACTUALLY WON THIS THROUGH THE FIRSTREADS PROGRAM, WHICH IS HOW THIS SHOULD HAVE GONE DOWN, GOODREADS!STOP WITH THE SNUBBING ALREADY!

    i had never heard of jenny

    **edited...with content!**

    watch your fucking back, sloane crosley...this lady is

    -funny, not "boys tell me i am funny at parties because i am pretty" funny.

    i am so glad that

    and it encouraged me to pick up my ARC and get into it far earlier than i ordinarily would have. BUT NOT EARLIER THAN I WOULD HAVE HAD I ACTUALLY WON THIS THROUGH THE FIRSTREADS PROGRAM, WHICH IS HOW THIS SHOULD HAVE GONE DOWN, GOODREADS!STOP WITH THE SNUBBING ALREADY!

    i had never heard of jenny lawson before, but now i can't stop thinking about her. in a non-creepy way. i think. it's hard for me to gauge my own creepiness when "enthusiastic" can often come across as "creepy." i am pretty sure i am just enthusiastic.

    and it wasn't love at first sight. there were a couple of things in the introduction and first essay that made me wince and hope that some of the "look how hard i am trying!!" missteps would be toned down before publication. i have no way of knowing whether they were. well, i do, but i am lazy. but there were still some genuinely funny moments, and i was on board as she recounted episodes from her childhood with her well-meaning taxidermist father and the...gifts and ...surprises... he would supply for her and her sister. oh, dear. i mean, a lot of the stories sound wonderful and magical like having goats and porcupines and raccoons just hanging out inside the house, wandering around, but for every story featuring a raccoon in jams, there is a story about accidentally running face-first into the carcass of a deer being hosed down in the backyard. and vomiting. inside the carcass of the deer.

    there's no way to come back from that, really.

    i love the fights she has with her long-suffering husband, i love her love of tiny taxidermied animals in period clothing, i love her habit of uncontrollably telling inappropriate stories and lies when cornered at dinner parties, i hate all the deadly things that surround her texas home... except the foxes. greg will like that story.

    i love that i laughed so loud and hard at portions of this book that i had to be checked on because "i thought you were screaming."

    i was totally screaming.

    and i wet myself a little, too.

    it was

    good.

    i love that she curses as much as i do. and talks about her vagina frequently. in many ways, we are the saaaaaame. we should get a drink together. wait, is that creepy? whatever.

    not a perfect book, no, but a book i liked enough that i am going to buy the hardcover because this ARC has blurry pictures that you can barely read the funny captions on, and the hardcover has these amaaazing patterned endpapers with pictures of animals on them. i love it. and i am waiting for the second book.

    call me, jenny. let's taxidermify sloane crosley.

    that was definitely creepy. shit.

    okay, so i thought i should give you a sense of her lunacy even though you could just go to her blog and see it, and even though it is totally illegal for me to do so since i only have the ARC, but i am kind of banking on the hope that that is one of those mattress-tag laws and no one will actually come and arrest me, although i would love to see what book prison is like. this isn't one of the passages that made me scream-laugh, but i totally understand her concerns here, and i am frequently startled at the shit we think of.....i like this part mostly because of all the caps and italics and energy jumping off the page....i'll just throw you right into it:

    THIS IS JENNY LAWSON:

    also, i just want to say that i think when the doctor is stitching your vagina back up (for real, child-free people:

    ), i don't know why they don't throw in some cosmetic surgery while they're down there, to make it look cuter. like, when my gynecologist told me that she'd probably have to cut my vagina, i was all, "YOU ARE A FUCKING PSYCHOPATH," and she was like, "

    [unspoken: "

    ]. to get the baby out." and i said, "oh. well' if you're going to have to scar me, could you do it in some kind of kick-ass shape? like, how about a lightning bolt?" and she just stared at me, so i explained, "you know...like harry potter's?" then she just looked at me like i shit on the floor, and i thought maybe it was because the sentence structure kind of implied i was referring to harry potter's vagina, and so i clarified: "but not on my forehead like his was." and she still didn't respond, so i pointed down and said, "

    " then she shook her head like she'd know all along i wasn't referring to harry potter's vagina, and said, "uh, we don't really do that. in fact, we prefer for you to tear naturally, because it heals better," and i'm all, "MOTHER. FUCKER. are you fucking serious??" and i kind of suspected she was just making that up because she didn't want me to have a nicer vagina than hers, because she's never had a kid and so hers was probably all perfect and cheerful, and she probably didn't want me rubbing my vagina in her face when it was all lightning-bolt awesome.

    i would never rub my vagina in someone's face, even though it would be the most badass vagina in the world. and whenever i have menstrual cramps i could just pretend that voldemort was close.

  • Grace

    If you're looking for a Sedaris alternative, this unfortunately isn't it. Which kills me, because I get the feeling Lawson had the potential (and raw material) to knock it out of the park, but it just doesn't come together.

    Jenny Lawson is definitely funny. When she really gets going on a story, it's pretty fantastic - but that's only 10% of the book, and the remaining 90% is just awful. I can't help feeling like this book was all written in a single sitting, with little editing or review. It's u

    If you're looking for a Sedaris alternative, this unfortunately isn't it. Which kills me, because I get the feeling Lawson had the potential (and raw material) to knock it out of the park, but it just doesn't come together.

    Jenny Lawson is definitely funny. When she really gets going on a story, it's pretty fantastic - but that's only 10% of the book, and the remaining 90% is just awful. I can't help feeling like this book was all written in a single sitting, with little editing or review. It's uneven, it's all over the place, and some chapters feel like pure filler - I don't need pages of imaginary post-its written to her husband Victor, for instance. There are lots of places where I think we're just supposed to enjoy Lawson's rapid-fire babble, but it's not babble with meaning to it, it's just nonsense. And that's a shame, because it means the only reason I keep reading is because I'm waiting for another story like the turkeys to show up, and instead I get very tiny moments like the bobcat toss. It's like Lawson forced herself into writing a memoir when she really excels at writing moments. Drawback being, crafting an entire book of curated, arranged moments takes a hell of a lot of concentration and effort, while stream-of-consciousness nonsense is relatively easier.*

    I could do without the footnotes, which are just irritating - it is hard to explain how badly footnotes work on a Kindle, but between this book and Jasper Fforde I think I could make a compelling case. I could do without the editor's parentheticals (which weirdly are sometimes also footnotes). I could do without the long-winded flourishes that loop back in on themselves when talking about absolute rubbish.

    And that all sucks, because Lawson's childhood sounds enjoyably nuts. When she actually stitches a story together, one with multiple events and a timeline, it's HILARIOUS. But all too often, she's just throwing the punchline in there without much else.

    In the end, I guess this is where I end up with LPTNH: weird shit happens to everyone, but few people know how to structure the story in a way that legitimately entertains. Lawson knows how to structure a story, she's just not choosing to do it most of the time. Also, people are very capable of acting like crazy insane people quite frequently - if you sound too pleased with how wild and crazy you are and keep thumping on about it, it can get REALLY ANNOYING.

    * I do recognize that Lawson also writes about her general anxiety disorder, and she explains that she finds herself almost incoherent in social situations and is much better on email, when she can edit. But given that this is a book, it feels like a lot of the narrative flailing could have been avoided through editing. We definitely get a good grasp of what it's like to be inside Lawson's head, but she finds her condition exhausting and for a whole book, so did I.

  • Diane

    OK, so I have never met Jenny Lawson, and she didn't attack me with an

    machete, but I'm being metaphorical here, y'all.

    Because reading Jenny Lawson's book made me feel as if I were being beaten with some kind of weapon, and it may as well have been a machete. Which is a word she uses in her book. She also likes the words chupacabra and vagina. And numerous swear words. She also likes postscripts. Lots of them.

    But back to the machete. I opened my re

    OK, so I have never met Jenny Lawson, and she didn't attack me with an

    machete, but I'm being metaphorical here, y'all.

    Because reading Jenny Lawson's book made me feel as if I were being beaten with some kind of weapon, and it may as well have been a machete. Which is a word she uses in her book. She also likes the words chupacabra and vagina. And numerous swear words. She also likes postscripts. Lots of them.

    But back to the machete. I opened my review this way to demonstrate how Jenny has written her memoir. She will say something totally exaggerated and in a hysterical voice, and then she tells a 30-minute story, after which you realize the thing that actually happened has nothing to do with what she

    happened.

    For example, when Jenny says: "I was attacked by a bear last night!" What she really means is: "I saw a stray cat by the pool."

    When Jenny says: "I was mauled by a pack of wild dogs!" What she means is: "The neighbor's pet was excited to see me."

    When Jenny says: "I was stabbed in the face by a serial killer!" She means: "The cat sat on my head while I was asleep."

    Halfway through the book, I realized Jenny Lawson is a fabulist and a narcissist.

    Put another way, Jenny Lawson is a very successful blogger. I think the terms have become interchangeable.

    Here is a quote from one of Jenny's chapters, in which she shares ridiculous and inappropriate emails to a coworker that she never actually sent:

    Yes, Jenny, I understand that. I was exhausted just reading your book.

    At this point I need to clarify, as Jenny often does after she has made an absurd statement, that there are some funny stories here. Jenny had a wackadoo childhood in rural Texas, and her dad liked to drag dead animals home and scare her in the middle of the night. But after about 50 pages I recognized the template of her storytelling, and the repetitiveness of it wore me down. I considered abandoning the book, but so many friends had liked it that I wanted to push through.

    A few stories are quieter than the rest, such as when her beloved dog died, or when she relates her struggles with anxiety and depression, but there is always an undercurrent of mania. Most of the book is exaggerated fluff, which is fine for a blog, but I don't need it in book form.

  • Patrick

    First, I should mention that I listened to this one on audiobook. Didn't read the text version.

    Second, the audio version is read by the author. I think Jenny did a nice job with it, too. If you're used to nothing but professional audiobook narrators, there might be a few verbal ticks in here that might bug you. But me? For an autobiographical work like this? I'd much rather hear it in the author's own voice.

    Third, she got some actual laughs out of me. Not just amusement or smiles. Not just chu

    First, I should mention that I listened to this one on audiobook. Didn't read the text version.

    Second, the audio version is read by the author. I think Jenny did a nice job with it, too. If you're used to nothing but professional audiobook narrators, there might be a few verbal ticks in here that might bug you. But me? For an autobiographical work like this? I'd much rather hear it in the author's own voice.

    Third, she got some actual laughs out of me. Not just amusement or smiles. Not just chuckles. Real laughs. I was driving around in my car, alone, laughing like a madman.

    Fourth, several times I sat in the car after I'd finished whatever trip I was taking just to continue listening to the audiobook.

    Fifth, driving around, listening to this audiobook, I missed the proper turnoff several times. I didn't mind much, because turning around and driving back the right way gave me more time to listen to the book.

    Sixth, she made me cry reading this. Three times. Now admittedly, I seem to be rather soppy lately. But even given my recent emotional fragility, that's a mark of good writing some good writing.

    Seventh, the stories Jenny Lawson tells are, in turns: crushingly honest, funny, witty, sweet, heartbreaking, and delightfully bizarre.

    Lastly, I'd like to say that while I've read some of Jenny's blog, and I know of her considerably fame as The Bloggess, I didn't pick this book up because I was a fan. I bought this audiobook audio because I like her, and I've heard people say good things about it.

    After listening to it? Yeah. Now I'm a fan.


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