I used to think memoirs were for old people. I mean, they should be written by old/older/oldish people, because really, how many people’s lives were changed by Miles to Go? Not mine, that’s for sure. 70 seems like a good age to write a memoir, don’t you think? Well, that’s what I thought until I read Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) by Jenny Lawson, also known as The Bloggess.
I first heard about Jenny last year when I was in Listen to Your Mother and I’ve been an avid fan/stalker since. Her wit, humor, irreverence, and unique perspective on mental illness have made her something of a role model for me. In fact, “Let’s Pretend” is sort of my new Bible…not that I ever had a Bible to begin with, but if I did have a Bible, Jenny’s book would replace it. Now that I’ve alienated all my Christian readers I’ll go ahead with the actual review.
“Let’s Pretend” met and exceeded every expectation I had and made me laugh like I haven’t laughed in months. Each chapter essentially stands on its own, but Jenny’s overall theme is that you can overcome any obstacle life puts before you as long as you have the right attitude. It’s more about the reaction rather than the action itself (kind of like in acting). It’s a lesson I’ve never really learned, but thanks to Jenny I’m hoping to get the hang of it.
For readers of The Bloggess, you’ll be greeted with the usual cast such as Jenny’s husband; Victor, her daughter; Hailey, and even her ever growing collection of taxidermy animals; Hamlet Von Schnitzel, Jean Louise, and James Garfield. They all get their moment in the spotlight and readers will feel as if they’re in Jenny’s rural home, seeing the chaos unfold first hand. The book has a good flow, taking you chronologically through Jenny’s childhood in rural Texas, life with Victor, her time as an HR manager (one of my favorite chapters), as well as life in the here and now. There are also lots of pictures, so even if you’re illiterate it’s still a fun book! There is no losing side to buying this book. Trust me.
The book is not just fun and games by any means. Jenny is open about her mental illness and the brutal struggle she went through trying to have a healthy baby. Luckily, Jenny always seems to come out on top, even if it results in a sex concussion. That last bit will make soooo much more sense once you read the book.
I hope you will enjoy Let’s Pretend This Never Happened as much as I did. Jenny has done so much to help me feel unashamed of my own depression and anxiety without even realizing it. She has taught me that you can still have a fulfilling life even when the black days come around without warning. The words that flow from Jenny’s beautifully bizarre mind are sure to give you a lot of laughs, and you’ll learn a lot about Jenny, and maybe even yourself. How’s that for deep?