Let’s Pretend This Never Happened

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir
Jenny Lawson
Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam, April 2012
336 pages

From humble beginnings (blogginnings?), Jenny “The Bloggess” Lawson has built a new media empire writing for mommy blogs, reviewing porn in her SEXIS column, and tweeting her way into a feud with William Shatner (among other things).

Recently, Lawson has proven to be a successful print author too, with her debut book Let’s Pretend this Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir. The first part of Lawson’s title refers not to any one event from her past, but rather a loose theme of embarrassing hijinks. Lawson’s memoir is filled with the very kind of story for which we say “someday you’ll look back on this and laugh”: from the day she got her arm stuck in a cow’s vagina during a high school animal husbandry class; to the day her father traumatized her and her sister with a squirrel corpse puppet in the middle of the night; to the chupacabra (another squirrel) that died in her walls. By Lawson’s account, life in the Texas Hill Country is equal parts macabre and magic. She tells these stories with such glee that you can’t help but want to visit her weird little corner of the world.

In between humiliations and animal carcasses, many sections are given over to Lawson’s bantering conversations with Victor, her long-suffering husband. Their discussions of (for example) Cuban alligator taxidermy is hysterical, as are the “letters” she leaves him explaining irregularities in her housekeeping. (There are some serious moments too, when she reflects on her marriage to Victor, the trials of mental and physical illness, and motherhood, but you can tell she’s more comfortable talking about zombie organ donation.)

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened is a wild, bumpy, and entertaining ride, though as a memoir it’s not very cohesive. Lawson actually admits that she wrote the book as a collection of essays, which makes a lot more sense considering her blogging background, and her irreverent new media voice is its strongest feature. If she can continue to adapt that voice to the longer format, we’ll no doubt continue to enjoy her tales in print for years to come.

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