Monday, April 16, 2012
Audiobook Review: Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson, The Bloggess
If you know why Wil Wheaton likes to spend his free time collating papers papers, or you've dreamed of one day owning a taxidermied alligator sporting a beret, chances are you're already a fan of Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess. And if you're one of those clever and wonderful folk, you're going to love her new memoir, Let's Pretend This Never Happened. It's like Lawson's blog, but longer and better. The audio version is particularly awesome because — huzzah! — Lawson does the audio herself.
Synopsis: When Jenny Lawson was little, all she ever wanted was to fit in. That dream was cut short by her fantastically unbalanced father (a professional taxidermist who created dead-animal hand puppets) and a childhood of wearing winter shoes made out of used bread sacks. It did, however, open up an opportunity for Lawson to find the humor in the strange shame spiral that is her life, and we are all the better for it.
Lawson's long-suffering husband and sweet daughter are the perfect comedic foils to her absurdities, and help her to uncover the surprising discovery that the most terribly human moments — the ones we want to pretend never happened — are the very same moments that make us the people we are today.— Goodreads
My thoughts: As a huge fan of The Bloggess, I've been counting the days until I got my hands on Let's Pretend This Never Happened, and I wasn't disappointed. Lawson takes all the quirk and humor from her blog and extends it into a full-length production that is fast-paced and fun. In a series of vignettes, Lawson explores incidents from her rural Texas childhood and her adult life, and injects everything with her characteristic irreverence and humor.
Nothing is out of bounds for Lawson. She's open about things both comic (her family's obsession with taxidermy, the dangers of self-prescribing laxatives) and tragic (miscarriages), and it's easy to relate to her even if you've never experienced those things yourself. She's also completely candid about her lifelong struggles with depression and anxiety, and it's that willingness to share every aspect of her life that has made her so popular with her millions of readers. The poignant is well balanced by the humorous, and Let's Pretend This Never Happened deftly moves through the darker parts without ever dwelling in them.
Listening to Lawson read her own material makes it exponentially more enjoyable (almost too enjoyable to listen to while driving — beware of lampposts!) . I'd always imagined she'd have a big, brassy Texas twang, but instead she has a lovely, lyrical voice that makes her frequent use of the f-word that much more effective.
I wasn't a huge fan of her chapter on her experimentation with drugs, not because I was offended by the material, but because it just got a bit boring. It's like listening to someone recount their dreams - the dreamer (or, in this case, experimenter) might find it enthralling, but you really have to be there to enjoy it. Aside from that one chapter, though, there wasn't a dull moment in the book.
A warning, though, for those unfamiliar with The Bloggess' style: If you don't like the f-bomb or you're offended by irreverence toward vaginas, zombies, and pretty much anything else in modern American life, Lawson's style may not be for you.
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Publication Date: April 17, 2012
Length: 9 hours
Reviews of print edition:
Devourer of Books
Smexy Books (Rating: A)
Disclosure: I received an advance copy of this audiobook from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.