Bothari’s #CBR4 Review #27: Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson
The first thing I thought when I started listening to the audio version of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened was: “Well frak. There’s no way I’m going to be able to loan this to anybody!” Usually I think audio books are to be traded and shared, but Jenny Lawson (the hilarious and wonderful Bloggess) might just be a little too out there for trading. I might do it anyway, though, because this book is too good not to recommend to people. I’ve followed Jenny’s blog for a couple years now, and she is amazing. She strikes this incredible balance between hilarity, thoughtfulness, real world stuff, zombie apocalypse stuff…it’s a wonderful stew of awesomeness. With maybe a dash too much vagina-talk and cussing (the funny kind, not the angry kind) to loan to just anybody.
The book is basically a life story overview, with some random blog-type stories thrown in. She talks about her childhood in west Texas with her taxidermist father, long-suffering mother, and more ‘normal’ sister. Mixed in with the crazy stories of live bobcats in the house, baby raccoons in the bathtub, and dead bears in trees, she talks about how she learned to be okay with being different, embracing her weirdness. College, courtship, marriage, motherhood…she covers it all with a breezy flair that makes me desperately wish I could be her friend.
If I remember right, I went with the audio book on another Cannonballer’s recommendation, and that made it even better. Jenny sings the chapter titles, gives little asides to describe the pictures that are in the paper version of the book, and yells her parts of the recaps of fights with her husband, Victor. The best part is the outtakes at the end where she’s talking to the staff at the sound booth. And I know from now on when I read her blog, I’ll hear it in her voice.
It’s basically the story of Jenny’s life, told through lots of little stories. A couple of my favorite bits were the tale of her father trading a crossbow for a pickup bed full of “jumbo quail” chicks, which grew up to be angry turkeys (with a leader named Jenkins), and a chapter of Jenny reading letters and post-its she had left around the house for Victor, including one with the genius idea of dunking an Eggo waffle straight into the butter tub to save a knife (“don’t worry if you open the butter and it’s got a plaid pattern”). It’s not all happy – depression, illness, social anxiety, dead dogs – but learning how it all adds up to make Jenny who she is today is a very satisfying read. And I still want her to be my friend.
Favorite quote (which I can’t go back and double-check, since you can’t fold back page corners on an audio book, but the gist was): “You’re so going to miss me when I sober up enough to drive away.”