Last year, one of my New Year’s resolutions was to read one new book each month for a year. My hectic schedule in 2012 made it easy for me to fall off that wagon fairly quickly (we’re talking March), but I liked the idea so much that I thought I’d (unofficially) try to do it again this year. Well, March 2013 has come and gone, and I’ve managed to stick to the plan – 3 months, 3 books. We’ve reached April, the true testing point. Only time will tell if I manage to bypass last year’s downfall and get a fourth book read in the next 30 days. But, until that time comes, I just had to share March’s book with y’all because – and I’m not kidding when I say this – it is hilarious. Seriously, it’s “read-this-at-home-because-you’ll-laugh-too-hard-for-it-to-be-socially-acceptable-in-public hilarious” (I promise, that’s a thing).
The book is called Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) by Jenny Lawson, or The Blogess as many people know her. As the title suggests, the story is a mostly true memoir of Jenny’s life, from childhood to adulthood. I assume she says that the stories are “mostly true” because they seem so out there that they can’t possibility be real, but I think it’s that very outrageousness surrounding each story that makes me believe that they must be true (though I imagine some parts have been slightly exaggerated). Some of her narratives (especially the ones about growing up in West Texas) are so outlandish that even the most creative author would have a difficult time making it seem real if it wasn’t.
Though Jenny has gained some notoriety for herself through her blogging she is, for the most part, an average person who speaks about average stuff – her consuming anxiety that makes her hide in bathrooms at parties, her childhood as a poor kid in West Texas and her occasional flaws as both a parent and a wife. She writes about the things that many women suffer through in their own lives but are too self-conscious to speak about, and she does it in such a comedic way that her hardships and socially awkward moments don’t even seem like real problems. As I’ve said, though Jenny’s narratives are outlandish, the entire time I was reading the book I found myself relating to some aspect of her stories and dropping myself into the role of the main character (which I’ve very rarely been able to do in other memoirs).
What’s also great is though the book has a plot and follows the general timeline of Jenny’s life, that’s not at all what makes this book what it is. The true pièce de résistance in Let’s Pretend This Never Happened is following the meandering path that Jenny creates with her thoughts, oftentimes going on wild tangents and including lengthy footnotes only to come full circle to a great (though mildly head-spinning) story. Jenny actually writes in the way that many of us tell stories, which I love because I truly feel that it’s those last-minute additions and momentary tangents that truly make a story what it is. And though that might turn certain readers off to this book, it made me find Jenny (and her troubled life) all the more endearing. She did a great job using those story deviations, sarcastic quips and humor to bring a casualness and playfulness to certain life experiences that, as the book’s title suggests, Jenny might otherwise prefer to forget.
Overall, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened was a great read for March, and I’m thrilled that I happened upon it. If you’re looking for something light and humorous, this is a definite must-read. And if you don’t believe me, perhaps you’ll believe the other thousands of people who loved the book – it topped the New York Times’ Best Seller’s List after only a week in print.
But enough about my thoughts, what about you, readers? Have any of you read Jenny Lawson’s book? What did you think?