The Lit. Chick

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened

Jenny Lawson is a blogger. She’s a pretty popular blogger, but that wasn’t enough. No, she had to write a book. “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened,” is a nonfictional memoir of sorts that is laugh out loud funny but also so full of profanity that you might want to read it behind locked doors so you don’t feel guilty about giggling over it.

Each chapter is a vignette of Lawson’s life, from the first, “I was a three-year-old arsonist,” to “You can’t go home again (Unless you want to get mauled by wild dogs),” but the fun continues in her “Epilogue,” “The End (sort of),” and “True Facts.” Then of course, readers can refer to her blog where you can get back to the basics of Lawson. Some bits of her prose will offend, but that’s also a form of success in publishing. She gets reaction. Most of her work is just plain funny.

Lawson’s writing is like reading a letter or email from a witty no-holds-barred friend. No topic is safe from her dark humor, and that’s how life should be. If you can’t laugh at yourself, laugh with Jenny. The back cover flap of her book puts it best: “Like laughing at a funeral, this book is both irreverent and impossible to hold back once you get started.”

One of the cleaner moments of the book was about an incident involving finding a laundry detergent bottle on the kitchen counter, after having started the dishwasher. Lawson worried she’d made a mindless mistake, so she logged onto Twitter and and wrote, “Hypothetically speaking, if I accidentally put laundry detergent in the dishwasher will that make my dishwasher explode? I kind of need to know as soon as possible.” For the most part though, the book is delightfully raunchy.

Lawson is one of those people who doesn’t seem to restrain herself in her thinking, writing, or speaking. She admits to anxiety which causes her to ramble and babble with her foot in her mouth at parties and subsequently hiding in the bathroom until it’s time to go home.

On her blog she describes herself with this bio, “I write for Good Mom/Bad Mom on the Houston Chronicle, but I needed an uncensored space to say the *-word and talk about ninjas so I started this blog. I also write a satirical sex column, a parenting column that will make you wish you’d decided to just stick with dogs and I twitter a lot. Also, I can balance live cats on my head but no one will pay me for it. Yet. My book (Let’s Pretend This Never Happened) debuted at #1 on the NYT best-seller list. I assure you, no one is more surprised about this than me. Victor is my husband. Hailey is my seven-year-old. Posey, Rolly and Ferris Mewler are my cats. Pluto is a planet, in spite of what you may have heard.”

When Jenny Lawson was little, all she wanted to do was fit in. I think she’s done one better than that; she sets the bar of carefree humor and says what we’re (nearly) all thinking. That’s good writing.

The general consensus of my book club was a three out of five stars.

“Let’s Pretend This Never Happened,” by Jenny Lawson, $25.95, Amy Einhorn Books/Penquin Group, ISBN: 978-0-399-15901-5.

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