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

Posted: Tuesday, December 24, 2013, 8:39 am

In brief


I've never laughed out loud at a book as much as I did reading this memoir. Recommended for anyone who likes their humor dark and strange.

Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir, is a feverish collection of essays by Jenny Lawson, perhaps better known in more digitally-minded circles as The Bloggess.

It's difficult to describe what makes this memoir stand out, so I'll share a sampling of chapter titles: "I Was A Three-Year-Old Arsonist," "And That's Why Neil Patrick Harris Would Be the Most Successful Mass Murderer Ever" and "And Then I Snuck a Dead Cuban Alligator on an Airplane." Does that give you a better idea?

Lawson takes readers on a strange journey, starting with her upbringing in an impoverished family in rural Texas, complete with winter "boots" made out of bread bags and summer swimming in the water trough for their pig neighbors at the slaughterhouse down the road. Her childhood and adolescence are peppered with strange characters: taxidermied animals, mental illness and the trials of being the only Goth kid in a country high school.

In later chapters, we get to meet Lawson's beleaguered husband and her kid, and all the fun that comes along with relationships, kids and a really enthusiastic response to stress (read: crippling anxiety disorders).

At this point, you're probably wondering why I mentioned laughing out loud at all these serious stories. But I promise, Lawson is funny. Every essay is a mix of refreshing frankness, hilarious dialogue (both external and internal) and a healthy dose of f-bombs. If you're going to read about mental health conditions and dysfunctional families, you might as well get a chuckle out of it.