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


Booklist Reviews 2012 April #1
In this mordant memoir, Lawson, who calls herself "The Bloggess," displays the wit that's made her a hit on the Web. She makes hilarious hay out of her rural Texas upbringing, during which her taxidermist father thought nothing of bringing feral creatures into the house (on her future husband Victor's first visit to meet the family, dear old Dad tossed a baby bobcat into the unsuspecting lad's lap). Plagued by anxiety attacks, Lawson is loath to go out in public, and when she does, she inevitably makes a scene. At a Halloween party, she regales guests with a tale of being attacked by a serial killer (turns out it was just her corpulent cat). Lawson, whose award-winning website, TheBloggess.com, averages more than half-a-million page-views per month, delivers some mild moments among the mayhem. At a women's retreat replete with bonding and wine, she happily discovers that girls really aren't so bad. Lawson is funny, but her over-the-top tales eventually take their toll, prompting jaded readers to wonder how much of this stuff she's making up. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

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BookPage Reviews 2012 May
Like laughing at a funeral

Jenny Lawson (The Bloggess to her fans) grew up in a small town in rural Texas with a younger sister and many family pets. In college she met the man she would marry. They moved to the suburbs, had a child and eventually bought a house in a town similar to the one she grew up in. Everyone lived happily ever after.

If you squint kind of hard and read between the lines, that’s almost an accurate summary of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. All that’s missing is Lawson’s dad, a taxidermist so enthusiastic about his work he couldn’t be relied on to make sure the animals were dead before tossing them on his children—or wearing them as hand puppets. Then there’s the family’s radon-poisoned well water, which her mother nevertheless bathed the girls in. “My mom was a big proponent of the ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ theory, almost to the point where she seemed to be daring the world to kill us,” Lawson writes.

This is the kind of book where, once you’ve got the lay of the land, a sentence like “[My neighbor] seemed more concerned this time, possibly because I was belting out Bonnie Tyler and crying while swinging a machete over a partially disturbed grave” makes total sense. It might also make you laugh and cry simultaneously, since the grave held Lawson’s beloved pug and she was swinging at vultures who were trying to dig him up. If that doesn’t make you laugh, there’s a story about her multiple miscarriages and the subsequent birth of her daughter that’s an absolute howler. No, seriously. Plus: Chupacabras!

While the subject matter may be in questionable, or unquestionably bad, taste, this book induced convulsive laughter so hard it qualified as a Pilates workout. And the point of the whole enterprise is to not run from but celebrate those things that make each of us want to hide, since we’ve all got them—though maybe not as many or as freaky as Jenny Lawson’s. That’s why she’s The Bloggess and the rest of us just work here. Pretend this never happened? Not possible, and that’s all the more reason to be glad.

Copyright 2012 BookPage Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2012 April #1
A mostly funny, irreverent memoir on the foibles of growing up weird. In blogger Lawson's debut book, "The Bloggess" (thebloggess.com) relies entirely on her life stories to drive an unconventional narrative. While marketed as nonfiction, it's a genre distinction the author employs loosely (a point made clear in the book's subtitle). On the opening page she defends the subtitle, explaining, "The reason this memoir is only mostly true instead of totally true is that I relish not getting sued." Yet Lawson also relishes exaggerative storytelling, spinning yarns of her childhood and early adulthood that seem so unbelievable they could hardly be made up. Nearly every line is an opportunity for a punch line--"Call me Ishmael. I won't answer to it, because it's not my name, but it's much more agreeable that most of the things I've been called"; "And that's how I ended up shoulder-deep in a cow's vagina"; "there's nothing more romantic than a proposal that ends with you needing a tetanus shot"--and while the jokes eventually wear thin, by that point readers will be invested in Lawson herself, not just her ability to tell a joke. The author's use of disclaimers, editorial notes and strike-thrus leaves the book feeling oddly unfinished, though it's a calculated risk that serves well as an inside joke shared between writer and reader at the expense of the literary elite. While Lawson fails to strike the perfect balance between pathos and punch line, she creates a comic character that readers will engage with in shocked dismay as they gratefully turn the pages. Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Library Journal Reviews 2011 November #1

She's famed on the Internet as the Bloggess ("like Mother Teresa, only better") and also writes an (I hope) tongue-in-check parenting column and a self-styled satirical sex column that must be sizzly because my office computer denies me access. Here, Lawson revisits her rural Texas childhood. With lots of media attention expected and comparisons to Chelsea Handler, this book is one to watch.

[Page 58]. (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Library Journal Reviews Newsletter
A memoir about growing up poor in rural Texas and learning to live with mental illness doesn't sound like a laugh-out-loud read, but Lawson, better known online as The Bloggess, has a way with gallows humor and a knack for providing nontreacly support to anyone struggling with loneliness, anxiety, chronic pain, or depression. Plus, after her stories about life with a taxidermist father, readers will never look at a dead squirrel in the same way.--Stephanie Klose (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 March #2

In punchy chapters that cover a fairly uneventful life in the southern Republican regions, blogger Lawson achieves an exaggerated sarcasm that occasionally attains a belly laugh from the reader ("I grew up a poor black girl in New York. Except replace 'black' with 'white' and 'New York' with 'rural Texas' "), but mostly descends into rants about bodily functions and dead animals spiced with profanity. The daughter of a taxidermist whose avid foraging and hunting filled their "violently rural" Wall, Tex., house with motley creatures like raccoons and turkeys and later triggered some anxiety disorder, Lawson did not transcend her childhood horrors so much as return to them, marrying at age 22 a fellow student at a local San Angelo college, Victor, and settling down in the town with a job in "HR" while Victor worked "in computers." In random anecdotal segments Lawson treats the vicissitudes of her 15-year marriage, the birth of daughter Hailey after many miscarriages, some funny insider secrets from the HR office, and an attempt to learn to trust women by spending a weekend in California wine country with a group of bloggers. With little substantive writing on these subjects, however, Lawson's puerile sniggering and potty mouth gets old fast. Agent: Neeti Madan, Sterling Lord. (Apr.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC

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