Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) by Jenny Lawson is a memoir by a blogger who has honed her voice brilliantly. She manages to be self-deprecating without being self-defeating, humorous even when sharing horrific experiences, and unabashed in sharing her personal quirks.
I read this memoir because my son was reading it and as soon as I started it, I had a hard time putting it down. Lawson establishes the overall tone of the memoir in the introduction where she offers no apologies and even dares the reader to stop before reading any further. If in reading the introduction you find the tone off-putting or even peculiar, you probably should heed her warning and stop reading. Seriously. You may not believe much of what follows but you should trust Lawson in this one thing because the wit and weirdness will not end until the last page. Unless of course you read the acknowledgements and the “About the Author” which she wrote herself.
I loved it and finished it before my son. I found parts of it so funny that I read them aloud to anyone who would listen. I could hear myself saying some of the things she said and I swear some of her arguments with her husband sound a lot like my own with Rob. And this in spite of the fact that her childhood was so unlike my own.
But let’s be honest—Lawson’s childhood is unlike anyone’s. It isn’t hard to imagine that there is something darker going on beneath the surface. It’s been said that there’s a fine line between comedy and tragedy and Lawson manages to make her childhood so amusing it almost becomes enviable. You almost want a father who collects road kill for taxidermy purposes and get your hand stuck . . . well, I’m trying to avoid spoilers so I can’t offer specifics. Suffice it to say that some things are best left to the imagination and, yet, she makes it all sound like so much fun even when you know there’s no way you would want to live the experience yourself. Maybe you would want to have drinks with Lawson and her husband, hang out together, compare Chicago style pizza with New York style pizza and argue which is the better.
New York, definitely. Hands down.