Author: Jenny Lawson
Publication Date: 4/17/12
Publisher: Penguin Audio
[Goodreads | Amazon | Audible]
Blurb (GR): When Jenny Lawson was little, all she ever wanted was to fit in. That dream was cut short by her fantastically unbalanced father (a professional taxidermist who created dead-animal hand puppets) 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 humor 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 are the perfect comedic foils to her absurdities, and help her to 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.
Let's Pretend This Never Happened is a poignantly disturbing, yet darkly hysterical tome for every intellectual misfit who thought they were the only ones to think the things that Lawson dares to say out loud. Like laughing at a funeral, this book is both irreverent and impossible to hold back once you get started
Lawson's book was actually our book club pick of the month and it received varied reactions. One of the most interesting points that a friend of mine brought up was that the book rubbed her the wrong way because it perpetuated society's promotion of the "neurotic woman." She cited a lot of reality television participants and their over-the-top personalities and how our need for entertainment has created the idea that doing seemingly outrageous things is now commonplace and acceptable. I'm not sure I agree with her wholly, but I do know that it may not apply to Lawson, as she discusses in the book her multiple psychological and physical diagnoses and how they affect her everyday life. However, the book does definitely straddle the line of funny and... I'm having a hard time picking a word here. Listen, we all have our things. We all have our pain, our loves, our worries, dreams, hopes, past, nightmares, (insert whatever here). Everyone's life is their own and no one can actually experience someone else's every thought. But at the same time, we are all human and no one is totally unlike every other person alive. We have commonalities with other people, even in terms of thought processes, so it annoys me when people make it seem like they are so unlike everybody else. Unique snowflakes? No. But it must be hard to try to write stories in the funniest way possible without sounding like a try-hard. A few times Lawson fails at this but she overwhelmingly succeeded for this particular reader.
I am certain that many of Lawson's stories will stick with me for a long time and there are definitely some mental images that I wish I could erase from my mind. For example, she tells a story about turning around and walking straight inside a deer carcass by accident. Another about how her vagina felt after childbirth. And several dead animal stories. I'm not offended by most things, but I can see how this book would be too much for some people. However, Lawson addresses that in the very beginning of the book. You'll know after just a few pages whether or not you are on the same page as she is in terms of humor, and if you are, the book is consistently funny. You can check out her blog, her YouTube channel, or listen to a quick sound bite from NPR here to form your own opinion. (there is also an excerpt from the book on the NPR page)
As I listened to the audiobook, which Lawson narrates, it was fun to hear her talk about the pictures in the book, but I did feel like I was missing out to an extent. Luckily for me (and you!), the official book trailer includes some of the pictures, including a raccoon in pajamas and an alligator on an airplane!
I was lucky enough to win a copy of the audiobook from Lucy at The Reading Date, so I figure I should continue the good karma and pass it on to another person who can listen to and laugh. So if you live in the US and want to enter to win, just fill out this form. (CONTEST CLOSED, WINNER FORTHCOMING)