Jenny Lawson, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened
A side-splittingly funny debut
Listening to Jenny Lawson — often better known by her nom de web The Bloggess — read her side-splittingly funny formal debut Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, is to be put in grave danger. Whatever muscles that exist in the gut will be pulled like taffy. Listening while operating a moving vehicle may result in bodily harm. This “mostly true memoir” will make endorphins shoot through the brain as though driven by some fantastic opioid derivative.
Unless, perhaps, you’re Jenny Lawson. Then maybe passages about being raised by an amateur taxidermy enthusiast who creates a squirrel sock puppet (made, alas, of more squirrel than sock) will end up less like a fever dream and more like a Vietnam flashback. The saintly husbands of ladybloggers may already be one of the internet’s most well-worn tropes, but Lawson’s is more a partner-in-crime (which, if accidentally macing one’s dinner guests counts as assault, may be a more literal phrase than intended) than silent sufferer.
In certain moments, Lawson comes across as a girlier, less technophobic David Sedaris, describing with irony-laced honesty her struggles with anxiety, arthritis and miscarriage. Life lessons are learned, though almost never without some kind of very public embarrassment. You may find yourself tearing up even before hitting her gothic teen years (“high school is life’s way of giving you a record low to judge the rest of your life by”), but unless you’re one of Lawson’s unfortunate dinner guests, you’ll only be crying for the best of reasons.