Leftist commentary from a mouthy bitch

A Little Levity: Book Review – Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson (The Bloggess)

I can't wait to hear the audio book version, which she reads.

OK, I need a break from all the bitching about assholes and stuff.  So I’m going to tell you about a book that made me laugh until I cried while I read it.  Let’s Pretend This Never Happened:  A mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson, The Bloggess.  Some of the stories in the book have been featured on her blog, like the story about Beyoncé the huge metal chicken.  But most of what’s in this book isn’t anything I’ve seen on her blog before.  She talks about growing up in a shitty small town in Texas, her father the taxidermist, an incredibly patient mother, a sister who got good at playing normal, and growing up with all kinds of wild critters around the house, and goats and chickens, and dogs and cats.

Basically, she describes growing up with a weirdo family who embrace their weirdness, but also growing up with anxiety issues that are exacerbated by those self-same weirdos.  And what it’s like to grow up and live with non-standard brain functions.

I’ve often said that the Bloggess is me, with a better budget and even less impulse control.  For which my husband is grateful, because while we’ve had many of the arguments Jenny’s had with Victor, ours usually end with, “Well, we don’t have the money for it anyway, so why are we even fighting over this?”  and me sulking in the car, because he’s right.  Even if I could convince him that we needed a giant egg chair, we can’t afford it.  That is also the way the fight over the giant skull chair, and the replica medieval throne and many, many others ended as well.

Now, not everyone is going to find her book funny.  If you didn’t grow up in a family with a sick sense of humor, you’re probably going to alternately be horrified, feel incredibly bad for someone who grew up like that, and possibly find yourself a little bit nauseous.  If you grew up in a family with a sick sense of humor,   you’ll find yourself laughing even as you say, “Oh, baby, that sucks!”

The book, full of anecdotes of her childhood that demonstrate exactly how someone turns out thinking a taxidermied mouse dressed as Hamlet is the must-have accessory of the year, and descriptions of the outcome of that childhood, feels incredibly authentic.  And she’s pretty good about telling you when she’s made shit up for a better story, or just because it was funny.  Also the footnotes about what her Editor says she can and can’t say are hilarious.

I was going to tell you here about the kind of person who would enjoy this book, but I can’t.  Look, go to her blog, read it, if the stories make you laugh until you’re gasping and the tears are running down your face, then buy the book.  If you’re just kind of puzzled as to why anyone would think blogging about this shit for the whole world to read is OK, don’t buy the book.  If the story about the mongoose and cobra tableau makes you think, “Wow, I wish I could afford a mongoose and cobra tableau!” get this book.  If your first thought is how unsanitary taxidermy is or how you couldn’t handle dead animals in your living room, don’t get the book.

Seriously, it could be therapy inducing if you don’t have the kind of brain that can cope with these stories.

I would tell you more about the book, but I don’t want to give anything away.  Although, I do have to ask how anyone who grew up where and how she did was so amazingly unaware of snakes and scorpions when she and Victor moved out to the country.  I mean, I just did my teen years in Idaho, and I know that shit.


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This entry was posted on May 15, 2012 by in Featured Articles, Reviews.

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