Cannonball Read IV

A bunch of Pajibans reading and reviewing and honoring AlabamaPink.

Archive for the tag “Jenny Lawson”

Malin’s #CBR4 Reviews # 94-99: I’m nearly done with a double Cannonball, you guys!

So in the middle of October, I once again took part in the 24-hour Read-a-thon, and I’ve obviously been reading (and re-reading) books since then, but I’ve been falling behind on my blogging. So here’s a big catch-up post, and hopefully, within the week, I will have read and blogged a double Cannonball. I only set out to do a single one this year, and as a result, it seems that completing twice the amount became less of a chore.

94. A Wrinkle in Time by Madelaine L’Engle. I suspect I would have loved this more when I was younger. 4 stars.

95. Fun Home by Alison Bechdel. The first book I’ve read of hers. It won’t be the last. 4 stars.

96. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson. I know it’s been reviewed so well, so many times on here, and I have no idea why I didn’t pick it up before. 5 stars. By far the funniest book I read this year.

97. A Notorious Countess Confesses by Julie Anne Long. Yet another historical romance,  surprising no one, I’m sure. “The one with the hot vicar” as Mrs. Julien dubbed it. 4 stars.

98. Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor. Unquestionably one of the most anticipated books of the year for me, this turned out to be something completely different from what I’d expected. 4 stars.

99. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. So is it wrong that I was more charmed by the film? The 14-year-olds I teach, love it, though. 3.5 stars.


Janel’s #CBR4 Review 49 Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

Jenny Lawson was at the Gaithersburg Book Festival this summer, but I didn’t get to hear her speak.  I had seen some Twitter buzz for her book as well so I was curious.  Let me state upfront that I had not read her blog The Bloggess at all before reading this memoir.

I was kind blown away by the text being more a string of thoughts somehow linked together.  The curse words kinda distracted me by the end of the book.  I don’t mind curse words, but the frequency was a little higher in this memoir than my comfort level.  I now understand Lawson’s need to include pictures to help prove she wasn’t making up these stories – as they were very random and unbelieveable.

Overall this book was not my cup of tea, but if you are a fan of Lawson’s blog this memoir would be a good read for you.

CBRIV: Book#10: Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) By Jenny Lawson

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.”

Sara Habein’s #CBR4 Review #31: Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

Let's Pretend This Never Happened (cover)My review of Jenny Lawson’s book Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) is now up over at Persephone Magazine. Hijinks with a turkey named Jenkins ensue.

CommanderStrikeher’s #CBR4 Review #23: Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson aka The Bloggess

*Audiobook Review*

Apparently I have been living under a rock, because I had never heard of The Bloggess until I saw this book on a table at Barnes & Noble.  I kept seeing reviews of this book on the Cannonball Blog, and I was looking for something funny for my next Audible credit.  I listened to a sample of this book and fell in the floor laughing.  As a child, Jenny Lawson was playing chase with her sister.  She wasn’t looking where she was going, and she accidentally ran inside of a deer that her dad was “cleaning” AKA gutting.  She said it was like being inside a deer sweater.  Then she vomited inside of it.  Then her dad hosed it off and served it for dinner.  You know, just your typical evening at home.  I knew this would be perfect for my next listen.

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened is Jenny Lawson’s mostly true memoir of growing up in rural West Texas.  Her family was poor.  Her mother was the school lunch lady and her dad was a taxidermist who routinely brought home litters of baby raccoon and kept a flock of asshole turkeys for pets. Wackiness ensues.

Holy shit this book was funny!  I almost drove the car off the road a couple of times.  I made the mistake of listening to this while I was eating, and nearly choked to death.  There are also a couple of serious moments, but they are few and far between.  I have recommended this book to nearly every person I have met.  The only book I can remember being funnier than this was George Carlin’s Brain Droppings.

*Audio-specific portion of review*

I feel that this may be a book that is made better by audiobook.  Jenny Lawson is probably the only person who could ever understand Jenny Lawson, so it makes sense that she narrates her memoir.  At first, her voice can be a little annoying, but as the book went on, I began to enjoy it.  I am glad that I purchased this one, because I will be subjecting it to anyone who takes a road trip with me.

5/5 Stars.

KatSings’ #CBR4 Review #24 – Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) by Jenny Lawson (The Bloggess)

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) by Jenny Lawson (The Bloggess)

Go get this book.  Now.  Go.  Read it.  You can thank me later.


Baxlala’s #CBR4 Review #20: Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) by Jenny Lawson

I’ve been putting off writing my review of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened because I had a lot of feelings about this book and not many of them were good. I can’t say that I really enjoyed this memoir, even though I really, really wanted to, having been a long-time (off and on) reader of The Bloggess.

There were stories I enjoyed immensely. By and large, these were not the stories I’d already read on her blog. Maybe this is my own fault, but I completely missed the memo that there were previously published stories in the book. Since I paid for the book, I was a bit disappointed that there was so much material that I could have found in her blog archives. This probably makes me a cheap bastard but I don’t care (mostly because I am a cheap bastard).

(On the other hand, she’s been providing me with free entertainment for years so maybe it’s a draw?)

Before I go any further, I feel like I should be completely honest, especially before someone claims that the reason I didn’t triple heart love this book is that I’m jealous of Jenny Lawson. Well, I can tell you right now that DUH OF COURSE I’M JEALOUS OF HER. She’s not a traditional mommyblogger (ugh, I hate that term) and yet has grown a significant, mommyblogger-esque following. And then she got to write a book, based solely on the power of the irreverent and hilarious stories on her blog! Who wouldn’t be jealous? (Not to mention, we both have the same first name, the tendency toward hyperbole, an obsession with the zombie apocalypse, backgrounds in HR, the annoying overuse of the word “totally,” and long-suffering husbands. Where’s my book deal?!)

There are things I love about this book, her blog, and The Bloggess in general. I love her openness regarding her struggle with anxiety and depression, her unique childhood, and her ability to pull people together to help those less fortunate. I love her traveling red dress project, the way she’s learned to accept herself, and the way she talks about her family. I wish this book had included more about that and less about giant metal chickens. I already knew she was good at torturing her husband, I wanted something more (I’m greedy).

Judging by the reviews I’ve read, I seem to be in the minority here, so maybe it’s my fault that I didn’t enjoy it more? I went into it thinking it was going to have a cohesive narrative and not just be a bunch of random stories. I may read it again in a few months, with that in mind, and see if my opinion remains the same. You guys, I really wish I had liked this book more! Jenny Lawson seems like such a funny, genuine, NICE woman, someone I’d like if I knew her in person, and I don’t like saying negative things about people I like, so I’m going to stop. There were bits of the book that I really enjoyed, like the idea of her having a taxidermy alligator on an airplane. The stories about her childhood were the most interesting, I thought, but then again, I just like to hear stories about how others grew up, especially if they involve the person shoving her arm inside of a cow. Mostly, I just want to have a drink with Lawson, share HR horror stories, and discuss the upcoming zombie apocalypse. But I’m not sure I’d want to read about it in Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: Beyonce Strikes Back.

PS: I just watched a few videos of Jenny Lawson reading from this book and thought it was much funnier than it was in my head when I read it. So maybe I need the audiobook experience?

PPS: My Goodreads review says I gave this two stars, but I would have given it 2.5 if I could have. I really wish there was an option between It Was OK and I Liked It. Actually, I wish there was an option for “My feelings are too confusing for me to rate this book. Ask again later.”

narfna’s #CBR Review #41: Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

I pre-ordered this book at Amazon as soon as I heard about it. I’ve been reading The Bloggess for years, watched her struggle with her rheumatoid arthritis, her social anxiety, and her depression, all the while being one of the most joyful and optimistic presences on the internet. I was happy for her on a personal level that I rarely am when bloggers get book deals, and besides my real affection for her, I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that Let’s Pretend This Never Happened isn’t really a “blog” book, with blog entries stolen and bastardized into chapters*. It’s a book that happens to be written by a blogger, and that’s a huge difference.

*Except for the post-it chapter. And possibly the zombie Jesus chapter. But really, who gives a shit because those chapters are hilarious.

The Bloggess, aka Jenny Lawson, is not only one of the funniest people on the internet, she also happens to have the biggest and most outrageous imagination I’ve ever heard of, and her book is just as outrageous and inappropriate as I hoped it would be. Yes, it’s laugh out loud funny, but there were parts where what I was reading was so ridiculous (just remember that I warned you about the squirrel hand puppet chapter) that I had to stop reading and share it with someone. I’m sure there are quite a lot of people who will be incredibly offended by Lawson’s book, but those people don’t deserve to have fun anyway.

Lawson traces her life from her incredibly bizarre and fucked up childhood (a childhood full of love, though — don’t mistake fucked up for FUCKED UP, if you know what I mean) spent in the Texas countryside, dirt-poor and with the weirdest parents any child has ever had, to her adult life with beleaguered husband Victor and their daughter Hailey. The book is funny, but it’s also an examination of life viewed from the outside. Lawson writes that she has always felt different from other people, but as she’s grown older, it’s those differences that have allowed her opportunities that she would never had otherwise.

The one criticism that I have about the book is that after a while the jokes start to wear a little thin. She’s writing in some cases about horrific things, and she’s a funny person, so of course she’s going to use humor as a coping mechanism, but pain and real details are the heart of a memoir, and she masks them perhaps just a little too well. I found myself wishing that she would give us, her readers, just a little bit more realness in the midst of the insanity. Maybe I did the book a disservice by reading it so quickly. Maybe Lawson’s very strong and unique voice is better suited to short bursts of reading than long marathons. Regardless, this is a book worth your time. Just don’t read it in public or you might scare people with your convulsions of hysterical laughter.

[Cross-posted to Goodreads]

Quorren’s #CBR4 Review #26 Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

Once, I didn’t know what a Bloggess was.  Then pictures of Juanita the Weasel kenning over her ruined souffle began appearing in my Facebook newsfeed and I lost several hours of my life and possibly pulled a vocal chord trying not to laugh out loud in my cube.  And I immediately pre-ordered her book.

Now, I don’t have  great track record with humorous autobiographies.  As much as I wanted to love Bossypants, I never felt that I reached the level of ecstasy others got from it.  I also gave a lackluster review to Nerd Do Well, Simon Pegg’s book.  Part of it may stem from the fact that I have social anxiety and these books are like sitting down to the world’s longest dinner with someone.  So I decided with this book I would read a few chapters and then switch over to something else.  So instead of a dinner that ends up lasting two hours too long, I get twenty minute phone calls to Lawson.  In the end, due to the other book (reviewed next) being a snooze-fest, and this book being the epitome of hilarity, I read the book in two days.

To say that Jenny Lawson had an odd homelife is  like saying water is wet.  When your dad is a taxidermist, you’re either turn into a creeper or turn out with a wicked sense of humor.  My favorite story from the book was the Great Turkey Shit-Off of 1983.  I won’t give the finer points away, but there is turkey shit involved.  My least favorite was about her dead dog.  I also use humor to deal with my dark stuff, and now I know how off-putting it can be for others.  My empathy kicked in and instead of being all like, “HA!  You had to fight off vultures from your dead dog’s carcass with a machete!” I was more “SUBMIT TO MY HUGS, YOU NEED HUGS!”  Which I doubt either one of us would’ve enjoyed and it would’ve turn awkward fast.

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