31 March, 2012
Review: Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson
This is the story of my life, except completely different. A normal conversation between me and just about any other human on the planet goes something like this - "No, that's not the weird part. So then we - what? No that's not the weird part. I will tell you when we get to the weird part. Can you just listen? None of that is important, the important thing is..." Because apparently my entire life differs greatly from the average human experience. People give me the half cocked flopped ear expression of the RCA Victor dog. (You probably have no idea who that is. It's ok. I expect that.) Then they slowly say "You... should write a book." I don't want to write a book. Jenny Lawson just wrote it for me. (Did I mention I love you?)
Let's Pretend This Never Happened is the best memoir I've ever read. Because it is about me. Except, as I already said, completely different. (Mine had way less taxidermy but far more domestic violence. I'm the ABC AfterSchool Special to her Independent Lens.) I even love the subtitle A Mostly True Memoir. Every person in my life (except my sibling) either has or will at some point turn to me with a horrified expression to say "Wait, you've been telling the truth. Everything you've said is true. All of those things, they happened." Of course they did. Why would I bother to make something like that up? I've learned to be polite about it but it's really kind of offensive. I never understood what they were feeling. Because of what I was feeling, their hand to mouth horror didn't mean anything. Until I read Let's Pretend This Never Happened. (Oh my god. Jenny Lawson. All those things. They happened.) Suddenly I knew what it was like to be a normal person waiting for me to get to the weird part. That was a gift.
It was such a gift I said thank you, because I am polite like that. I also called Let's Pretend This Never Happened something like Angela's Ashes, but for Rednecks. Hopefully that didn't offend her. Rednecks isn't quite the right term, but People Raised By Vaguely Southern Parents With An Affinity For Rural Poverty And Scaring Their Neighbors doesn't roll off the tongue the same way. Folks get what you mean by Rednecks, even if it brings a scary KKKonnotation you didn't intend. (Even Malachy McCourt told me to write a book. Mr. McCourt, if you're reading this - please check out Jenny Lawson. I think you'll like her.) Let's Pretend This Never Happened is much higher on the laughter scale than Angela's Ashes was. There is no dual citizenship or starving Irish children but we can't hold that against Lawson. I am sure if the opportunity to starve in an Irish slum presented itself she would have taken mental notes for her future memoir. She is also not a teacher. (This is a loss to children everywhere but possibly a relief to their parents. People don't understand the importance of diversity in education.)
Look, I don't even want to tell you what's in here. Just buy it. Pre-order it. Make a note. Set a calendar alarm. I don't care. Because if you can't laugh at a book filled with dead animals, vultures digging up graves and a young high school girl giving a cow a pelvic exam, then I don't know what you would enjoy. Frankly, I'm concerned. Because I thought it was hilarious. Yes, this is something of a blog to book experience. It doesn't read like one. While I would have moved a chapter here or there and ended in a different place those are minor quibbles. Jenny Lawson deserves a cabinet full of awards and a truck full of money dumped into an empty swimming pool for her enjoyment. Because I'm not the weird one in the conversation.