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Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir

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For fans of Tina Fey and David Sedaris—Internet star Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, makes her literary debut.   Jenny Lawson realized that the most mortifying moments of our lives—the ones we’d like to pretend never happened—are in fact the ones that define us. In the #1 New York Times bestseller, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, Lawson takes readers on a hilarious jour For fans of Tina Fey and David Sedaris—Internet star Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, makes her literary debut.   Jenny Lawson realized that the most mortifying moments of our lives—the ones we’d like to pretend never happened—are in fact the ones that define us. In the #1 New York Times bestseller, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, Lawson takes readers on a hilarious journey recalling her bizarre upbringing in rural Texas, her devastatingly awkward high school years, and her relationship with her long-suffering husband, Victor. Chapters include: “Stanley the Magical, Talking Squirrel”; “A Series of Angry Post-It Notes to My Husband”; “My Vagina Is Fine. Thanks for Asking”; “And Then I Snuck a Dead Cuban Alligator on an Airplane.” Pictures with captions (no one would believe these things without proof) accompany the text.

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30 review for Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Lawson

    I wrote this book so I think I'm required to like it. But I'd like it even if someone else wrote it. Although if they did I'd sue them for stealing my life story. How confusing. Much like the book.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Grace

    If you're looking for a Sedaris alternative, this unfortunately isn't it. Which kills me, because I get the feeling Lawson had the potential (and raw material) to knock it out of the park, but it just doesn't come together. Jenny Lawson is definitely funny. When she really gets going on a story, it's pretty fantastic - but that's only 10% of the book, and the remaining 90% is just awful. I can't help feeling like this book was all written in a single sitting, with little editing or review. It's u If you're looking for a Sedaris alternative, this unfortunately isn't it. Which kills me, because I get the feeling Lawson had the potential (and raw material) to knock it out of the park, but it just doesn't come together. Jenny Lawson is definitely funny. When she really gets going on a story, it's pretty fantastic - but that's only 10% of the book, and the remaining 90% is just awful. I can't help feeling like this book was all written in a single sitting, with little editing or review. It's uneven, it's all over the place, and some chapters feel like pure filler - I don't need pages of imaginary post-its written to her husband Victor, for instance. There are lots of places where I think we're just supposed to enjoy Lawson's rapid-fire babble, but it's not babble with meaning to it, it's just nonsense. And that's a shame, because it means the only reason I keep reading is because I'm waiting for another story like the turkeys to show up, and instead I get very tiny moments like the bobcat toss. It's like Lawson forced herself into writing a memoir when she really excels at writing moments. Drawback being, crafting an entire book of curated, arranged moments takes a hell of a lot of concentration and effort, while stream-of-consciousness nonsense is relatively easier.* I could do without the footnotes, which are just irritating - it is hard to explain how badly footnotes work on a Kindle, but between this book and Jasper Fforde I think I could make a compelling case. I could do without the editor's parentheticals (which weirdly are sometimes also footnotes). I could do without the long-winded flourishes that loop back in on themselves when talking about absolute rubbish. And that all sucks, because Lawson's childhood sounds enjoyably nuts. When she actually stitches a story together, one with multiple events and a timeline, it's HILARIOUS. But all too often, she's just throwing the punchline in there without much else. In the end, I guess this is where I end up with LPTNH: weird shit happens to everyone, but few people know how to structure the story in a way that legitimately entertains. Lawson knows how to structure a story, she's just not choosing to do it most of the time. Also, people are very capable of acting like crazy insane people quite frequently - if you sound too pleased with how wild and crazy you are and keep thumping on about it, it can get REALLY ANNOYING. * I do recognize that Lawson also writes about her general anxiety disorder, and she explains that she finds herself almost incoherent in social situations and is much better on email, when she can edit. But given that this is a book, it feels like a lot of the narrative flailing could have been avoided through editing. We definitely get a good grasp of what it's like to be inside Lawson's head, but she finds her condition exhausting and for a whole book, so did I.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Patrick

    First, I should mention that I listened to this one on audiobook. Didn't read the text version. Second, the audio version is read by the author. I think Jenny did a nice job with it, too. If you're used to nothing but professional audiobook narrators, there might be a few verbal ticks in here that might bug you. But me? For an autobiographical work like this? I'd much rather hear it in the author's own voice. Third, she got some actual laughs out of me. Not just amusement or smiles. Not just chu First, I should mention that I listened to this one on audiobook. Didn't read the text version. Second, the audio version is read by the author. I think Jenny did a nice job with it, too. If you're used to nothing but professional audiobook narrators, there might be a few verbal ticks in here that might bug you. But me? For an autobiographical work like this? I'd much rather hear it in the author's own voice. Third, she got some actual laughs out of me. Not just amusement or smiles. Not just chuckles. Real laughs. I was driving around in my car, alone, laughing like a madman. Fourth, several times I sat in the car after I'd finished whatever trip I was taking just to continue listening to the audiobook. Fifth, driving around, listening to this audiobook, I missed the proper turnoff several times. I didn't mind much, because turning around and driving back the right way gave me more time to listen to the book. Sixth, she made me cry reading this. Three times. Now admittedly, I seem to be rather soppy lately. But even given my recent emotional fragility, that's a mark of good writing some good writing. Seventh, the stories Jenny Lawson tells are, in turns: crushingly honest, funny, witty, sweet, heartbreaking, and delightfully bizarre. Lastly, I'd like to say that while I've read some of Jenny's blog, and I know of her considerably fame as The Bloggess, I didn't pick this book up because I was a fan. I bought this audiobook audio because I like her, and I've heard people say good things about it. After listening to it? Yeah. Now I'm a fan.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jeanette "Astute Crabbist"

    Skull and crossbones on this one if you're easily offended. So no whiners, okay? I mean it. Just....no whining. This is the most hilarious vagina memoir ever written. Okay, so technically it's not just about vaginas, but she mentions hers more often than anyone I've ever known who actually owns one. And besides, I had to throw that out there right at the start, so if you're going to get all upset you can just get it overwith and stay. away. from. the. book. Should you choose to read it anyway, d Skull and crossbones on this one if you're easily offended. So no whiners, okay? I mean it. Just....no whining. This is the most hilarious vagina memoir ever written. Okay, so technically it's not just about vaginas, but she mentions hers more often than anyone I've ever known who actually owns one. And besides, I had to throw that out there right at the start, so if you're going to get all upset you can just get it overwith and stay. away. from. the. book. Should you choose to read it anyway, don't come back to me all complainy about how crass she is. Oh, and also? This book is not suitable for people who dislike frequent interjections of words beginning with "f" and ending with "u-c-k." And I mean with no letters in between the "f" and the "u-c-k," so "firetruck" doesn't count. So just to be clear: To my knowledge there is no use of the word "firetruck" in this memoir. You've been warned. NB: Jenny's dad is a taxidermist, so there are also a lot of dead animals in this memoir. But there are some adorable live ones, too. Especially if you like robertcats. (I know, most people call them bobcats, but I prefer to use robertcat until we get to know each other better.) So be impressed. This book is chock full of curse words, and I managed to write my review without officially using any of them.

  5. 4 out of 5

    karen

    **edited...with content!** watch your fucking back, sloane crosley...this lady is funny-funny, not "boys tell me i am funny at parties because i am pretty" funny. i am so glad that kelly read this before me and it encouraged me to pick up my ARC and get into it far earlier than i ordinarily would have. BUT NOT EARLIER THAN I WOULD HAVE HAD I ACTUALLY WON THIS THROUGH THE FIRSTREADS PROGRAM, WHICH IS HOW THIS SHOULD HAVE GONE DOWN, GOODREADS!STOP WITH THE SNUBBING ALREADY! i had never heard of jenny **edited...with content!** watch your fucking back, sloane crosley...this lady is funny-funny, not "boys tell me i am funny at parties because i am pretty" funny. i am so glad that kelly read this before me and it encouraged me to pick up my ARC and get into it far earlier than i ordinarily would have. BUT NOT EARLIER THAN I WOULD HAVE HAD I ACTUALLY WON THIS THROUGH THE FIRSTREADS PROGRAM, WHICH IS HOW THIS SHOULD HAVE GONE DOWN, GOODREADS!STOP WITH THE SNUBBING ALREADY! i had never heard of jenny lawson before, but now i can't stop thinking about her. in a non-creepy way. i think. it's hard for me to gauge my own creepiness when "enthusiastic" can often come across as "creepy." i am pretty sure i am just enthusiastic. and it wasn't love at first sight. there were a couple of things in the introduction and first essay that made me wince and hope that some of the "look how hard i am trying!!" missteps would be toned down before publication. i have no way of knowing whether they were. well, i do, but i am lazy. but there were still some genuinely funny moments, and i was on board as she recounted episodes from her childhood with her well-meaning taxidermist father and the...gifts and ...surprises... he would supply for her and her sister. oh, dear. i mean, a lot of the stories sound wonderful and magical like having goats and porcupines and raccoons just hanging out inside the house, wandering around, but for every story featuring a raccoon in jams, there is a story about accidentally running face-first into the carcass of a deer being hosed down in the backyard. and vomiting. inside the carcass of the deer. there's no way to come back from that, really. i love the fights she has with her long-suffering husband, i love her love of tiny taxidermied animals in period clothing, i love her habit of uncontrollably telling inappropriate stories and lies when cornered at dinner parties, i hate all the deadly things that surround her texas home... except the foxes. greg will like that story. i love that i laughed so loud and hard at portions of this book that i had to be checked on because "i thought you were screaming." i was totally screaming. and i wet myself a little, too. it was that good. i love that she curses as much as i do. and talks about her vagina frequently. in many ways, we are the saaaaaame. we should get a drink together. wait, is that creepy? whatever. not a perfect book, no, but a book i liked enough that i am going to buy the hardcover because this ARC has blurry pictures that you can barely read the funny captions on, and the hardcover has these amaaazing patterned endpapers with pictures of animals on them. i love it. and i am waiting for the second book. call me, jenny. let's taxidermify sloane crosley. that was definitely creepy. shit. okay, so i thought i should give you a sense of her lunacy even though you could just go to her blog and see it, and even though it is totally illegal for me to do so since i only have the ARC, but i am kind of banking on the hope that that is one of those mattress-tag laws and no one will actually come and arrest me, although i would love to see what book prison is like. this isn't one of the passages that made me scream-laugh, but i totally understand her concerns here, and i am frequently startled at the shit we think of.....i like this part mostly because of all the caps and italics and energy jumping off the page....i'll just throw you right into it: THIS IS JENNY LAWSON: also, i just want to say that i think when the doctor is stitching your vagina back up (for real, child-free people: stitching. your. vagina. up.), i don't know why they don't throw in some cosmetic surgery while they're down there, to make it look cuter. like, when my gynecologist told me that she'd probably have to cut my vagina, i was all, "YOU ARE A FUCKING PSYCHOPATH," and she was like, "not for fun [unspoken: "dumb-ass"]. to get the baby out." and i said, "oh. well' if you're going to have to scar me, could you do it in some kind of kick-ass shape? like, how about a lightning bolt?" and she just stared at me, so i explained, "you know...like harry potter's?" then she just looked at me like i shit on the floor, and i thought maybe it was because the sentence structure kind of implied i was referring to harry potter's vagina, and so i clarified: "but not on my forehead like his was." and she still didn't respond, so i pointed down and said, "on my vagina" then she shook her head like she'd know all along i wasn't referring to harry potter's vagina, and said, "uh, we don't really do that. in fact, we prefer for you to tear naturally, because it heals better," and i'm all, "MOTHER. FUCKER. are you fucking serious??" and i kind of suspected she was just making that up because she didn't want me to have a nicer vagina than hers, because she's never had a kid and so hers was probably all perfect and cheerful, and she probably didn't want me rubbing my vagina in her face when it was all lightning-bolt awesome. like i would ever even do that, dr. ryder. i would never rub my vagina in someone's face, even though it would be the most badass vagina in the world. and whenever i have menstrual cramps i could just pretend that voldemort was close. come to my blog!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Diane

    JENNY LAWSON ATTACKED ME WITH A MACHETE!! OK, so I have never met Jenny Lawson, and she didn't attack me with an actual machete, but I'm being metaphorical here, y'all. Because reading Jenny Lawson's book made me feel as if I were being beaten with some kind of weapon, and it may as well have been a machete. Which is a word she uses in her book. She also likes the words chupacabra and vagina. And numerous swear words. She also likes postscripts. Lots of them. But back to the machete. I opened my re JENNY LAWSON ATTACKED ME WITH A MACHETE!! OK, so I have never met Jenny Lawson, and she didn't attack me with an actual machete, but I'm being metaphorical here, y'all. Because reading Jenny Lawson's book made me feel as if I were being beaten with some kind of weapon, and it may as well have been a machete. Which is a word she uses in her book. She also likes the words chupacabra and vagina. And numerous swear words. She also likes postscripts. Lots of them. But back to the machete. I opened my review this way to demonstrate how Jenny has written her memoir. She will say something totally exaggerated and in a hysterical voice, and then she tells a 30-minute story, after which you realize the thing that actually happened has nothing to do with what she claimed happened. For example, when Jenny says: "I was attacked by a bear last night!" What she really means is: "I saw a stray cat by the pool." When Jenny says: "I was mauled by a pack of wild dogs!" What she means is: "The neighbor's pet was excited to see me." When Jenny says: "I was stabbed in the face by a serial killer!" She means: "The cat sat on my head while I was asleep." Halfway through the book, I realized Jenny Lawson is a fabulist and a narcissist. Put another way, Jenny Lawson is a very successful blogger. I think the terms have become interchangeable. Here is a quote from one of Jenny's chapters, in which she shares ridiculous and inappropriate emails to a coworker that she never actually sent: It is exhausting being me. Yes, Jenny, I understand that. I was exhausted just reading your book. At this point I need to clarify, as Jenny often does after she has made an absurd statement, that there are some funny stories here. Jenny had a wackadoo childhood in rural Texas, and her dad liked to drag dead animals home and scare her in the middle of the night. But after about 50 pages I recognized the template of her storytelling, and the repetitiveness of it wore me down. I considered abandoning the book, but so many friends had liked it that I wanted to push through. A few stories are quieter than the rest, such as when her beloved dog died, or when she relates her struggles with anxiety and depression, but there is always an undercurrent of mania. Most of the book is exaggerated fluff, which is fine for a blog, but I don't need it in book form.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Katie Mercer

    Basically the best review I can give this book, is that as a librarian I'm pretty much giddy with excitement waiting for the things people will come tell me after they've read this book. From the (boring) I loved that it was an honest look at mental illness and survival (very true) to the (no seriously I can not wait) YOU LET MY CHILD READ THIS AND NOW THEY WANT A DEAD SQUIRREL PUPPET and THIS BOOK IS BLASPHEMY AND READING IT KILLS PUPPIES AND KITTENS. I pretty much giggled in excitement when I w Basically the best review I can give this book, is that as a librarian I'm pretty much giddy with excitement waiting for the things people will come tell me after they've read this book. From the (boring) I loved that it was an honest look at mental illness and survival (very true) to the (no seriously I can not wait) YOU LET MY CHILD READ THIS AND NOW THEY WANT A DEAD SQUIRREL PUPPET and THIS BOOK IS BLASPHEMY AND READING IT KILLS PUPPIES AND KITTENS. I pretty much giggled in excitement when I won the advance copy, and then waited not really patiently to get my copy and then it came and I was away and that basically destroyed me and there was a 3 day long emotional trauma period. Anyways. I finally got to my copy and it was everything I wanted it to be. Heart-breakingly (also, it tries to auto-correct breakingly to lawbreaking. Fitting) wonderful, actually laugh out loud funny (not just LOL'd) and hands down one of my favourite memoirs and books out there. Go. Buy it. As soon as you can. I might buy it again so I can see the pictures. But then, I kind of loved that they were blurry. But I'm weird. http://vivalakt.blogspot.ca/

  8. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    Overall Rating: 1.5 I don’t know if it’s specifically American problem, but let me tell you, this is one of the worst memoirs I’ve read. (Seriously America, do you honestly find this funny? O.o) And I’ll tell you why, I’m not just saying this because of some misplaced sense of spite, ok? When I first heard about this book, I was very excited – it sounded like a real good reading material and it had an awesome cover to boost with too. From the very beginning though, I realized it would be far from t Overall Rating: 1.5 I don’t know if it’s specifically American problem, but let me tell you, this is one of the worst memoirs I’ve read. (Seriously America, do you honestly find this funny? O.o) And I’ll tell you why, I’m not just saying this because of some misplaced sense of spite, ok? When I first heard about this book, I was very excited – it sounded like a real good reading material and it had an awesome cover to boost with too. From the very beginning though, I realized it would be far from the book I expected. I have no idea who this individual(Jenny Lawson) is, but the whole book was one big mess, full of stories that were meant to be funny and unique (but were neither). Every single story felt forced and exaggerated. The author couldn’t stop herself from constantly reminding and insisting her childhood was unique and that she’s gone through SO MUCH and so on and so on… Well, be sure it’s not. Maybe for someone living in modern America it’s rarity to have to collect water in a cistern or to have wild animals for pets, etc, etc. But for the rest of the world it’s daily occurrences. The only thing that this book makes me want is to slap the oh, so great nation of “liberty” and shout “GET YOURSELF TOGETHER FOR FUCK’S SAKE! YOU HAVE IT BETTER THAN SO MANY PEOPLE, AND STILL YOU ONLY WHINE!”

  9. 5 out of 5

    J.L. Sutton

    I read lots of memoirs, but something about Jenny Lawson’s Let’s Pretend this Never Happened was different. REALLY DIFFERENT! It’s not just the messed up lives thing which seems to be a prerequisite for memoir writers. In case you were wondering, though, dysfunctionality thrives in this book. And there is definitely no calm voice of reason beating it back. This dysfunctionality and the bizarre way it manifests energizes Lawson. How Lawson faces this reality, a really skewed and messed up version I read lots of memoirs, but something about Jenny Lawson’s Let’s Pretend this Never Happened was different. REALLY DIFFERENT! It’s not just the messed up lives thing which seems to be a prerequisite for memoir writers. In case you were wondering, though, dysfunctionality thrives in this book. And there is definitely no calm voice of reason beating it back. This dysfunctionality and the bizarre way it manifests energizes Lawson. How Lawson faces this reality, a really skewed and messed up version of reality (but probably the one we’re all in denial about) quickly approaches and passes warped! I’ve seen the book described as profanity-laced stream of consciousness, but there are zany and very memorable stories mixed in with her (there’s a squirrel) more distracted moments. It was entertaining to have a glimpse of this world. Good read!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Trudi

    Jenny Lawson (aka The Bloggess) is seriously effed up, and that doesn't always equate with being seriously bleeping funny but in her case, this book will S-L-A-Y you. I laughed so hard in parts I shed tears (and a little pee I think). Just sayin'. For anyone out there with some incontinence issues already. Her frantic, stream-of-consciousness delivery (though punctuated with gems of insane hilarity) can get exhausting. Sometimes you just want to scream, "Jenny, will you just shut the *&%@# u Jenny Lawson (aka The Bloggess) is seriously effed up, and that doesn't always equate with being seriously bleeping funny but in her case, this book will S-L-A-Y you. I laughed so hard in parts I shed tears (and a little pee I think). Just sayin'. For anyone out there with some incontinence issues already. Her frantic, stream-of-consciousness delivery (though punctuated with gems of insane hilarity) can get exhausting. Sometimes you just want to scream, "Jenny, will you just shut the *&%@# up already!" -- imagine being stuck in an elevator with a coked up Robin Williams who just also happens to be sipping on a Red Bull laced with vodka. As horrible as that sounds, Jenny Lawson makes it work. Despite her frantic crazy energy, she will make you laugh your ass off, teach you how to curse like a sailor (that woman loves to let the expletives fly), force you to appreciate all of life's absurdities, face tragedy with (enough) dignity, and be grateful for every single blessing that you have. She also taught me that the most interesting person in the room is probably the one hiding under the table (or in the bathroom) hyperventilating. Only stupid people aren't locked and loaded for the zombie apocalypse (well d'uh, that one I knew already). That chupacabras are REAL. That people who tell you that acupuncture is painless are "complete fucking liars." And most important of all, Texas may be big and beautiful and have awesome BBQ, but it's also where all the bitey, stinging things live. Today the exterminator came out to spray for scorpions again, and he left a note saying that he found an enormous snakeskin next to our house. Then I screamed, "EVERYTHING IN THE COUNTRY WANTS TO KILL YOU," and Victor told me to go lie down. But then I went to look at the snakeskin, and I was all, "This is a used paper towel." Then Victor said, "Dude. That's totally a snakeskin that's been shed. Look at the diamond scale pattern," and I was all, "That's a textured diamond weave to absorb more wetness. You can tell it's a paper towel because snakeskins aren't square. Or perforated." And I spread it out on the ground and then he was all, "Huh. That is a fucking paper towel. I think we need a new exterminator." We're probably not going to survive the year.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Maria Guzman

    I think there might be something wrong with my sense of humor. I tried to read this book but it's not making me laugh. In fact, it's making me annoyed. It reminds me of a whiny nagger who is all about "me". Oh right, it's a memoir. Anyway, I jumped to some of the chapters to see if I missed anything funny but it was all the same. I'm giving away my copy in the hope that someone may find it funny and not completely waste the tree that this book was printed on.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jaime Brown

    I’m not sure what I enjoyed more about this book. The actual laughing to tears moments while reading or the actual laughing to tears moments while retelling the stories to my boyfriend (who kept mentioning that he and Victor have a lot in common). It says a great deal about Jenny Lawson (of blogging fame) that at 38, she was able to write a 300+ page memoir that is interesting to read. Interesting, not because she is a celebrity or has boinked a celebrity, but because she has lived a strange lif I’m not sure what I enjoyed more about this book. The actual laughing to tears moments while reading or the actual laughing to tears moments while retelling the stories to my boyfriend (who kept mentioning that he and Victor have a lot in common). It says a great deal about Jenny Lawson (of blogging fame) that at 38, she was able to write a 300+ page memoir that is interesting to read. Interesting, not because she is a celebrity or has boinked a celebrity, but because she has lived a strange life and has maintained a good attitude about that life. As Lawson mentions in her prologue, “you are defined, not by life’s imperfect moments, but by your reaction to them.” This sets the tone for the book. Lawson could have written a book about her parent’s questionable child-rearing skills. She could have written a book about tearful issues with fertility. Instead, Lawson wrote a story that holds dark aspects but is told in a lighthearted manner. Lawson is able to play the role of an unreliable narrator with grace. I’m not sure whether she truly believes in what she says or if she says she believes as such for laughs. Either way, it works for me. My only disappointment was at the end of the book, when I had turned the last page. I did not want this trip into the mind of Lawson to be over, I wanted to stay in her world for just a bit more. Luck for us, Lawson blogs about her life so that we can have a taste to keep us happy until her next book. I would recommend this book … to people with a dark sense of humor who do not mind stories coming from a lady with the mouth of a trucker. Well, if a trucker and a sailor had a baby, that baby would be Jenny Lawson. My favorite quote … “My God, this is going to be a terrible book.”

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ariana

    i heard an interview with jenny lawson on npr and she was really interesting. i had read some of her blog and it was funny, so i got the book it's fun, and quite funny, but when someone moves from blog form to a published book, i expect the text to be more polished and streamlined. instead, this book reads like it comes directly from her blog with no editing, clearly there was an editor since she quotes the editor in the text, but it still doesn't read like there was one. anyway, it's worth a glanc i heard an interview with jenny lawson on npr and she was really interesting. i had read some of her blog and it was funny, so i got the book it's fun, and quite funny, but when someone moves from blog form to a published book, i expect the text to be more polished and streamlined. instead, this book reads like it comes directly from her blog with no editing, clearly there was an editor since she quotes the editor in the text, but it still doesn't read like there was one. anyway, it's worth a glance but i'd skip paying for it and just read her blog instead Also: comparing this text to David Sedaris in the book's main page is just silly. David can go from hysterically funny to heart touching with infinite ease. Lawson tries to do this, but ends up just making the sad things less moving than they should be. Merged review: I wanted to love this book soooooooooo much Jenny is a truly funny person, and her writing is decent, but the book felt like she took her blog and plopped it in a book. there were some things, like quoting her editor, that she clearly did for the comic value, but to my eye it just looked lazy i enjoyed some of her stories, but if i had to do it again i'd rent the book from the library instead of buying it

  14. 4 out of 5

    Josie

    When Jenny Lawson relates a childhood story she's funny and engaging...but so far, that's only occurred for about 10% of her writing in this book. The other 90% I've read is just terrible. The parenthetical ramblings and anxious Turrets-style outbursts quickly get old, and they distract from some of the really funny and entertaining bits. Everything is "totally" or "basically" life-threatening or she's stabbing or kicking someone in the balls "in her head." Her nervous, panicky breakdowns feel l When Jenny Lawson relates a childhood story she's funny and engaging...but so far, that's only occurred for about 10% of her writing in this book. The other 90% I've read is just terrible. The parenthetical ramblings and anxious Turrets-style outbursts quickly get old, and they distract from some of the really funny and entertaining bits. Everything is "totally" or "basically" life-threatening or she's stabbing or kicking someone in the balls "in her head." Her nervous, panicky breakdowns feel like an act -- an act that has gotten her laughs in the past, so she leans on it rather than exploring her more genuine writing talents. Her constant arguments with her husband are particularly tiresome -- they're like that one couple everyone knows who like to argue in front of other people, playing up the theatrics of their exasperating roles. I'm 70% through the Kindle version, and I don't think I can continue. But, I'm giving two stars because, hidden in the muck, there are a few gems here. This is one in a slew of recent books that many friends have rated highly, where I'm left clueless after reading. Is it me?

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Spoer

    One of the perks at working at a large chain bookstore are the free Advanced Reader's Copies of future books. But I guess one really can't get an Advance Reader's Copy of a book that came out in the past. Although, strangely enough I've seen it happen. But I think it's because the store mail got lost. So I got this book for free. Which was awesome. Because when it finally comes out for reals, I'll think, HOLY CRAP I KNOW WHAT I'M GETTING! and totally buy it for like $45 minus my other perk of a One of the perks at working at a large chain bookstore are the free Advanced Reader's Copies of future books. But I guess one really can't get an Advance Reader's Copy of a book that came out in the past. Although, strangely enough I've seen it happen. But I think it's because the store mail got lost. So I got this book for free. Which was awesome. Because when it finally comes out for reals, I'll think, HOLY CRAP I KNOW WHAT I'M GETTING! and totally buy it for like $45 minus my other perk of a employee discount. It's like going used car shopping, but already knowing how awesome what you're gonna be bringing home is. I've also never read anything that made me laugh as much as this book did. I'd be reading on my lunch break and someone would be talking about that jerk customer or how that kid just threw up in the children's department and I'd be giggling hysterically over a big giant metal chicken. Although, seeing how my coworkers know me, they probably didn't think twice about asking why I was giggling. But more like how could I have fit a big metal chicken in my car. Because it wouldn't fit. Not even if I put my back seat down. Basically, it's like Jenny Lawson was secretly my mother. Which would be hard cause I'm almost 30 and she would have to had me when she was like 4 or 5 or something and even though she lives in the south I'm sure that's frowned upon. (sorry southerners) So yeah. It's like WE SHARE THE SAME HEAD. only she's from the south and I'm from Jersey. But it's creepy. Because I don't get paid to blog cause I don't really blog and I'm not that funny. But really. It's like laughing at all the things that go through my head, only it's someone else's. Also, I hope everyone who reads this review appreciates my 'zombie' and 'apocalyptic' tags. Because if you don't, you won't enjoy this book. EDIT: I AM GOING TO SEE JENNY LAWSON ON TUESDAY!!!!! SHE'S GONNA BE AT THE PARAMUS STORE!!!! EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

  16. 4 out of 5

    Carol.

    Oh, Jenny. There is something so completely... extravagant  [ik-strav-uh-guhnt] Part of Speech: adjective Definition: exceeding the bounds of reason, as actions, demands, opinions, or passions. Synonyms: absurd, bizarre, crazy, exaggerated, excessive, exorbitant, extreme, fanciful, fantastic, flamboyant, flashy, foolish, grandiose, immoderate, implausible, improvident, imprudent, inordinate, lavish, ludicrous, nonsensical, ornate, outrageous, preposterous, pretentious, prodigal, profligate, reckless Oh, Jenny. There is something so completely... extravagant  [ik-strav-uh-guhnt] Part of Speech: adjective Definition: exceeding the bounds of reason, as actions, demands, opinions, or passions. Synonyms: absurd, bizarre, crazy, exaggerated, excessive, exorbitant, extreme, fanciful, fantastic, flamboyant, flashy, foolish, grandiose, immoderate, implausible, improvident, imprudent, inordinate, lavish, ludicrous, nonsensical, ornate, outrageous, preposterous, pretentious, prodigal, profligate, reckless, ridiculous, showy, silly, unbalanced, unrestrained. about this (mostly true) memoir. That about sums it up. ****************************************************** Notes on the audiobook: One, it's rather adorable, as she is the reader. Her attempting to verbally describe pictures and footnotes that would be in the book version cracked me up, leaving me wondering if I should read the written book just to compare. Two, Jenny shines at non-sequitur chains of ideas, at capturing a conversational tone in her writing, and at appreciating oddity. For me, she is at her best when capturing a 'funny-but-odd' situation, segueing into nutty metaphors and bringing it back to the odd situation. A perfect example is her description of a childhood horror that resulted from her father cleaning a deer. She amusingly sets the scene, then tangents off on an aside for "sensitive PETA members" on what "cleaning a deer" means: "You get some warm water, and some tearless shampoo, and you gently massage the deer. Lather, rinse, but don't repeat even though the bottle says to, because that's just a ploy to sell more shampoo, blow dry on low heat and hot-glue a bow on his forehead. Send him back into the woods to meet a nice Jewish doe. Go to the next chapter." She then shares what really cleaning a deer means for "curious, non-judgmental readers"--and it apparently involves the "poop rope," the first time I've been privileged to hear that "French" expression despite having a deer hunter father as well. Once that is finished she returns to the truly horrible experience of running into the hanging carcass. And throwing up. And her father's version of the "Grizzly Adams five-second rule." Likewise, "bonus" chapter titled "Balls" was a delight, and perfectly captures oddball humor and the even odder people around her. She balances the laughs created by her naivate, the ridiculous extrapolation of a situation (think tongue-on-ice and short-shorts) and compassionate (their vengeful Sno-cone fund-raiser). Two-point-five:: It doesn't happen often, but occasionally there are sound effects accompanying the audio. The knife sharpening in the deer section was a sinister touch. Two-point-seven-five: She sings the chapter titles. It is truly an ear-cringing experience. Three, I suggest numerous listening/reading breaks. She is overwhelming, particularly in the section of the book that deals with her relationships. Funny as hell, but listen too long and I run the risk of diminishing returns from sheer exhaustion. Four--and this may be just me--but I found myself melancholic at times, particularly the chapter about the women bloggers' weekend, the section on her 'detoxification by laxatives,' the post-it exchanges with Victor, and the dog burial. Mental illness runs through the book and is rarely discussed openly, except in the chapter that she talks about her social anxiety, general anxiety disorder and panic attacks. There's a whole lot of sadness left out of a story about a miscarriage, and from her abridged explanation, a whole lot of crazy. The crazy is almost always played for laughs, and while I get smiling through the pain, appreciating uniqueness, holding one's head high, making lemonade, sharing the pain, etc., etc., I just don't know. It was a thin line that sometimes felt closer to laughing at someone with cancer than with them. (No, no one in the book had cancer. That's just my metaphorical way of saying laughing at mental illness' oddities is a lot like laughing at someone struggling with cancer. It can be all-consuming, can come endowed with lots of symptom baggage and can be a constant struggle. And they probably had about as much choice in the matter. So even if they play the clumps of hair falling out for laughs--and many people do--it still represents a whole lot of hurt behind the smile. And, now that I think about it, there is that same sense of trying to conceal the horror as I watch it happen). Five, for her sake and the sake of the millions living with mental health issues--because don't fool yourself, most people have a fissure that just takes the right experience to break it open--I hope she claims some political power and doesn't just settle for laughs. A wavering three-and-a-half stars. Cross posted at http://clsiewert.wordpress.com/2013/0...

  17. 4 out of 5

    Oriana

    I don't like David Sedaris. And I distrust "funny" books the same way I distrust sitcoms with laugh-tracks, because it's condescending and discourages thinking for yourself. I will not be coaxed into mindlessly laughing because there is a recorded track of a bunch of people (computers? robots?) mindlessly laughing. Good grief. So why did I buy this book? Well, because the Strand sells proofs for $2. I found this one, which I'd never heard of, thought it had a cool title, and then saw that the fro I don't like David Sedaris. And I distrust "funny" books the same way I distrust sitcoms with laugh-tracks, because it's condescending and discourages thinking for yourself. I will not be coaxed into mindlessly laughing because there is a recorded track of a bunch of people (computers? robots?) mindlessly laughing. Good grief. So why did I buy this book? Well, because the Strand sells proofs for $2. I found this one, which I'd never heard of, thought it had a cool title, and then saw that the front cover had been sort of vandalized: under the subtitle—(A Mostly True Memoir)—someone has pencilled in: About love Murder by Robert Verger and then the actual author's name is scribbled out. I thought that was absurd and hilariously great and totally worth $2. As for the book itself? Well, it turns out, as usual, that I was too knee-jerk-ily judgy: Jenny Lawson is fucking funny. Seriously funny. Like no-laugh-track-needed-goddammit funny. This is a terrific rundown of a crazy life—her dad is a taxidermist, her husband sort of voodooed her into marrying him, they live in rural rural rural Texas. But there's a lot of "normal," too—she works in HR, she is often lonely, she struggles with depression and weird pains, she is a misanthropist mostly and socially awkward to a spectacular degree, she is a mother who is terrified of being a mother. And but then there are also episodes like her dog turning into a zombie, the time she went to her husband's company party with no underwear on (a fact which did not escape public notice), a hunt for a hidden burial ground in her neighborhood, childhood anecdotes of her father surprising her with a hand-puppet made from a dead squirrel, wild geese following her to school, and having to artificially inseminate a cow, as well as a million preposterously hilarious conversations between her & her husband, who make up the most lunatic and outrageously perfect pair. This is actually the only time I have ever been sad to be reading a proof, because it seems the actual book is full of photographs of most of the above, whereas in the proof there are only image callouts in brackets. I had to google her to find out what she even looked like, which was when I (finally) learned that Jenny isn't some random discovery I made—she is a massively famous blogger, and most of the rest of the world already knows how hilarious and great she is. Which brings me to my final point. I was sort of planning to do a snarky editorial analysis of this book, as I often do. I was going to mention that the editing could have been a lot better, that she wavers in tone from super-casual to trying-too-hard-to-be-kind-of-formal, that there are many cases of the particular kind of repetitiveness that comes from lining up a bunch of short pieces that were originally written far apart from one another in both space and time. But then I read that this book is already on the New York Times bestseller list, and Jenny is already hugely popular among a certain set, and anyway like I said, this book is really really funny and fun and totally enjoyable. So maybe what the fuck do I know? Maybe I should take my editorial snobbery and just shove it up my own ass, because this book is great and people will love it and who cares if I think it could have been better. Who am I, anyway? I don't even know. Is this me giving up on literature? Or just finally accepting things as they clearly are and learning to stop bitching already and live with it? I didn't mean to get so woefully existential there. All I meant is: Jenny is super and you should stop reading this review and start reading this book.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Melki

    Yeah...I thought I had it weird growing up. Besides being the daughter of an atheist father and a religious nut-job mother, Mom was also what the humane society likes to call a "collector." (This is a polite way of saying "animal hoarder.") At any given time, we had a dozen dogs and cats (and I mean a dozen of EACH, not total!) living in the house. For years, I used the toilet with my mother's pet possum sleeping right beside me. Jenny Lawson had it worse than me, however. At least the animals i Yeah...I thought I had it weird growing up. Besides being the daughter of an atheist father and a religious nut-job mother, Mom was also what the humane society likes to call a "collector." (This is a polite way of saying "animal hoarder.") At any given time, we had a dozen dogs and cats (and I mean a dozen of EACH, not total!) living in the house. For years, I used the toilet with my mother's pet possum sleeping right beside me. Jenny Lawson had it worse than me, however. At least the animals in my house were alive...not bloody carcasses being used as ventriloquist dummies by my dad. Oh, and I never got MY arm stuck inside a cow's vagina. Things aren't quite as strange (or as funny) after Lawson grows up, gets married and has a kid. (Hell, even I managed to do those things...) It may seem that she and her husband spend an inordinate amount of time talking about zombies, rodents and chupacabras, but once you've been married for over ten years, there really is nothing else to talk about. My husband and I once had a conversation much like the one below, only I was the one unwilling to donate my organs...just in case, you know... JENNY: Why would you need them? (Your organs.)YOU'RE DEAD. VICTOR: What if I became a zombie? Huh, smart-ass? I'd be a pretty shitty zombie if they took my eyes out. I'd be biting poles and cats and shit. JENNY: So you're making a decision to not save someone's life on the off chance that it might be inconvenient if you turn into a less efficient zombie? VICTOR: It sounds stupid when you say it. Yup. That's married life. Hands down, my favorite chapter was Jenkins, You Mother****er. This one had very special meaning to me, as it entails the misadventures of Lawson and her father's herd of Wisconsin jumbo quail turkeys. Perhaps now would be the opportune time to mention that I left home not as everyone assumed, because I wanted to have sex with my boyfriend, but because my mother had started keeping a full-grown tom turkey in the kitchen and it attacked me every time I headed to the fridge for a Coke. So, high-five, Jenny Lawson. I know just where you're coming from.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Robin (Bridge Four)

    4.5 I Laughed So Hard I Peed a Little Stars Buddy read with some of my friends at Buddies Books and Baubles because after I read Beyonce the Chicken there was no way I was not going to read her book. Humor is a really subjective thing. Either something falls into stuff you think is funny or it doesn’t. Regretfully my hubs LOVEs Jackass type humor and all Will Ferrell movies. But for me that stuff is hit and miss. Either I love it or I roll my eyes at the ridiculousness of the entire thing. Jenny 4.5 I Laughed So Hard I Peed a Little Stars Buddy read with some of my friends at Buddies Books and Baubles because after I read Beyonce the Chicken there was no way I was not going to read her book. Humor is a really subjective thing. Either something falls into stuff you think is funny or it doesn’t. Regretfully my hubs LOVEs Jackass type humor and all Will Ferrell movies. But for me that stuff is hit and miss. Either I love it or I roll my eyes at the ridiculousness of the entire thing. Jenny Lawson is MY KIND OF FUNNY and I had the best time in her book. But is she going to be your kind of funny??? She will not be for everyone, so ask yourself these important questions: ① - Do you like to laugh? I totally love to laugh…I try to laugh at myself and others as much as possible. ② - Are you okay with some vulgar language like the use of f-bombs? It is totally okay with me. My motto is you can say it if it is funny. ③ - Are you comfortable with references to vaginas? I have a Ronald Reagan (you’ll get that if you listened to the audiobook) and I know what they do so again reference my answer to #2. ④ - Do you like humorous personal stories where some unexpected things happen, like a bobcat being thrown on you or a serial killer on the other side of the bathroom door tries to pass you a note? Well I do enjoy a good story with a serial killer in it and who doesn’t think an unexpected bobcat being thrown in someone’s lap is hilarious??? ⑤ - Do you like reading/listening to others peoples messed up lives that make you realize that “no, you are not that crazy or fucked up and by comparison you are the pinnacle of sanity”? YES, I love stories that make me laugh and realize that no matter what crazy things I’ve said or done I have never had my arm stuck in a cow vagina and therefor really life isn’t that bad. “no matter how shitty it got, I could always look back and say, “At least I don’t have my arm stuck up a cow’s vagina.” In fact, that’s kind of become my life’s motto. It’s also what I say when I’m at a loss for words when talking to people who are grieving the loss of their grandparents.” But seriously while some of the stories were semi-serious with a big dose of funny mixed in most of the chapters and stories where just down right laugh-out-loud funny Dear Victor: I wanted to feel sorry for you sometimes while reading this because that your wife can seem to go off the deep end. But then I thought about and realized that for all the crazy panic attacky/or inappropriate things that come out of her mouth she really must be incredibly fun to have in a day to day world and she probably keeps you on your toes. A few of my favorite moments from the book were the conversations you had together even if they were bickering or bantering they seemed mostly playful and fun. That said I side with Jenny on the Snake, the Metal Chicken and Couch Etiquette (who knew there was such a thing) but I’ll totally side with you on housework, the GPS and zombies. P.S. - I think Jenny’s first book is so much fun I plan to listen to it with my husband on our next road trip. P.P.S - If you can get both the print edition because it has some super funny pictures and the audio since Jenny is so funny while she reads her own book. But really if you chose just one I HIGHLY recommend the audio. P.P.P.S – Here are a few quotes from inside the book. Because seriously had I read some of these I probably would have read her book sooner. Or at least followed her blog. Family dynamics “The Dangerous Thesaurus of My Father.” An abridged version: “It’s very excited.” = “It has rabies.” “Now, don’t get too attached.” = “I got this monkey for free because it has a virus.” “Now, this is really interesting.” = “You’ll still have nightmares about this when you’re thirty.” High School Embarrassing Moments "And that’s how I ended up shoulder-deep in a cow’s vagina, squishing out the semen baster as a bunch of teenage boys looked on. It was the closest I’d ever come to doing porn. Falling in Love "I wanted to cheer him up, but it felt weird wanting to cheer up someone who was possibly depressed because they didn’t murder you correctly, and that’s when I thought, “This must be what love is. When you want to make it less difficult for someone to murder you.” And that’s when I realized that I was far too in love with him for my own good, and also that I probably needed therapy Having a Baby "Like, when my gynecologist told me that she’d probably have to cut my vagina, I was all, “YOU ARE A FUCKING PSYCHOPATH,” and she was like, “Not for fun [unspoken: “dumb-ass”]. To get the baby out.” And I said, “Oh. Well, if you’re going to have to scar me, could you do it in some kind of kick-ass shape? Like, how about a lightning bolt?” Meeting New People “I've found, though, that people are more likely to share their personal experiences if you go first, so that's why I always keep an eleven-point list of what went wrong in my childhood to share with them. Also I usually crack open a bottle of tequila to share with them, because alcohol makes me less nervous, and also because I'm from the South, and in Texas we offer drinks to strangers even when we're waiting in line at the liquor store. In Texas we call that '_southern hospitality_.' The people who own the liquor store call it 'shoplifting.' Probably because they're Yankees. I'm not allowed to go back to that liquor store.” Jenny’s Vagina “...I just want to clarify that I don't mean 'without my vagina' like I didn't have it with me at the time. I just mean that I wasn't, you know...displaying it while I was at Starbucks. That's probably understood, but I thought I should clarify, since it's the first chapter and you don't know that much about me. So just to clarify, I always have my vagina with me. It's like my American Express card. (In that I don't leave home without it. Not that I use it to buy stuff with.)” Overall - If you just need a good time and a good laugh than save this for then. There were so many wonderful moments in this and I loved the time I spent with Jenny and her myriad or misadventures and life’s learning experiences. I laughed so hard in some spots I might have peed a little.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lucie

    Wanna laugh? Read this book. 😄 Wonderfully unconventional and refreshing! Jenny Lawson shares stories of growing up in rural Texas, with a loving (albeit overly-enthusiastic) taxidermist for a father and a sister who grinned and bore it with her. Lawson writes about meeting her husband for the first time and seeing his confused looks as he becomes more and more familiar with the idiosyncrasies of her colorful family. She also shares her debilitating social anxiety, recounting funny "awkward moment Wanna laugh? Read this book. 😄 Wonderfully unconventional and refreshing! Jenny Lawson shares stories of growing up in rural Texas, with a loving (albeit overly-enthusiastic) taxidermist for a father and a sister who grinned and bore it with her. Lawson writes about meeting her husband for the first time and seeing his confused looks as he becomes more and more familiar with the idiosyncrasies of her colorful family. She also shares her debilitating social anxiety, recounting funny "awkward moment" stories from parties and social situations. They're hilarious but also touching. I suspect Lawson has always turned to comedy as a way to help alleviate her suffering... and all that practice has perfected her gift. This girl is FUNNY. More than that, this memoir makes you feel that all those little supposed 'weird' things that make you 'you' are really okay, awesome actually, and should be treasured. Be you, 'cause everyone else is already taken. 😊

  21. 4 out of 5

    Bry

    FUCKING BRILLIANT. Like seriously...fucking.brilliant. And hilarious. Like I nearly choked on a sandwich while eating my lunch at work hilarious. This book is the "mostly true" memoir of Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess who was a poor kid raised in West Texas with poisoned drinking water, a father who practices taxidermy in the backyard and collects bobcat urine, a younger sister who swam with her in a cistern that they shared with pigs, a mom that wrangled them all into a family, and a menagerie of FUCKING BRILLIANT. Like seriously...fucking.brilliant. And hilarious. Like I nearly choked on a sandwich while eating my lunch at work hilarious. This book is the "mostly true" memoir of Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess who was a poor kid raised in West Texas with poisoned drinking water, a father who practices taxidermy in the backyard and collects bobcat urine, a younger sister who swam with her in a cistern that they shared with pigs, a mom that wrangled them all into a family, and a menagerie of pets including racoons, goats, and turkeys. Oh and she might be just a tiny bit on the mental side. It covers mini vignettes of her life from childhood, through high school, marriage, and children, and each story is crazier than the last! Oh and the photos! Yes, there are pictures, and you all know you love a book with pictures. They totally complete the hilarious package of this book that includes insanely funny stories, a shitload of cursing and sarcasm, and TONS OF CAPITALIZED AND ITALICIZED TEXT! Seriously. Everyone should read this book. This poor woman has to deal with a ton of shit in her life, yet moves through it all with a witty comment (or severely awkward thought/realization/idea/story that shuts up everyone around her) and some really good prescription drugs. You want to read this book. You will love this book. You will laugh your ass off at this book. And then you will fucking thank me for telling you to read it...and you know what, you're welcome. **** One of my favorite lines (which I especially love because I am from Texas and my father owns 3 gun cabinets) - "In rural Texas pretty much everyone has a gun cabinet. Unless they're gay. Then they have gun armoires."

  22. 4 out of 5

    Christy Compeau

    This book is a laugh out loud, get yelled at by your husband because your silent laughter is shaking the bed too much, entertaining book. I've never read the author's blog but really enjoyed the book. The only detractor for me was the over use of the F-bomb. Granted, I was assured that this is just the way that the author talks so I wont complain too much but I could have done without the overuse. Read it!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Flannery

    Let's Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) is a collection of stories from the life of Jenny Lawson, who is also known as The Bloggess on her blog of the same name. I was somewhat familiar with Lawson from reading bits of her often irreverent blog posts and laughing my ass off. She talks about a whole range of topics from childbirth all the way to squirrel puppets. Anyone who knows me knows that I love a good story. I love telling them and I especially love hearing them. The more a Let's Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) is a collection of stories from the life of Jenny Lawson, who is also known as The Bloggess on her blog of the same name. I was somewhat familiar with Lawson from reading bits of her often irreverent blog posts and laughing my ass off. She talks about a whole range of topics from childbirth all the way to squirrel puppets. Anyone who knows me knows that I love a good story. I love telling them and I especially love hearing them. The more awkward or unbelievable the better. With the caveat that some of these stories are not about me, I tell random stories about puking on the Hoover Dam, making wax casts of vulvas, blacking out and waking up in the bed of a truck with no pants on, peeing in a sleeping bag, naming and caring for a bottle of mold, letting a homeless man sleep in the basement, and accosting people in a deviled egg costume. And you know what? People enjoy these stories. But you have to play to your audience, so a lot of the time I'm just sitting there, making small talk and shooting the breeze. This book is mostly a collection of the kinds of stories I love, but there are definitely moments, nay, entire chapters of more seriousness that reminded me that I was listening to a memoir and not an entirely humorous book. Lawson's book was actually our book club pick of the month and it received varied reactions. One of the most interesting points that a friend of mine brought up was that the book rubbed her the wrong way because it perpetuated society's promotion of the "neurotic woman." She cited a lot of reality television participants and their over-the-top personalities and how our need for entertainment has created the idea that doing seemingly outrageous things is now commonplace and acceptable. I'm not sure I agree with her wholly, but I do know that it may not apply to Lawson, as she discusses in the book her multiple psychological and physical diagnoses and how they affect her everyday life. However, the book does definitely straddle the line of funny and... I'm having a hard time picking a word here. Listen, we all have our things. We all have our pain, our loves, our worries, dreams, hopes, past, nightmares, (insert whatever here). Everyone's life is their own and no one can actually experience someone else's every thought. But at the same time, we are all human and no one is totally unlike every other person alive. We have commonalities with other people, even in terms of thought processes, so it annoys me when people make it seem like they are so unlike everybody else. Unique snowflakes? No. But it must be hard to try to write stories in the funniest way possible without sounding like a try-hard. A few times Lawson fails at this but she overwhelmingly succeeded for this particular reader. I am certain that many of Lawson's stories will stick with me for a long time and there are definitely some mental images that I wish I could erase from my mind. For example, she tells a story about turning around and walking straight inside a deer carcass by accident. Another about how her vagina felt after childbirth. And several dead animal stories. I'm not offended by most things, but I can see how this book would be too much for some people. However, Lawson addresses that in the very beginning of the book. You'll know after just a few pages whether or not you are on the same page as she is in terms of humor, and if you are, the book is consistently funny. You can check out her blog, her YouTube channel, or listen to a quick sound bite from NPR here to form your own opinion. (there is also an excerpt from the book on the NPR page) As I listened to the audiobook, which Lawson narrates, it was fun to hear her talk about the pictures in the book, but I did feel like I was missing out to an extent. Luckily for me (and you!), the official book trailer includes some of the pictures, including a raccoon in pajamas and an alligator on an airplane! Here's the book trailer As a narrator, I thought she was engaging and she is a natural storyteller. The audiobook is absolutely conversational, in a way that I haven't experienced before but which I enjoyed. (Flash to Home Alone when Macauley Culkin talks about washing inside his belly button.) She occasionally diverged from the book for a moment or two, but I think it added to the experience because she was forced to describe the omitted pictures and elaborate on what we were missing in audiobook format. A huge bonus to listening to the book is the bonus story and bloopers which are included at the end. Lawson recounts her first job at a sno-cone shack during the sweltering Texas summer and that awkward moment when someone touches a body part to ice and it gets stuck. And no, it isn't something as funny as the tongue scene in A Christmas Story. I told a guy the punchline of that story and his eyebrows almost shot up off his forehead. Jenny Lawson jokes about how she saved tons of stories for book two and I have no idea if she was joking or not, but I really hope she wasn't. I'd read that. I'd read it in a second. (or listen to it, as it were.) I'm giving away the copy of the audiobook I won myself from Lucy at The Reading Date. If you want to enter (US only, sorry), head over to The Readventurer.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Erica

    YOU: "Wait. Erica? You just read this book." ME: "Yes. I did." (Here's the review) YOU: "No, but I mean you JUST read this book. Like, two weeks ago." ME: "Wow! You're pretty observant. Why are you watching my Goodreads feed? You know, just out of curiosity...one stalker to another. That kinda thing." YOU: "What? You are SO weird. I wanted to know why you're listening to the audiobook if you just read the hardcover." ME: "You probably should have asked me that in the first place instead of stating an YOU: "Wait. Erica? You just read this book." ME: "Yes. I did." (Here's the review) YOU: "No, but I mean you JUST read this book. Like, two weeks ago." ME: "Wow! You're pretty observant. Why are you watching my Goodreads feed? You know, just out of curiosity...one stalker to another. That kinda thing." YOU: "What? You are SO weird. I wanted to know why you're listening to the audiobook if you just read the hardcover." ME: "You probably should have asked me that in the first place instead of stating an obvious fact. Right?" YOU: *sigh* "Yes. I should have done that. I see that now. I am going to not discuss this with you any further because you are a freakin' psychopath." ME: "Well, YOU are the one following my Goodreads feed, so...this is all your fault." You can tell I've been over-Bloggessed lately, can't you? Here's what happened: I put both the hardcover and the audiobook on hold at the library. The hardcover came to me first (both because I knew it was going to be published before we'd even ordered it so I demanded it be ordered and was rewarded with being one of the first people on hold for the title AND because the audiobook was delivered a week after the physical book). I thought about cancelling the audiobook hold but then thought it would be fun to hear Jenny (we've traded an e-mail or two and so I feel we're on a first-name basis now)(mostly because she never answered my question on what I should call her so I assumed she didn't care and I just use her first name but sometimes I use cutesy nicknames, too) read her own book so I kept the hold and it came in and I started listening to it but then I had to give it back but now I have it again and am finishing listening to it. Whew. Some main differences between the hardback and audiobook versions: 1) Um obviously one is read BY you and one is read TO you unless you had someone reading the hardback to you; 2) Jenny sings the titles of each chapter and this is at first weird but after about two chapters becomes hilarious. I'm not sure why, but it does; 3) The director/sound crew made some odd choices for soundtrack noises. On one hand, what were bullets in the book are now represented by the shotgun cocking noise, which is clever. On the other hand, there's a mish-mash of barnyard noises mixed with fantasy-esque harpish music. Sometimes there's twangy country music going (makes sense what with Texas being the setting, and all) and other times there are strange noises like a knife being sharpened (which was in context but really ought to not have been done) or watery sounds (to represent washing a deer with baby shampoo)(also should have been skipped). So this sometimes pleasant addition to the story, but more often distraction, is not part of the hardback experience (again, unless someone did all that for you while reading it aloud); 4) OH! The Library edition? The one repackaged by Midwest Tape? Well, it does NOT have Hamlet von Schnitzel on the cover! I guess Midwest couldn't secure the rights to the cover art or they have an aversion to Shakespearean mice because the cover of this edition is the top quarter of a brunette woman's head and her hair is in blue curlers. The woman in question is probably clip art; I'm pretty sure she's not Jenny. Alright, I finished listening to this last night on my long drive home. Now, before I continue, I would like to point out that yes, I realize I gave the hardcopy four stars. I really liked the book but I'm not going to sleep with it every night like it's a teddy bear or anything. However, I might do that with the audiobook and that's why it gets five stars. You can totally tell Jenny has a cold while reading this book; she goes all raspy at times and all her "ng"s come out as "nk"s, so "interesting" is "interestink" and it made me go, "Oooh...Jenny, you poor thing. Here, let's heat up some whiskey and dump it in a tumbler full of lemon and honey for you. And maybe some vanilla. And black pepper. And vodka. This will help, sweetie." So my heartstrings were tugged just by her mildly stuffed-up voice. But the clincher? There's a bonus chapter at the end of the audiobook that is not in the hardcover. It's pretty funny. It is not, however, as funny as the well-used end space of the last CD. You know how after the credits are spoken, there are sometimes ads for other books you might enjoy and then the disc ends? Yeah, well not this time. This time, it's Jenny rambling on like a nutcase. This worked for me for a number of reasons: 1) I hadn't been expecting to hear her come back on and just start talking, so that was a fun surprise; 2) Listening to her blathering on about random crap was a lot like having a friend on handsfree talking to me while I was driving, that's how conversational it was; 3) Because I was driving in the dark, I could totally pretend Jenny was not even on handsfree, but was sitting in the passenger seat having a normal conversation (because it totally sounded like a conversation that would happen in my car); 4) I now realize nothing is funnier than hearing "VUH-JYE-NUH!" yelled in a raspy voice when you're not expecting it (or the Spanish Inquisition); 5) This is not actually a reason I enjoyed this part of the CD - I had to pee because I was driving a long way and had just had some tea (not cat pee tea, which sounds like Cat PT which could be Physical Therapy for a cat unless CAT stood for something other than the feline) and I was laughing too hard, which hurt my bladder in a most tortuous fashion, and I was yelling, "STOP! JENNY! STOP!!!!" and I could have just turned off the CD but remember, I had come to believe she was in my passenger seat and the only way to stop her would have been to kick her out of the car and I don't think she's ever been to Colorado, so she'd get lost if I just left her on the side of the road, especially since her GPS is out to get her. Also, kicking people from your car because they are making you laugh too hard is sort of stupid. Besides, my ejector button broke years ago so it's not like I could have kicked her out anyway. The point here being, my ride home was far more uncomfortable than it would have been had I just plugged my iPod in and listened to music. I loved this CD. I just adored it. Only, I want to fire the sound engineers because SERIOUSLY, people, you HAVE to remember that sometimes readers will be listening to these audiobooks in their cars and they will be driving through busy intersections so it is a very terrible idea to put the sounds of honking traffic on the CD! That was a deplorable decision, sound engineers, and I would have your job for scaring the hell out of me like that if I could. And, again, the random and bizarre music, the random and bizarre sound effects...it's just poorly executed and after those blaring horns while I was in the intersection...well, I'd like to see those sound people poorly executed, too. Other than that, though - best audiobook ever. Pretty much. PS - hilarious (only to me) aside: Near the end of my drive, I came upon the Ronald Reagan Highway (don't ask) and she said Ronald Reagan just as I saw the sign that said Ronald Reagan Highway and that made me realized, "Huh. That now translates to Jenny Lawson's Vagina Highway. That girl's vagina gets around. And is really long. I am disturbed."

  25. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    This is the perfect book to read if you’re constipated, because the abdominal spasms caused by your hysterical laughter will have to create a bowel movement. This is also only the second book that has ever made me vomit. The first book was a History of Cannibalism. To be fair I was running on the elliptical, already a task for me, and I was doing fine until I flipped the page and there was a picture of HUMAN ARMS HANGING OVER A FIRE. I this point I gagged, and my gag reflux is such that I keep ga This is the perfect book to read if you’re constipated, because the abdominal spasms caused by your hysterical laughter will have to create a bowel movement. This is also only the second book that has ever made me vomit. The first book was a History of Cannibalism. To be fair I was running on the elliptical, already a task for me, and I was doing fine until I flipped the page and there was a picture of HUMAN ARMS HANGING OVER A FIRE. I this point I gagged, and my gag reflux is such that I keep gagging until I vomit a little. I gagged reading this book because I think it was my body’s last desperate attempt to get air back into my lung because I don’t think I'd breathed in the last ten minutes. And my eye was twitching like crazy. I had tears rolling down my face. My dogs were staring at me very concerned. Luckily I lived and was able to proceed past the introduction and on to chapter 1. Although, I may have internal bleeding. Worth it. Yes, it really is that fucking funny. Alternately it is very honest and touching. We all have our struggles, what makes us strong is our ability to laugh at them. Thankfully I do not suffer from depression like Jenny, but I do have anxiety (inherited from my mother, and her mother before her, and before that it was Vikings, and I doubt they were ever anxious about anything…), and I have very severe IBS. It’s not fun, but I get through it, because later I can laugh about it. It’s good to see other people doing the same. So cheers to Jenny! PS: In relation to the existence of water-breathing squirrels. Jenny, squirrels TOTALLY swim. You are right. Lewis and Clark actually documented it. Apparently there used to be giant squirrel migrations, and the squirrels would swim en masse across rivers to get to the other side. This is a fact. I can totally even find it for you in some very authoritative books. I thought you might want to point this out to Victor/friends/family et al. PPS: Snausages. PPS: My husband is disturbed by my new found love of crazy taxidermied animals. He blames you. I told him it’s not your fault, it’s totally his, for having grown up on a farm and not introducing me to the fact that THESE THINGS EXIST. I mean, really, who doesn’t want a bandito squirrel. We have all black squirrels where I grew up, they’re pitch black, apparently Iowa and Nebraska is the only place where this happens. I said I wanted a black bandito squirrel. He said that it was racist. I said he was racist for assuming it was racist, and that all black squirrels are alike. Also, wtf spell check, taxidermied is TOTALLY a word. Ok, looked in the dictionary, it’s not. But that’s just stupid.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kanupriya

    I love humorous memoirs. Fictitious ones like Bridget Jones's Diary or factual like BossyPants, involve me in the protagonists' journey through laughter and tears with subtle humor, honesty and a lot left to the imagination. And that is where the problem with this book lies: the author bores us with limitless stories of wild animals, which, once you've read through 3 you've read through them all. And as if that isn't bad enough - she constantly tries to reinforce how outrageous or funny every ane I love humorous memoirs. Fictitious ones like Bridget Jones's Diary or factual like BossyPants, involve me in the protagonists' journey through laughter and tears with subtle humor, honesty and a lot left to the imagination. And that is where the problem with this book lies: the author bores us with limitless stories of wild animals, which, once you've read through 3 you've read through them all. And as if that isn't bad enough - she constantly tries to reinforce how outrageous or funny every anecdote is, and more often than not literally forces you to find her writing funny. There's no subtlety, humorous undertones because every story, her thoughts on it and much more is brazenly penned down - leaving nothing to the imagination (which for me is the worst kind of writing). I have also observed that in order to engage with readers and audience, authors these days try to directly speak with the reader. Tina Fey has done it in BossyPants with class, Mindy Kaling does it in her memoir but falls flat, all of Marian Keyes's novels (written in first person) do it and make you empathize fully with the character. However even the most average attempts thus far have been a delight to read compared to this. Ms.Lawson's attempts at engaging the reader are a desperate "PLEASE RECOMMEND THIS TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW and/or I AM SO FUNNY BUT MY EDITOR IS LIMITING MY WIT" plea and I really wish her editor had been more strict with her because there's too much of this engagement charade (I say engagement because it did engage me into resenting the author, after all) apart from terrible writing that has gone into the book. Finally, nothing about Ms.Lawson's childhood, life or level of success is memoir worthy. She is not a media figure, nor a survivor of anything grave (unless that happens to her after the wedding chapter, because thats where I stopped). While I hold Tina Fey's writing in very high regard, possibly because I'm biased since I really like 30 Rock too, I also found Mindy Kaling's memoir fall into the 'trying too hard' category. Those women however, have accomplished a great deal and are public figures and its still interesting to know how they got there and what challenges they overcame. The same obviously cannot be said about the author - because outside of her blog and book, she is after all, a nobody. If you think that in this review I have strayed off the point more than once and have rambled on, let it be a prelude to reading the book.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    You seriously can not make this stuff up. No way. This audiobook, read by the author, is seriously strange and hysterical. Jenny Lawson has lived an amazing and unusual life and describes it with unabashed and blatant honesty. At one point in the story, Jenny reflects on the birth of her daughter and the promise she made to the newborn. The promise that her upbringing would be different from Jenny's. That Jenny would "never throw large, dead wild animals on the kitchen table or set cougars loose You seriously can not make this stuff up. No way. This audiobook, read by the author, is seriously strange and hysterical. Jenny Lawson has lived an amazing and unusual life and describes it with unabashed and blatant honesty. At one point in the story, Jenny reflects on the birth of her daughter and the promise she made to the newborn. The promise that her upbringing would be different from Jenny's. That Jenny would "never throw large, dead wild animals on the kitchen table or set cougars loose in the house" as Jenny's father had done. She promises that her daughter will never "wander into the backyard to look at the caged bobcats only to find a pet duck whose beak had been eaten off by a wild racoon." These are the tame memories! Jenny Lawson has an irreverent dry sense of humor and an unapologetic perspective on her own shortcomings and lunacy. Her childhood was beyond unique, having grown up with a taxidermist father in a house with toxic well-water containing radon. She ran inside a deer carcass her father was cleaning at nine years old - "kind of like I was wearing a deer sweater" - pulled live armadillos out of tree trunks, got human parvo (yes, it exists) and managed to herniate a disc in her neck when brushing her hair. And that's just the beginning! There's a chapter about the death of her beloved pug dog that's touching while still being funny. She also talks openly about her struggles with depression and anxiety disorder and is able to laugh about it despite how hard she works to overcome those challenges. Jenny Lawson is just a little bit crazy in an adorable way. This is one funny audiobook!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Whitney Atkinson

    This book was a fun time, but that's about it. I only laughed out loud once, and it was a chapter about her taking laxatives, so I'm just a 8 year old child laughing about poop jokes. This audiobook was fun for the most part, but there were some parts that really annoyed me. First, there were a ton of sound effects and Jenny sang every chapter title, which was so irritating. Second, Jenny's voice is very valley girl sounding at times. It was almost a hyperbolic Kelly Kapoor voice and she said "t This book was a fun time, but that's about it. I only laughed out loud once, and it was a chapter about her taking laxatives, so I'm just a 8 year old child laughing about poop jokes. This audiobook was fun for the most part, but there were some parts that really annoyed me. First, there were a ton of sound effects and Jenny sang every chapter title, which was so irritating. Second, Jenny's voice is very valley girl sounding at times. It was almost a hyperbolic Kelly Kapoor voice and she said "totally" a lot and it came off as kind of lame. But overall this was interesting and I listened to it in a day

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ Rabid Reads-no-more

    12/14/15: BR over at BB&B . And it couldn't be better times b/c I NEEDS a good laugh after the week I just had. SAVE ME, Blogess-lady!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ellen Gail

    This might be my favorite audiobook. Ever. You should just accept who you are, flaws and all, because if you try to be someone you aren't, then eventually some turkey is going to shit all over your well-crafted facade, so you might as well save yourself the effort and enjoy your zombie books. This is FUCKING hilarious. Jenny Lawson just gets me. And you know, I don't even remember what prompted me to read this? I remember I specifically wanted an audiobook because this has been my first year to r This might be my favorite audiobook. Ever. You should just accept who you are, flaws and all, because if you try to be someone you aren't, then eventually some turkey is going to shit all over your well-crafted facade, so you might as well save yourself the effort and enjoy your zombie books. This is FUCKING hilarious. Jenny Lawson just gets me. And you know, I don't even remember what prompted me to read this? I remember I specifically wanted an audiobook because this has been my first year to really listen to them. If you've internet stalked me at all, you know my sister and her fam live a four hour drive from me. (and if you don't internet stalk me, you're missing out on quality cat pictures.) So audiobooks have been my saving grace. So however this one got on my radar, I'm so so happy it did. I could not be more different from Jenny Lawson - taxidermied animals scare me, for one thing. Though not as bad as mannequins. And yet her upbringing resonates with me. Let me share some of my childhood with you: *There was a turkey who frequently hung out in our yard. Also occasionally goats, and one morning, a donkey. *I had a pet duck (creatively named Duck) who was eaten by coyotes. *Having a gun cabinet was the norm. Your dad shooting things off the front porch on Christmas morning, beer in hand and Hooters t-shirt on full display to any incoming relatives was less normal, but not unexpected. Also, whenever I read this paragraph to people who don't live in the South, they get hung up on the fact that we had furniture devoted to just guns, but in rural Texas pretty much everyone has a gun cabinet. Unless they're gay. Then they have gun armoires. *Tractors and Amish buggies are normal road hazzards. I once got stuck behind a pig in the road. *We didn't have a pool. We did have a rusted trailer that my dad lined with heavy duty hefty bags. So we had a mobile swimming pool, which was cooler than the stationary kind. You might think I'm doing some kind of Jenny Lawson style bullshitting about this. I'm not. Have you ever been homesick for someplace that doesn’t actually exist anymore? Someplace that exists only in your mind?” So I think we've established by now that this is HILARIOUS! The cow vagina, vampire cougar, post-it note war, "is this your penis?", armadillo racing, BIG METAL CHICKEN...I laughed out loud several times! But what really surprised me was the unexpected emotion and gravitas. Anorexia, anxiety and panic, depression, loss - there are serious topics to be found. And yeah she jokes about them, but there's a lovely core of honesty and sensitivity under it all. And wasn't it Mark Twain who said, "the secret source of humor is not joy but sorrow." Weird, embarrassing, painful shit happens. And Jenny Lawson is great at finding the humor in difficult places. Like a cat determined to jam it's adorable furry paw underneath the bathroom door when you have the poops, you just have to persevere. Reach under that door gap, get your claws out, and find the funny even when life is shit. Long story short? Let's Pretend This Never Happened is everything I never knew I wanted, and I'm especially happy I went with the audio. I can't wait to start Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things. Here endeth the review.

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