Rating: 4 out of 5
I know that I’m totally late for the bandwagon, but better late than never, right?
Two years ago I listened to memoirs narrated by three female comedians: Bossypants by Tina Fey, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling, and Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea by Chelsea Handler.
Aghast at the realization that 2013 was void of road-trip hysterics, I purchased Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, narrated by Jenny Lawson herself, a.k.a The Bloggess. Lawson is famous for her wacky ramblings, and her “mostly true memoir” highlights her most hilarious stories.
I admit that I knew nothing about Lawson when I started this book–only that its cover of a mouse dressed up as Hamlet had intrigued me since its publication. I learned that she was raised in rural Wall, Texas. Her father was a taxidermist with a penchant for traumatizing Jenny and her sister with dead animals (hence the cover).
She takes all the insanity in her life with stride, however, as well as a kick-ass sense of humor:
“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 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.”
To get a sense of what kind of book this is, here’s a small sampling of topics: cow vaginas, vampire cougars, cat rapists, and a big metal chicken named Beyonce. Lawson’s tales seem so far-fetched, she admits that many of her closest friends can’t tell fact from fiction.
But what is true is the sadness that often takes root in her stories. Lawson suffers from depression, anxiety, OCD, and rheumatoid arthritis. She also experienced multiple miscarriages before the birth of her daughter Hailey.
“In short? It is exhausting being me. Pretending to be normal is draining and requires amazing amounts of energy and Xanax.”
I applaud Lawson for being so forthcoming about her mental illnesses, and for finding the slapstick silver lining. She managed to make a successful career out of her craziness, and I mean that in the best way possible.
Any blogger would kill to have Lawson’s self-deprecating style and witty way with words. I hope she knows that after a lifetime of dreading social situations, she’s now the cool girl on campus with many fans, who after reading her writing, would love to be her friends.
So whether life’s getting you down or you just want to hear some kooky stories, I highly recommend Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. You will literally LOL, I promise!
“Because you are defined not by life’s imperfect moments, but by your reaction to them. And because there is joy in embracing – rather than running from – the utter absurdity of life.”