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

by Jenny Lawson

Paperback, 2013




Berkley (2013), Edition: Illustrated, 384 pages


Biography & Autobiography. Essays. Nonfiction. Humor (Nonfiction.) HTML:The #1 New York Times bestselling (mostly true) memoir from the hilarious author of Furiously Happy. �??Gaspingly funny and wonderfully inappropriate.�?��??O, The Oprah Magazine When Jenny Lawson was little, all she ever wanted was to fit in. That dream was cut short by her fantastically unbalanced father and a morbidly eccentric childhood. It did, however, open up an opportunity for Lawson to find the humor in the strange shame-spiral that is her life, and we are all the better for it. In the irreverent Let�??s Pretend This Never Happened, Lawson�??s long-suffering husband and sweet daughter help her uncover the surprising discovery that the most terribly human moments�??the ones we want to pretend never happened�??are the very same moments that make us the people we are today. For every intellectual misfit who thought they were the only ones to think the things that Lawson dares to say out loud, this is a poignant and hysterical look at the dark, disturbing, yet wonderful moments of our lives. Read… (more)


(1343 ratings; 4)

User reviews

LibraryThing member detailmuse
I came to this memoir unaware of the author’s blog (“The Bloggess”), but fresh from another funny memoir by a writer also living on the far side of quirky (David Finch’s The Journal of Best Practices, about the effects of his Asperger’s on his marriage, which I recommend). But while Finch
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wants the reader to understand his world, Lawson seems just to want the reader to see her. From page one, she stands smack in front of the narrative lens, wearing italics, all-caps, text formatting and profanity* through a series of essays about childhood and her taxidermist father; her romance, marriage and motherhood; and blogging.

The result is high-energy and high-drama, with some very funny micro-moments where a laugh popped out of me from nowhere. Of three dozen chapters, I most enjoyed a hilarious one about her experiences working in a corporate human-resources department, and a moving one about her miscarriages. But overall, it’s way too noisy and egocentric; it's most telling to note that I haven’t been interested even to check out her blog.

*used lazily, vs. used effectively in books like Sh*t My Dad Says or Go the F**k to Sleep (both also recommended)
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LibraryThing member abbeyhar
There were many part of this I found to be HILARIOUS, but there were an equal number of parts that just felt too, "Aren't I SO weird?" Isn't my life just crazy????" that devalued the actual uniqueness of a story
LibraryThing member bookworm12
I’m not really a “laugh out loud” kind of girl. This is why I don’t go to comedy clubs. The only time I went to one it was disastrous. The comedian was pissed because I wasn’t laughing at any of his jokes so he yelled at me! Anyway, the point is, it takes a LOT to make me actually laugh
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out loud and this book just killed me. I started laughing so loud while I was reading it in bed that my husband finally made me read the section I was in
aloud to him.

Jenny Lawson, better known online as The Bloggess, has been crossing lines and embarrassing her husband online for years. I first discovered her through the infamous metal rooster post and she’s been cracking me up ever since. Her memoir maintains her hilarious rambling style and it works well with the crazy (but true) stories she tells.

Lawson covers a lot of ground in her first memoir. We start with her childhood in a small town in Texas and her taxidermist father who can’t help but bring home some interesting “pets.” We follow her all the way through uncomfortable moments in high school, adventures in her HR job, a nervous weekend with other bloggers, meeting her boyfriend’s wealthy parents and some odd run-ins with Texas wildlife.

Her relationship with her long-suffering husband Victor is one of the funniest aspects of the book. The two are incredibly different, but they understand each other and that makes their relationship work.

I couldn’t stop laughing out loud at some of the mental pictures she paints, like her finance’s mother visiting her parents for the first time and driving up to see Lawson’s father boiling animal skulls in their yard.

But the book isn’t all laughs. There are some incredibly serious issues discussed as well. Lawson has struggled with anorexia, anxiety disorders, depression and more. She talks about each of those things with a bracing honesty and humor, but the edge of her literary voice is tinged with the pain of those struggles.

I think Jenny’s writing is both riotously funny and jarringly honest. Her irreverent style and adult language may not appeal to everyone, but I think fans of David Sedaris would love her.
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LibraryThing member lisaflip
Unlike most of the other reviews I read about this book, I did not find it very funny. There were parts of the book that were amusing but overall I did not enjoy it. I hear that Jenny Lawson's blog, the Bloggess, is great but I felt like she was trying too hard with this book.
LibraryThing member FireandIce
Add me to the list of those who discovered Jenny Lawson (aka: The Bloggess) when her Big Metal Chicken post went viral. When I saw that the Kindle version of this book was on sale for $1.99, I jumped at the chance to read it. Let's just say that I got what I paid for.

Overall, it wasn't a bad read,
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but I often felt like I was listening to my 'crazy friend'. You know the one...they're fun to be around and listen to in small doses, but after a while their idiosyncrasies and over the top stories start to grate on you. I'd recommend reading this book in doses.
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LibraryThing member keristars
Well, I think this settles it. I'm not the right reader for most memoirs. It's cliché, I know, but I rather wish reading Let's Pretend This Never Happened had never happened. It's not that it's a bad book or poorly written or anything like that, but I felt like it was an obligation and didn't
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particularly enjoy the experience. It was just...a book to read, and I felt guilty that I wasn't reading one of the many other books I have on my TBR pile, and I couldn't really see a point to reading it. Yet, somehow, I did read it all the way from beginning to end - I could have stopped at any point, but felt no real reason to actually do so. Once I began, I was curious enough to keep going.

So now I'm spending this review trying to articulate why, exactly, I wish I hadn't picked the book up, yet never really considered not continuing on while I read it. But it was funny and weird and Jenny Lawson has a very engaging narrative style, so I guess there's that.

I think I wanted more of a cohesive narrative to the book, more of an arc of personal growth or something that Jenny had experienced. While we kind of get that, it's a little too scattered for me, mingled with several different stories. There's the story about growing up poor in West Texas with a very unusual family. There's the story about her health, particularly the way anxiety disorder (and the related depression) has affected her and how she copes with it. There's the story about growing up and getting married and becoming a parent, and how that looks to someone with her background. So they're all interrelated, but nothing gets the focus. And this is why I'm not happy with memoirs - I prefer to have a strong narrative link, you know? But memoirs are real people and not carefully crafted stories, at least not to the extent of novels, even slice of life novels without a "true" plot.

But other than the plot/narrative thing, what bothered me about the book is that it is so very aware of itself as being a book. Lawson interrupts the story she's telling fairly often to bring attention to the fact that she's writing a book, and that she has an editor - there are occasional (imagined?) dialogues with the unseen editor, or comments/corrections from him/her. While I often enjoy self-aware books that do this sort of thing, it didn't work for me here. I think perhaps it showed a little too much of the hand of the author. While I can appreciate the way these elements work with Lawson's often self-deprecating humor and enjoyment of the absurd, it was a little too much for me.

My other big complaint is that Lawson uses the word "vagina" many times as though it's an external organ. I know, I know, this is kind of petty and dumb, especially since the word seems to be evolving to refer to the external as well as internal, but it's a pet peeve of mine. I didn't have any problem with the references to sex acts, or sex organs, or taxidermy, or hunting, or drug use, really I thought it was all fairly tame despite the warning she gives at the beginning of the book that there may be something to offend. I don't even think I'm particularly offended by the "vagina" thing, just irritated because every time she'll use it flippantly, I would mentally envision the scene, then have to start over again when I realized she didn't literally mean that when her skirt flipped up in the wind (for example), all the neighbors would be getting the gynecologist's view.

Anyway. That said, there are some things I liked: I very much liked the discussions she has about anxiety and depression, and I identified with her in many ways. It's always good to read stories from people who also suffer these diseases and yet are still fairly successful people. I also liked the way she recounts the adventures she gets into, however awful or embarrassing or sad or funny. Lawson really does know how to spin a tale. And, finally, I loved that she included photos of some of the topics of discussion, because as funny or horrible as the stories could be, the photos were like the cherry on top.

After this, I'm probably going to stick to blogs and avoid memoirs. I just haven't found that I'm a good reader for the genre.
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LibraryThing member arielfl
The book started out very strong for me. Having grown up in the 70's and being about the same age as Lawson there was a lot I found funny or could outright identify with. The story of Jenkins, the homicidal turkey was so funny that I had to read it out loud to my daughter. I could relate to Jenny's
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party phobia, her ability to get lost anywhere, and her definition of a "clean house".

As the book neared the end though the schtick got kind of old. For example, Jenny comes up with some outrageous formal name for some (dead or alive) creatures. Jenny says something completely outrageous to her long suffering husband Victor who responds by groaning, shaking his head, or hiding. Jenny responds to that by cursing him out. In her head hopefully, not out loud. Jenny lost me when she started ordering taxidermy animals for her own collection.

While I enjoyed the first two thirds of the novel, the last third left me wanting to hurry up and finish it because the jokes were getting stale. Maybe her humor is best enjoyed in short doses on her blog.
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LibraryThing member anutany
The book is a somewhat disjointed compilation of the author’s blog entries or at least it seems that way. Few childhood stories are a definite highlight to this memoir, everything else is downhill from there. I found side notes to side notes to side notes to be distracting and absolutely
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unnecessary on top of being frustrating to read through. Basically, I feel that the book is the same neurotic story after another with author often times painting herself as being totally unreasonable or a bit psychotic which someone might find funny or endearing but for me it was just annoying.
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LibraryThing member LauraBrook
I really liked this book. I've been reading her blog (thebloggess.com) for years, and while she's warped and crazy and curses like a sailor, she's also honest and funny and heartwarming and sincere - she's totally her own person. Reading the book helped me to understand her life (her stories of
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growing up always seemed so heightened on her blog that I didn't quite believe them - now I do, 100%), and the inclusion of pictures was a great extra. I'm passing this book on to all of my Bloggess-loving friends. Fo' sho'.4 stars.

p.s. If you can find the audio book, Jenny reads it herself, footnotes and all. Plus, there's a bonus chapter that was cut from the book, and about 15 minutes of her out-takes, talking to the people in the booth and being her random self. It's great.

p.p.s. I'd forgotten all about Jams until she brought them up - thanks for that, Jenny.
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LibraryThing member amandamay83
I wanted to like this book. I'm a big fan of Beyonce the Chicken and "Knock-Knock, Mother Fucker." That said, I probably should have known better. Her blog is largely hit or miss for me: I either find a given entry hysterical or completely bleh. This book is much the same way. I found much more of
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the "bleh" sort of writing than the hysterical, Beyonce stuff. I've gotten halfway through the book, but have absolutely no intention of finishing it.

If you love the blog, all the time, then you'll probably love this book. If, however, you're like me, and read the blog only on occasion, then this is definitely a book to skip.
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LibraryThing member devilwrites
The premise: ganked from BN.com: When Jenny Lawson was little, all she ever wanted was to fit in. That dream was cut short by her fantastically unbalanced father and a morbidly eccentric childhood. It did, however, open up an opportunity for Lawson to find the humor in the strange shame-spiral that
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is her life, and we are all the better for it.

In the irreverent Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, Lawson’s long-suffering husband and sweet daughter help her uncover the surprising discovery that the most terribly human moments—the ones we want to pretend never happened—are the very same moments that make us the people we are today. For every intellectual misfit who thought they were the only ones to think the things that Lawson dares to say out loud, this is a poignant and hysterical look at the dark, disturbing, yet wonderful moments of our lives.

My Rating: My Precious

I made a conscious decision to STOP being so stingy with my #1 rating. I couldn't put this down. I laughed. I nearly cried. I kept recommending that my friends read this book before I was even done with it. I want to get a physical copy so that when I re-read the book, I can see the pictures and the captions better (and while I'd like the hardcover, word has it the upcoming trade paperback release will have an extra chapter. EXTRA CHAPTER!). And yes, I want to re-read this. Because the theme of this book, amongst all the craziness, the astounding stories and the heartbreaking ones, lies an important message that I wish I'd learned early and I'm still not sure I've taken to heart: life isn't defined by your perfect moments, but rather your imperfect ones, and how you react to those moments defines everything. Lawson writes about her unique upbringing in such a way that no matter how insane, it's relatable, and her humor had me constantly tickled. It's my kind of humor (see the wheelchair comment behind the cut). When she publishes her next book, I'll be there with bells on. Hell, I should be reading her blog religiously by this point, but I'm afraid of spoiling the next book!

I know this book isn't for everyone. Hell, I can barely coherently write about it myself (another hallmark of a 10 rating). But I do think there's something in here for everyone to enjoy, even if it's not every page. So read it however you're able, and come back and share your thoughts.

Spoilers, yay or nay?: Nay. It's a memoir, what am I going to spoil? Read on, unless you're in a super-hurry and don't want to read about how my reading this book disturbed my husband. :) The full review may be found at my blog, and you can get to full review by clicking on the link below. As always, comments and discussion are most welcome.


Happy Reading!
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LibraryThing member Narshkite
My original impression of this book was that Lawson believes herself to be far more entertaining than she appears to others. That impression did not change. There were some smiles, some charming moments, and some great material. The problem is that she just tries to hard to appear like a wacky
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iconoclast, and it comes off as defensiveness, and that saps the life out of everything. Also, she needs to stop saying penis and vagina all the time for comedic effect. It is not shocking, it is like listening to the comedy stylings of a 5 year old.
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LibraryThing member atheist_goat
This started very strong: her tales of her absurd childhood in rural Texas with a taxidermist father read almost like a slapstick version of The Liar's Club, and I laughed hysterically for the first three or four chapters. Unfortunately, then the chapters become what I assume are just blog posts
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put onto the page, and they consist of things like four pages of mock Post-It notes left for her husband about the revenge she's going to take for him leaving the towels on the floor, and this is not even one-tenth as funny as Lawson thinks it is. Her struggles with fertility and mental illness are not handled in particularly interesting or insightful fashion, and the chapter about her dog dying couldn't decide whether it wanted to be tragedy or farce (it could have been both, but she didn't commit to that either). I found everything after the first four chapters kind of a chore.
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LibraryThing member mirrani
I loved this book so much that I ended up reading parts of it to everyone who would listen to it, just so that we could laugh together until we cried. It is just so very well done that there simply aren't any words to explain just how entertaining this read is. I can guarantee that you will laugh
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at things that you will feel guilty about, but at the same time you just can't help yourself. Reading this book is like having a conversation with your funniest friend, one hundred times over. It lifted me up every day that I read it, from my happiest day, to my lowest, saddest day. Just reviewing it makes me want to read it again.
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LibraryThing member lovestampmom
The poise is a 3, but her style is definitely higher. She's one of the funniest persons I've read and Imlaughed out loud so many times in the beginning 1/2 of the book. However, her style gets old after a while and the later chapters feel overly manufactured.
LibraryThing member karieh
I consider it a pretty good indicator that a book is going to be funny if you have tears of laughter rolling down your face by the time you hit page 3. I’ve never read Jenny Lawson’s blog but if it is anything like this book – I can only hope people aren’t reading it at work because I
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can’t imagine trying to be discreet while laughing so hard that wetting one’s pants is a serious possibility.

There is a GREAT deal I cannot quote from the book (alas) but here are some of my favorite parts. Lawson takes her (then) boyfriend Victor home to meet her parents – “My mom and I were on the couch, and from our vantage point, we could see my father tiptoeing into the room. He gestured with a finger to his lips not to let Victor know that he was behind him and a live bobcat was tucked under his right arm. This probably would have been my exact worst nightmare of bringing a boy home to meet my parents, if I’d ever had enough creativity to imagine my father throwing a live bobcat on the boy I was trying to impress.”

Or when she details her stint working in an HR department and the INTERESTING job applicants she encounters there. “Today an applicant who couldn’t pass the typing test blamed it on me for giving her “a trick keyboard because the keys weren’t in alphabetical order.” I tried to explain that all keyboards are laid out the same way and she called me a liar. I apologized and told her that if she wanted to bring in an alphabetized keyboard, I’d be happy to hook it up for her so she could retest and she yelled, “I’M NOT GOING TO PAY TO REPLACE YOUR SHODDY EQUIPMENT.”

Lawson says very clearly right there in the title that this is a “mostly true memoir”. Mostly true, sort of true – whatever – it’s hysterical and I loved reading it. (Though not in public or in bed – people looked at me funny and/or it made my husband crabby that I was shaking the bed.)

There is a very detailed section where she regales the reader with details on her “do it yourself colon cleanse - “…I said a little prayer thanking God for saving me from getting assaulted, and also for not making me have to explain to the ambulance drivers that I’d accidentally mistaken my cat for a rapist after purposely overdosing on laxatives in order to make my antidepressants work better.” By this section in the book, that doesn’t seem as weird as it sounds here – but it’s still AWESOMELY funny.

Surprisingly, there were a few sections that were serious and that really touched my heart. When she details her long and heartbreaking road towards motherhood, I had tears in my eyes for a completely different reason. “Then one more push, and then there was silence. And then the beautiful sound of crying. It was me crying. And then it was Hailey crying. My sweet, beautiful daughter. And it was amazing. It wasn’t until that very moment that I actually let myself believe that I really might be able to be someone’s mother.”

It’s obvious that she loves her husband, Victor, a great deal, and some of their conversations just slayed me. Because they were funny, true, but because when you’ve been with the same person for a long time? These are the kind of conversations that you end up having. As they discuss why Victor doesn’t want to be an organ donor upon his death, the conversation gets to the point of, (LAWSON) “So you’re making a decision to not save someone’s life on the off-chance that it might be inconvenient if you turn into a less efficient zombie?”

“VICTOR: It sounds stupid when you say it.”

I loved the experience of reading this book and would recommend it highly…but not to people easily offended. Because, as the author says, “…somewhere in here you’ll read one random thing that you’re sensitive about, and everyone else will think it’s hysterical, but you’ll think, “Oh, that is way over the line.” I apologize for that one thing. Honestly, I don’t know what I was thinking.”

But I am offended by LOTS of things…and this book is not one of them. Enjoy!
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LibraryThing member RidgewayGirl
I sometimes wonder what it would have been like to have a childhood that was not like mine. I have no real frame of reference, but when I question strangers I've found that their childhood generally had much less blood in it, and also that strangers seem uncomfortable when you question them about
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their childhood. But really, what else are you going to talk about in line at the liquor store? Childhood trauma seems like the natural choice, since it's the reason why most of us are in line there to begin with.

Jenny Lawson, who writes a popular blog as The Blogess, has written a "mostly true" memoir called. After that sentence, you'll pretty much know if you want to read her book. It's written in the familiar, humorous tone often used by bloggers and the book sometimes feels like a particularly excellent and lengthy post. Lawson is a deeply weird individual (and I mean that in the best possible way), with a skewed sense of humor, the mouth of a syphilitic pirate, an unusual upbringing and a willingness to bare herself for our edification and entertainment. Let's Pretend This Never Happened walks that fine line between melodrama and humor, writing chapters that mix the very serious with the tremendously funny. This is a very funny book, of the kind not to be read on public transportation or in a Starbucks.
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LibraryThing member beserene
This memoir is the product of The Bloggess. If you have never read her blog, you really should. If you have read her blog, you will find this book to be exactly like it, only book-shaped. The same random, stream-of-consciousness hilarity, the same chaotic leaps from topic to topic, the same cheeky
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asides (which alternate between funny and confoundlingly oddball)... it's all here. I read most of these pages in the bathroom, so that I didn't have to worry about laughing so hard I might pee myself. It totally happened.

If you are uncomfortable with that little share, this probably isn't for you. Anyone who has read the blog knows that Jenny Lawson isn't squeamish about blood or bodily fluids and never pulls punches when there is a poop joke to be made. At the same time, she has a great grasp of her own inner self and what makes the rest of us human, so as much of her humor comes from wry observation and reflection as slapstick. What might surprise you is that there are tender moments here too -- I was in tears toward the end of the chapter about her dear little pug, and I suspect you will be too.

Here is an occasion where you can try before you buy. Look up The Bloggess, read a bit (particularly the one about the giant metal chicken, which is in the book, but even funnier in color), and if you start laughing so hard that your thoughts turn to bladder strength, buy this book. You won't regret it.
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LibraryThing member chrisblocker
Imagine if you will a guy who works at a library. He enjoys reading. He loves the scent and feel of books. He mostly reads literature, but he's not a snob. Okay, he's a snob, but he'll try something slightly out of his comfort zone. One day, one of his coworkers says to him, “Would you be
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interested in leading one of our book groups? I'm thinking of passing it on.” “Sure,” he says. Here's a chance to get paid just talking about a book every other month. He's all ready. He's going to be a great leader. The books are all planned out through January of the following year. His first meeting will be in August. He looks at the schedule to see what inspirational and brilliant work of literature they're going to read in August. Oh boy, he thinks. How am I ever going to explain this to my friends on social media?

The preceding story is true. I'm sure, because it happened to me. Let's Pretend This Never Happened purports to be a true story, but I really doubt most of it. The other difference between Lawson and Blocker: Jenny Lawson is apparently hysterical. I am not. Except, I don't think Lawson is funny. Not. One. Bit. Like, you may not believe me, but I didn't laugh once. Not once. I didn't even smile. As I neared the end of the book, I actually forced a smile, thinking that maybe the physical action would help me find the humor. It didn't work. There were a few times when I thought, oh, that was wee bit witty. But only a wee bit. And not even then, I was just trying really hard to find the positive.

I'm truly, honestly really glad that people love this book. Because they do love it. I'm glad people can laugh until they can no longer breathe (assuming it's temporary). I want people to be happy and apparently Let's Pretend This Never Happened makes them really happy. I don't get it. It's not that I'm completely incapable of humor. It's difficult to get a laugh out of me, but I do find some things funny, things that no one else finds funny. I'm entitled to my own brand of humor, but I do wonder if part of my distaste is that Lawson, her mania, her mood swings, and her ridiculous stories remind me of a girl I once dated. I lived the “mostly true,” but not true stories for several years and let me tell you, it's exhausting and, over time, it's no longer the least bit funny. I'm glad that Lawson found a way to turn her mania into something she can be successful with and that so many people can enjoy. I'm glad she didn't choose a more destructive path. But reading this makes me manic. And that's not a good thing for any of us.

So I hated Let's Pretend This Never Happened. There's one reason to read this book, and that's because of the humor. If you don't find it funny, there really isn't a point to it, is there? I didn't find it the least bit funny. I went to book club knowing that someone else would agree. Since it was my first time leading the group, I didn't want to sway anyone. I'd wait for someone to mention how the book really wasn't funny, then I'd pounce. Surely, someone would say it. No one did. They all thought it was hysterical—a nice change of pace. So I smiled, nodded my head, and mostly remained quiet. I asked a few questions that I hoped would elicit some underlying disdain, but no, they genuinely loved it.

So again, I'm glad everyone else in the world is wildly entertained with this “memoir.” It just wasn't for me. And if ever I'm asked to read a book like this again, I'll know I can just fake it by saying, “oh yeah, that was hilarious.”

Let's just pretend that this never happened.
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LibraryThing member knitwit2
The author had some very funny childhood stories and interesting dialogs with her husband. I think she relied too heavily on profanity for a laugh. The comedic effect of words like vagina and "fuck" loose thier ability to elicit a laugh very quickly.
LibraryThing member Tmyers526
I got this through the Early Reviewer program, and I am so glad I did!

I must hang out in the "uncool" sections of the internet, because I was not familiar with The Bloggess before reading this book. I'm bummed that I have been missing out on her writing this whole time.

Jenny Lawson makes things
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funny which really should not be funny. I found myself giggling so hard at times that I was in tears, and taxidermy does not usually do that to me. I loved this book and have already recommended it to friends.

(Also, have you seen the promo video with Wil Wheaton? Awesome!)
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LibraryThing member RARichard
Jenny reminds me of my best friend from college. I loved this book. She makes you realize that memories you thought you wanted to forget are what make you who you are.

I had never heard of Jenny before opening this book. I took a chance on the mouse on the cover and was rewarded. This book won't be
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for everyone and that's okay. There is a comforting truth and honesty (and lots of swearing) in this book and for those that it is for - you will love it. You will laugh out loud. You will make a connection with Jenny in your own way. She is witty and very smart in her writing and her life. I can't wait to read more.

My true fact: I swear there was a scene in the Goonies with an Octopus, but no one ever believes me.
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LibraryThing member freddlerabbit
I will probably have an update to this once I've finished the book (I'm currently still in-progress), but I had to stop reading it initially after three pages because I was laughing out loud uncontrollably so hard after those first three pages that the people around me on the subway were edging
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away towards the doors. Not that I don't like additional space on the subway, but I was worried about what would happen when I got off. So I closed the thing, and then read a lot of the rest of it so hard when I got home that I forgot to eat dinner. Written with the Bloggess' trademark irreverence and silliness and zaniness and also moments of complete, disarming honesty - whether you know the blog or not (and you should), anyone with a sense of humor or a willingess to develop one should enjoy the hell out of this book.
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LibraryThing member writestuff
Jenny Lawson is anxiety-ridden, inappropriate, flawed…and outrageously funny. In her new memoir (released this month through Amy Einhorn Books), Lawson takes a no holds barred approach to memoir writing. She invites readers back to her childhood in a small town in Texas where her father (a
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taxidermist) routinely brought home wild animals like bobcats, and cooked animal skulls in a cauldron in the backyard. Together with her sister, Lisa, Lawson grew up bathing in water from a cistern and wearing winter shoes made out of used bread sacks. These early years made an indelible mark on Lawson whose humor often borders on the dark and bizarre.

[...] my dad was always bringing home crazy-ass shit. Rabbit skulls, rocks shaped like vegetables, angry possums, glass eyes, strange drifters he picked up on the road, a live porcupine in a rubber tire. My mother (a patient and stoic lunch lady) seemed secretly convinced that she must’ve committed some terrible act in a former life to deserve this lot in life, and so she forced a smile and set another place for the drifter/junkie at the dinner table with the quiet dignity usually reserved for saints or catatonics. – from the ARC of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened -

Lawson includes hysterical entries from her journal when she worked in Human Resources, shares the story of how she met and married her husband, Victor, and shows readers the pain and devastation of several miscarriages before she was able to have her daughter, Hailey. Readers are also treated to the now infamous interactions Lawson has with her husband (I believe Victor must be a saint!) which have been blogged about on Lawson’s fabulous (and popular) blog, The Bloggess.

Lawson’s prose is often like a stream of consciousness – sometimes tangential, and frequently flitting between subjects within the same paragraph. Under the humor is a glimpse of the shy, insecure woman who worries about being a good mom, grows homesick for small time life, and grieves the loss of her dog (while fending off a flock of vultures with a machete). The title of the book – Let’s Pretend This Never Happened – refers to those awkward human moments and the times when anxiety lurches from the pit of one’s stomach, all of which Lawson fearlessly reveals to her readers. Through the laughter, she shows us her vulnerability… like when she travels to California to meet a group of female bloggers. Prior to the trip she is filled with fear about fitting in, being dressed appropriately and making conversation. Once at the retreat, and despite her propensity to blurt out non sequiturs and bizarre tales of vampire cougars, Lawson discovers friendship and learns that some girls can, indeed, be trusted.

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened is the kind of book which will appeal to readers who share Lawson’s irreverent, remarkably inappropriate and sometimes profane sense of humor. I laughed my way through the book, often forcing my husband to listen while I read aloud certain sections. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened is a gut-busting vicarious ramble for anyone who has ever wanted to blurt out whatever comes into their mind, or who has ever found themselves thinking outrageous thoughts in the middle of serious social events. Jenny Lawson lacks filters, and that is what makes her so very, very funny.

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LibraryThing member mazeway
Haiku Review:
Jenny makes me feel
Only a little funny
But totally sane.

Really, this is a 3.5. I've thrown in an extra 1/2 star for all the times Jenny has made me laugh so hard my sides hurt. And for the Magical Squirrel chapter alone. And the bread bag boots, which I had to wear on more than one
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occasion. This book was alternately really funny and really sad, but mostly funny. I love Jenny's "the Bloggess" blog and her sex column for Eden Toys, but in long form her writing style seems a bit loose at times. The meandering asides that I love on the blog seem a little sloppy in the book. The final, "what have we learned" chapter feels totally different from the rest of the book and reminded me of the forced conclusions I've tacked onto papers at 4 am with a 12 pack of diet coke and a crate of Skittles in my gut. But I don't want to suggest it isn't a really fun read, b/c it IS. So fun. But reader be warned that you will get a peek inside the sausage factory and those little "I think she might actually be bonkers" thoughts you've had will be confirmed. But you'll still REALLY want to hang out with her. It's a very humanizing book, not that I previously thought she was a space monster or a computer program.
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Audie Award (Finalist — Humor — 2013)


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

8.25 inches


0425261018 / 9780425261019
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