They say truth is stranger than fiction, and when it proves true, the result is absurdity too weird and hilarious to make up. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) by Jenny Lawson, better known to her fans as The Bloggess, is by turns hysterically funny and poignant. Mostly hysterically funny, though.
While few people can claim childhood traumatic incidents involving taxidermy and never would have dreamed of artificially inseminating a cow in high school as Lawson did, many readers will find something to identify with in this rollicking memoir. Some experiences are just universal: panicking over blurting out the wrong thing at a social event, losing a pet, getting annoyed at a spouse’s repeated behavior like not picking up the wet towel off the floor. It’s always comforting to realize others have experienced the same struggles—and can turn them into comedic gold.
As I was not, prior to this book, a reader of her blog, it took me a bit to get used to the rambly, tangential style, but once I did, I frequently found myself giggling aloud. And the madness is not entirely without method—it is, for the most part, a chronological series of stories that can be read in short installments for busy readers with limited dedicated reading time. I most appreciated the later entries grappling with being an adult when everyone else seems to have it together because, wow, could I identify; this would fit well with other new adult reading, I think.
This is not necessarily a book for everyone—people with delicate sensibilities who are averse to lots of swearing will most emphatically disapprove. Those offended by casual and frequent discussion of genitalia would also do well to walk away from this book. (Possible trigger warning: one chapter does also deal with the heavy topic of miscarriage.) Do pick it up if you have a) ever had such a strange childhood that you are dying to know someone else had it just as rough, b) are grappling with being a mature adult and not losing a sense of humor, or c) read and enjoyed the likes of David Sedaris and Augusten Burroughs and are looking for something equally entertaining.