This week’s review: LET’S PRETEND THIS NEVER HAPPENED (A MOSTLY TRUE MEMOIR)
Author: Jenny Lawson
Release Date: April 17, 2012
Edition: Kindle, 384 pages
Genre: Memoirs/Women, Humor/Satire, Humor
Writing this review is like telling your friend that you like her outfit, but she has a crusty booger hanging out of her nose . . . and something green stuck between her front teeth.
Honestly, this has been one of the hardest blog posts I’ve done in some time. It’s why I would never be any good in management. Unless I can do it behind someone’s back, I really don’t like delivering criticism. Filter in the fact that I’ve suffered from a couple of bad reviews. I know first hand that not only are they hard to receive, its even harder not to take them personally.
That being said, I really expected to love this book. First of all, the fact that the memoir debuted on the New York Times’ Best Seller List left me envious, intrigued, and awe-struck. The icing on the proverbial cake was the comments made by fans and reviewers whom described Ms. Lawson as witty, sarcastic, outlandish, irreverent, and not afraid to cuss. My immediate thought? She’s my kind of girl.
Lawson’s book details the antics of her father the taxidermist, her numerous psychiatric issues (ADD, anxiety attacks, OCD, and social phobia), too many fights with her husband to keep straight, the death of her dog, the birth of her daughter, and her fixation with collecting dead animals who have been stuffed, placed in a variety of poses, and dressed in cute outfits.
Here are some excerpts from Lawson’s book that show a sampling of her style:
“This book is totally true, except for the parts that aren’t. It’s basically like Little House on the Prairie but with more cursing.”
“Call me Ishmael. I won’t answer to it, because it’s not my name, but it’s more agreeable than most things I’ve been called. “Call me ‘the-weird-chick-who-says-“fuck”-a-lot” is probably more accurate, but “Ishmael seems classier . . . “
“Did you notice how, like, half of this introduction was a rambling parenthetical? That shit is going to happen all the time.”
Well, at least she’s honest.
Also scattered throughout the book is an ongoing, staged dialogue between Lawson and her editor. At random locations within and at the end of chapters, Lawson interjects ‘notes’ from her editor, to which she formulates snarky replies. These stylistic ‘arguments’ struck me as odd and distracting. I commend Lawson for her bravery in taking a risk and trying something new, but I think the experiment was a flop.
As for my two cents, at times I found her book funny, mostly because her stories were so outlandish. I thought her conversations with her husband bordered on hilarious, but also very contrived. Lawson does possess great wit, but the further I got into the book, I felt like she was trying too hard. As for the liberal use of the f-bomb? After a while, it just seemed like she was firing for effect.
Overall, her writing style is perfect for a blog or a letter to a girlfriend. It’s rambling, free flowing, disjointed, and often pointless. For a short period of time, I don’t mind riding along on someone else’s acid trip, but not for an entire book. It became exhausting and started to insult my intelligence. I’d still rather read Jenny Lawson’s book than spend an afternoon with Roseanne Barr, but Roseanne would be a very close second.
It makes me feel so bad, but here goes . . . Jenny Lawson, your dress is really cute, but you have a bat in the cave and spinach in your teeth.
I purchased a Kindle copy of this book with no incentive or communication with the author or any of his representatives. My opinions are honest and my own.
A bit about Jenny Lawson:
Lawson is 33 years old and from the town of Wall, Texas. She has been blogging for over a decade, starting out at the Houston Chronicle. Lawson branched out and created the massively popular blogs called “The Bloggess.” In this venue, she’s free to use the f-word as she sees fit. It’s reported that she receives over two million page views per month. Go Jenny!
p.s. Please don’t hate me!
Sherry Gorman, M.D. is a published author of IT’S NOTHING PERSONAL. She retired from her career as an anesthesiologist in mid-2013. Since that time, she has been working feverishly on her second book, IN GOOD HANDS — a medical thriller. When not busy writing, Sherry spends her time acting as a mama-shuttle bus, putting her foot in her mouth, and dreaming about Hawaii. Her two hidden talents: she can pee faster than any other woman who ever walked the earth (seriously, always get behind her in the bathroom line), and she says what she thinks (more a curse than a talent).