Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: (A Mostly True Memoir)

Jenny Lawson

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

Jenny Lawson

‘Even when I was funny, I wasn’t this funny.’ Augusten Burroughs. For fans of Tina Fey, David Sedaris and anyone who’s ever felt like a misfit, an outrageously funny and disturbing memoir from Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess. ‘When I tell people that my father is kind of a total lunatic, they laugh and nod knowingly. They assure me that theirs is too, and that he’s just a typical father . And they’re probably right, if the typical father runs a full-time taxidermy business out of the house, and shows up at the local bar with a miniature donkey and a Teddy Roosevelt impersonator, and thinks other people are weird for making such a big deal out of it. If the typical father says things like Happy birthday! Here’s a bathtub of raccoons! or We’ll have to take your car. Mine has too much blood in it, then yeah, he’s totally normal.’ 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 childhood of wearing winter shoes made out of used bread sacks. It did, however, open up an opportunity for Lawson to find the humour in the strange shame-spiral that is her life, and we are all the better for it. 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. Like laughing at a funeral, LET’S PRETEND THIS NEVER HAPPENED is both irreverent and impossible to hold back once you get started. ‘The Bloggess writes stuff that actually is laugh-out-loud, but you know that really you shouldn’t be laughing and probably you’ll go to hell for laughing, so maybe you shouldn’t read it.’ Neil Gaiman ‘Even when I was funny, I wasn’t this funny.’ Augusten Burroughs, author of RUNNING WITH SCISSORS

Review

Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, has written a memoir. Self-described as ‘Little House on the Prairie but with more cursing’, Lawson seeks to both mortify and endear her readers with her sharp, smutty prose. ‘Like laughing at a funeral,’ claims the back cover. Like laughing at a very filthy funeral, indeed.

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened takes the reader from Lawson’s childhood in rural West Texas, to her current life in, well, rural West Texas. For every humiliating story a reader could have about their childhood, Lawson has two more, three times as unbelievable, and four times more humiliating. With chapters entitled ‘I Was A Three-Year Old Arsonist’ and ‘If You Need an Arm Condom, It Might be Time to Reevaluate Some of Your Life Choices’, you’d be hard pressed to find something that doesn’t make you want to roll around on the floor with laughter. It’s a sincere book too, including many stories of her relationship to Victor, her husband, whom she clearly loves dearly enough to lock out of the car with a rattlesnake in the dark (look, you just have to read the book).

Towards the end the memoir lags, as Lawson presents us with chapter after chapter of arguments that seem to get more hyperbolic as the stories become more domestic. The real star of this book is Lawson’s father: a gun-toting taxidermist who delights in bringing home stray bobcats and boiling raccoon skulls in the backyard. An incident involving a ‘magical squirrel’ caused this reviewer’s jaw to drop in shock. Other horrors that Lawson’s father exposes her to include running inside of a deer and being chased to school by toothless ‘quails’. They say that the most unbelievable stories are those that are true: thank goodness they all happened to Lawson.

nicole_lee_blog Nicole Lee is a writer and actor living in Melbourne. When she is not prancing around a stage or writing furtively at the back of a café, she can be found working at Readings St Kilda.

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