At first glance, the last three books I reviewed don’t have much in common. Fates and Furies is a story about the secrets and deceptions that make up a marriage. Tiny Beautiful Things is a series of advice essays. And Let’s Pretend This Never Happened is an uproariously funny memoir from a blogger who grew up out in the Texas boonies. Not a ton of overlap. But they do have one thing in common-I wish I could experience all three of these books for the first time again, and I’m jealous of you readers who will get to have that experience I can’t. I’ve had a very lucky reading week, and it ended on a high note. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened is maybe one of the funniest books I’ve ever read. And (if y’all haven’t figured it out yet) I read a lot.
The full title is Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A mostly true memoir. Author Jenny Lawson says the “mostly true” part was inserted so her parents could deny some of the more…colorful moments of her childhood, which she describes as “David Copperfield meets Guns & Ammo magazine.” She grew up in the sticks of West Texas, the child of two what-doesn’t-kill-you-makes-you-stronger-type parents. Their house was overflowing with animals, including some wild turkeys that followed her to school, demolishing any chance for her to be one of the cool kids. Her mom seems pretty unconcerned about the chaos surrounding her family. Her taxidermist father thinks it’s fun to make a puppet from a freshly dead squirrel. Even though the stories in the first half of the book sound traumatic, she writes about them with affection.
Lawson survives her childhood, survives high school, finds a husband in the witchcraft section of a book store and becomes a blogger. Her book (and her blog) remains upbeat, even when going through her eating disorder, her anxiety issues, and her miscarriages. Even when she was tackling tough stuff she had me actually laughing out loud (not cute little “lolz” but actual loud guffaws that made the table next to me request to be moved to another section of the restaurant. Whatever. You dorks don’t even know what’s cool).
If you’re not a fan of naughty language, or meandering stream of consciousness passages that don’t necessarily have a point, then this book isn’t for you. But fans of David Sedaris or Hyperbole and a Half should pick this book up. Despite being a series of disjointed stories, the book has a rhythm and a (somewhat maniacal) flow. I absolutely adored the first half of the book, which covered her childhood, but the laughs kept coming in Act 2 as well. Pick up the book. Read it in small, savory chunks. And do it in a place where people won’t be dicks if you start laughing out loud.