Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson
I’ve heard of The Bloggess, and I’ve even read a smattering of posts over the years. I’d heard that she was publishing a memoir, and I heard it was funny. It’s been languishing on my to-read list for years, until Malin graciously gifted it to me last year. Thanks to that gentle push forward, I finally cracked it open this year, and oh, boy, was it ever a treat.
Jenny Lawson writes about the aspects of her childhood that are bizarre or strange and how they influenced her as an adult. And there are a lot of those stories—her parents were quirky and off-beat, and her dad collected a ton of animals, both for taming and taxidermy. She tells a lot of stories with immense details and brassy humor, how she met her husband, having her daughter, and moving from rural Texas to Houston, back to rural Texas, to give her daughter the country life that she’d had. In the mix is her battle with depression, social anxiety, and rheumatoid arthritis, her struggle to get pregnant (and the start of her chronic physical illnesses), and many taxidermied animals (no, really).
If you’re easily offended or don’t like your humor irreverent, this book is probably not for you, and you are absolutely missing out. Lawson manages to be both hilarious and sincere at once, and it’s a great combination. I did a lot of laughing and gaping, because seriously, folks, her childhood was strange (though not in a painful way, as in abuse and violence. There were just a lot of animals and weird adventures). Her telling of her social anxiety is both funny and raw. I think I understood anxiety a bit more even than I do now, thanks to her blunt descriptions. It’s a great book and well worth the read. I full intend to read the next one.