Wednesday, March 6, 2013

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

Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir. Jennie Lawson, The Bloggess. Berkley Trade: Reprint Edition. March 2013. 384 pages. ISBN #: 9780425261018.

Jenny Lawson is a hoot!  Beginning with the family stories she tells, which are probably the wackiest you ever heard, the author describes her father's odd penchant for bringing animals home, like the "magic" squirrel in the Ritz cracker box which turned out to be a dead squirrel he'd made into a puppet.  To say it like that doesn't convey half the hilarious humor of the telling - plenty of swearing at just the right times that leave the reader howling and remembering it for hours later.  Or how about animals he brought home to boil down to study their bone structure; dozens and dozens of similar unbelievable antics follow that are just another day in Jenny's life.

How about a first try of drugs or her fascination with Neal Patrick Harris a/k/a Doogie Howser in her time?  At about this time she met Victor her life-long husband now, and tells us about how much he accepted her exactly as she was, though her father's unexpected animal gifts did take time to become accustomed to.  What a time she had on meeting Victor's parents - one must sit on the couch but in NO way lean back against the cushions on the couch.  Insane, right?  Yeah, people live like this! How outrageous is a proposal from a groom-to-be who doesn't realize until it's too late that he's kneeling in ground glass and she's about to wet her pants from her dire need for a bathroom - the stuff you can't possibly make up!

She also reveals as time goes on about her realization that she had an anxiety disorder and OCD but don't expect any whining about this; she finds a way to joke about what had to have been a horrendous period, including her initial infertility and eventual birth to her children whom she brought home - no, not to raise them in the bathtub which is where all her childhood animal visitors spent a great deal of their time.  

Living in Texas, she tries very hard to fit into her husband's world and doesn't succeed but she's so funny and so positive that everyone learns to love her for who she is - or completely stay clear of her like someone running away from a contagious disease!  In between we have some discussions about vampires, zombies, the dead and more! That is when she's not setting fire to the house and other quirky things - always followed by apologies to Victor and their love deepening with the aftermath. 

There's a subtle darkness to this humor that is troubling at times but which quickly recedes when one realizes Jenny says and does things the rest of us think and reflect on but never actually let out of our carefully constructed worlds.  Let's Pretend This Never Happened... is a gripping memoir that deserves best-seller status and one you certainly won't forget! Or as Jenny would say, maybe you will because you're a beep! Fine writing, Jennie Lawson!  

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