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

Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny  Lawson
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Jun 05, 2012

it was ok
Read in July, 2012

When Jenny Lawson relates a childhood story she's funny and engaging...but so far, that's only occurred for about 10% of her writing in this book. The other 90% I've read is just terrible. The parenthetical ramblings and anxious Turrets-style outbursts quickly get old, and they distract from some of the really funny and entertaining bits. Everything is "totally" or "basically" life-threatening or she's stabbing or kicking someone in the balls "in her head." Her nervous, panicky breakdowns feel like an act -- an act that has gotten her laughs in the past, so she leans on it rather than exploring her more genuine writing talents. Her constant arguments with her husband are particularly tiresome -- they're like that one couple everyone knows who like to argue in front of other people, playing up the theatrics of their exasperating roles. I'm 70% through the Kindle version, and I don't think I can continue. But, I'm giving two stars because, hidden in the muck, there are a few gems here. This is one in a slew of recent books that many friends have rated highly, where I'm left clueless after reading. Is it me?
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04/01/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-12 of 12) (12 new)

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Katie Maybe it makes a difference if you read her blog. I'm familiar with her style from that, and honestly didn't even notice it. Also as someone who's been reading her blog for a while, I completely and totally believe her mental health issues. Ditto her relationship with her husband, which used to bug me, until I gradually got a fuller picture of their... thing. I don't know. I loved the funny, and didn't notice the issues.


Katie You're certainly not alone... http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...


message 3: by Josie (last edited May 23, 2013 06:00AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Josie Haha - it's like I wrote that review! I was not a blog reader of hers, so that probably does make a difference. Plus, I should clarify that I don't doubt that she has anxiety/mental health issues, but I DO doubt the severity of the spiraling out of control that she details...as in, I feel the "everyone and everything is trying to murder/stab/rape/eat me" part of her mental illness is an act, and not a funny one. You know, the blurting out violent lies and exaggerations at parties. She shows too much awareness of the absurdity for it to feel real. I should have steered clear when the copy compared her writing to Tina Fey and David Sedaris...there's no comparison here in my mind!


Christy Omg! I just read this book, too. Great critique! What I enjoyed most were her stories from childhood, but I almost didn't get to them because of the annoying introduction. Also disappointed that she didn't write all that much about parenthood and her daughter.


Josie I agree -- her childhood seems to be the most interesting part of her life, or at least the part from which she draws the most meaning when she writes. The editing in this book baffles me...maybe bloggers get special rules? Even just a deletion of every other "totally" would have made a big difference. OR MAYBE THEY DID THAT ALREADY.


Christy Funny, that totally didn't bother me : )


Donna Davis I think the ramblings and diversions are already part of her writing style, and her large blog fan base knew to expect it. At times it may be excessive, but the funny, funny parts make up for it, to me...and I'm an English teacher.


Michele My sentiments exactly. I found some of the parts in the beginning funny, but she quickly grew tiresome. I have a few chapters left and don't want to finish it, but I bought the book in hardcover, so feel I have to!


Lorraine Gonzalez I know I'm quite late to the party, but my library had a very long waiting list for this book! Anyway, your review summed up my thoughts exactly, I really really enjoyed the beginning of this book with all of the childhood stories, but things went downhill for me soon afterword. All of the "near-death experiences" got annoying real quick. Anyway, at least it ended on a mostly positive note so I wasn't totally disappointed by the end. And Beyonce was still laugh-out-loud funny.


Terry Agreed!


Valerie Anderson Agree wholeheartedly with your review, if you want to be more annoyed listen to her audiobook!


Valerie Anderson Agree wholeheartedly with your review, if you want to be more annoyed listen to her audiobook!


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