Book Review: Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson

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Let me start this review off by saying that I stopped reading books for a several years because my advanced English class in High School. It seriously made me hate books. I read a few here and there (thanks to recommendations from Vi), but never really got into reading on a regular basis. But thanks to a book left on a gifted Kindle, my life changed.

I didn’t know anything about the book or Jenny Lawson for that matter, but the cover caught my attention right away. It reminded me of the movie Dinner With Schmucks and since I loved that movie, I figured I might like the book. Once I started reading, I couldn’t set it down. I found myself captivated by every chapter, awkwardly laughing to myself in corners at work and home. Once finished, I became a spokesperson for the book, suggesting it to friends and even strangers. I even started a mini-book club about the book at work. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened is the reason I’m excited to read again and the reason I can participate in the blog.

In the book, Jenny Lawson takes us through a magical journey through her life. We start with her strange but relatable (especially if you lived near farms in the Midwest like me) childhood. The first several chapters are filled with stories of her slightly crazy taxidermist father, bread sack shoes and her array of pets which included turkeys. The chapter about Stanley the Magical Talking Squirrel literally brought me to tears.  

As she grows up, we learn more about her anxiety disorder. Though it is a serious subject, she writes about her disorder in such a way that you can’t help but laugh when she hides in a bathroom at cocktail parties. And we’ve all been there at parties when it gets uncomfortable silent and our minds wander, but the silence causes Jenny to blurt things out like: NECROPHILIA IS BAD, and then proceed to talk about why necrophilia is bad. You find yourself sympathetic, amused, and charmed by her awkward social encounters. I wish I could invite her to every party I host.

The book if filled with humorous chapters from her high school days, her time in Human Resources, her fights with her husband (who I believe is a very patient man), and her daughter. But Lawson also uses her witty humor to  intermix the more serious moment of her life. Her anxiety disorder, her anorexia, her miscarriages, and the horrible chapter about the death of her dog (which also brought me to tears). Luckily she always manages to add some comment that will have you laughing on the next page. 

Throughout the book you’ll probably ask yourself numerous times: Did that really happen?  Did she really buy a giant metal chicken? Was there really a family of squirrels swimming down the river? While there are some pictures to verify some stories, don’t stress about the rest. Who cares if some parts were exaggerated. She said it was Mostly True anyways. So enjoy the book and appreciate the laughs it is sure to provide.

The book gets 5/5 stars for reminding me that the best stories come from books.

5/5 stars

~Eddie

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