I read this book right after Tessa was born while I was in the hospital. So I’ve had to wait for A WHOLE MONTH before telling you about it. I should be waiting a few more weeks since it isn’t released until April 17th, but I just can’t wait anymore.
You know how last year everyone and their dog read Bossypants? I read it, too. And I thought it was quite funny. But it wasn’t really effective as a book. It was inconsistent and kind of all over the place. The utterly hysterical parts were utterly hysterical, but there were plenty of clunkers that fell flat to me. Perhaps the biggest disappointment for me when I read that book was that I didn’t feel like I was any closer to knowing Tina Fey as a person by the time it was over.
It’s probably inevitable that Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) by Jenny Lawson (also known as The Bloggess) will be compared to Bossypants a lot. And probably to David Sedaris as well. But I think those comparisons aren’t fair to LPTNH. Because LPTNH is funnier.
That’s right, I said it. It’s funnier than Bossypants. And not by a little.
I recommend you not read this book while laying in a bed with your husband and sleeping baby right next to you. Because then you won’t be able to guffaw loudly lest you wake them up. I think I was deprived of some of the deepest enjoyment this book provides because I was trying to let my babies get some much-needed sleep.
It helps that Lawson herself is a funny writer. She keeps you consistently engaged and chuckling when she tells a story, no matter what the story is. But what’s astonishing about LPTNH is how funny the stories themselves are. I can’t imagine that I’m alone in wondering if the story in chapter 3 involving a squirrel (I will give you no more details so I won’t deprive you of the absolutely uproarious experience) is true. Can it be true? Can this actually happen to someone?
These stories happen over and over again. Lawson had a singularly unusual childhood. She also has a rather unusual adulthood, as she struggles with near-crippling anxiety.
What ultimately makes LPTNH far superior to Bossypants and other “funny” books is that there’s a big beating heart at its center and a life all around it. You actually get to know Jenny. You get to follow her through her major life decisions and her small daily activities. There’s her childhood in a small Texas town, her determination to escape, her college years, her romance with her husband, her jobs, her anxiety, her experience as a mother and, most unlikely of all, her unexpected return to small town Texas.
Despite the fact that Jenny admits to having difficulty around people, you will be sure upon finishing this book that you and Jenny are totally already best friends and that should she meet you she would immediately make you her best friend. And you would be the luckiest person in the world.
(I admit, whenever Jenny would mention her friends I would get jealous. I got jealous of her real-life friends because WHY NOT ME, JENNY?)
Also, have you noticed how I went from referring to her all authorly as “Lawson” to calling her “Jenny” because I have already made her my best friend in my head?
Sure, this book isn’t for everyone. A dark sense of humor is required. Also you must be comfortable with cursing and casual references to sex toys. And most of Jenny’s childhood stories involve her father’s ventures into taxidermy. So feeling comfortable with dead animals is also a must. It’s a random assortment in the best possible way. I guarantee you haven’t read any other memoirs like this one.
I’d also add that you don’t need to be a reader of Jenny’s blog to enjoy the book. While I’ve known of the Bloggess (you can’t really be active in the blogosphere and NOT know her) I have rather shamefully not been following her actively until recently. (Super sorry, Jenny. You know we’re besties, right?)
When I read this book, it was like making a good friend. Don’t you love that experience?
Thanks to Edelweiss and Putnam Books for providing me with an advanced e-galley of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. It will be released on April 17, 2012. Here’s the pre-order link from The Bloggess.