Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson: Book Review

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened was the selection for my Book Club’s May, 2014 meeting.

Let's Pretend This Never Happened, Jenny Lawson, blogger, The Bloggess, memoirNonfiction – Memoir
Released April, 2012
384 Pages
Bottom Line: Skip it.
Affiliate Link: Amazon

Plot Summary of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened:

Jenny Lawson’s (aka “The Bloggess”, a successful lifestyle blogger) memoir of growing up in rural Texas with her eccentric family (including a taxidermist father) and her struggles to “fit in” in adulthood.

My Thoughts on Let’s Pretend This Never Happened:

Initially, I thought I was going to love this book. At first, when Lawson focused on her childhood, I laughed so hard tears were streaming down my face. But, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened sadly ended up being a ski slope read for me…meaning it started off with a bang and went consistently downhill from there.

Lawson grew up in Wall, Texas…a land where professional armadillo racing, “show pigs”, housing chickens in filing cabinets, and kids driving to school on their tractors were considered somewhat normal. Lawson talks about these experiences (and her taxidermist father!) in a hilarious, un-PC way…and she could care less if you’re offended! I should say that, if you are easily offended (by the f-bomb, guns, or killing animals to name a few), then you should probably stay far away from this book…but, I’m not and I loved this part of the book.

I particularly loved any story having to do with Jenny’s father, who is completely off the reservation, yet does not care what anyone thinks of him. He delights in shocking “polite company” with various stunts (i.e. boiling animal skulls in the back yard and throwing live bobcats into the living room) and my enjoyment of Lawson’s memoir seemed to ebb and flow in direct proportion to the presence or absence of Papa Lawson. I wanted to meet the guy!

Sadly, as the book goes on, Lawson focuses more on her adult life and Papa Lawson plays less of a role. This is where things fell off the rails for me. She struggles with anxiety (particularly social) and this comes through in her writing…I got anxious and exhausted just reading her thoughts! She often goes off on tangents that are completely unrelated to her story and I found it difficult to stay focused. By the time she returned to the story from a given tangent, I just didn’t care anymore…and, that’s if I remembered the original story in the first place. I think her writing style and sense of humor probably lend themselves very well to a blog and Twitter (i.e. read in small snippets), but is just too overwhelming for a full length book.

The good parts of this book are extremely funny, but there just weren’t enough of them to overcome the scattered story-telling style.

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  1. Diane@BibliophilebytheSea wrote:

    Loved the cover from the first time I saw this one –sounds fun Sarah

    Posted 6.19.14 Reply
  2. I didn’t care for this book either. After a while, I felt like she was just trying to see how many times she could get away with talking about her anatomy. Like the story where she & her husband went to the costume party dressed as cheerleaders and she didn’t wear underwear – was she trying to create drama or what?

    Posted 6.20.14 Reply
    • admin wrote:

      And how many times she could drop the F bomb! I wonder if she got to a point in hr blogging life where she would purposely do outrageous things just to create good stories for her blog?

      Posted 6.21.14 Reply
  3. I listened to this one on audio a couple of years ago and had similar feelings. There were parts I enjoyed – but there was a lot I didn’t as well.

    Posted 6.20.14 Reply
    • admin wrote:

      I think I would have loved it had she stuck to her childhood stories…those truly were unique, hilarious, and had the great character of Papa Lawson. I just found the adult ones tiresome…

      Posted 6.21.14 Reply

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