Sunday, July 29, 2012

"Let's Pretend This Never Happened" by Jenny Lawson

318 pages

Jenny Lawson has had an interesting life, to say the least. As a kid growing up in rural Texas, she just wanted to fit in. It wasn't easy to do, though, with her dad being a professional taxidermist who had been known to create dead-squirrel hand puppets and throw live bobcats on people (as a joke, of course). Her mom was a little more tame--her main idiosyncrasies involved mild things like making winter shoes out of bread sacks to save money. Jenny thought she could escape all the weirdness when she grew up, but she was mistaken. Whether she's trying to identify pictures of employees' penises as part of her human resources job or having to dig up and rebury her beloved dead dog, goofy things just seem to happen to Jenny wherever she goes. Through it all, though, she learns that the crazy things make her the person she is...and, of course, provide hilarious material for her now-famous blog.

It has been a long, long time since a book--or anything, really--has made me laugh as hard as Let's Pretend This Never Happened did. I seriously could not read it in public because if I had I would have made a scene. Jenny's humor is definitely not for the faint-of-heart, as there are plenty of f-bombs and nothing--sex, bodily functions, cow vaginas, etc--is sacred. Nevertheless, her writing is just hilarious. I mean, she obviously has some good material to start with. Her family is nuts but totally lovable. Her childhood sort of reminded me of my own rural upbringing, and I too often find myself thinking, "This could only happen to ME." I think everyone can relate to that sometimes. The difference, though, is in the way Jenny tells these stories. I don't know how she does it, but she turns a situation that is pretty funny into a story that is downright hilarious. Reading her book reminded me that instead of being frustrated or embarrassed by the ridiculous, I should see the humor in it and recognize that life would be pretty boring without it. 

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