Let's Pretend This Never Happened: (A Mostly True Memoir) - Jenny  Lawson

I've heard of The Bloggess before and had stumbled upon one of her blog articles that might have had to do with a giant rooster or something to that effect.  I had found the anecdote immensely wacky and fun to read.  Then I came upon the book cover for Let's Pretend This Never Happened and grew interested, especially after connecting Jenny Lawson with The Bloggess.


So sometime in the past year I had the need to spend an Audible credit so that I could use up my accumulated credits before cancelling my paid subscription.  Because I had enjoyed Neil Patrick Harris' autobiography so much, I decided that it wouldn't hurt to place my bets on another autobiography--especially one where there were lots of rave reviews about how hilariously funny Jenny Lawson is.


Having been exposed to one of her blog articles already, I figured it wouldn't be a bad bet.


But 26 minutes into listening to her self-narrated autobiographical memoir and I'm not entirely certain I really understand the charm that is Jenny Lawson.


While she DOES recount some strange and wacko anecdotes of her childhood so far, and while she DOES have the penchant to be funny, and while she also has a great grasp of word usage, imagery, and description... I'm not certain she's a very good storyteller.


I'm finding her humor a little forced and exaggerated--like, she meant to tell a funny story about her life, but somehow her execution of said telling ended up being too forced and awkward.  Instead, I'm quirking my brow wondering if I'm missing the point or the punchline or something.


I'm not an overly sensitive person when it comes to humor.  There is a LOT of stuff that I laugh about and I DO understand the concept of being tastefully offensive and funny at the same time.


But aside from feeling like forced humor, Lawson's voice comes off sounding a bit whiny (about her childhood), a bit holier-than-thou (about everyone who isn't her), and whinier still (about her parents).  And I'm having trouble trying to discern the humor from all the "drama queen" exclamations, such as repetitively calling her parents "fucking liars".


So far she's been starting her anecdotes with some claim or another, and then disclaiming it with an "except that's not really true" tagline, which then goes on to become a haphazard stream of conscience wherein nothing really makes sense and I'm not sure where she's trying to go with her current anecdote.


"I grew up a poor black girl in New York.  Except, replace 'black' with 'white' and 'New York' with 'rural Texas'.  The 'poor' part can stay.  


I'm not sure I followed her reasoning for starting her story this way.


And other anecdotal story starters in these first 26 minutes have been introduced in a similar way, then tangent off into five minutes of side story before using the last minute or so of the chapter to actually make a point with her story.  Once is fine, but repeatedly just makes me wonder if it's necessary to keep up this pattern.


There are a couple little author footnotes included (so far) that feel kind of condescending, because she's explaining to her audience what she really means when she says something totally exaggerated or just says some random line... but I'm not ignorant or anything, so I had already deduced what she actually meant and that she'd meant her words as an exaggerated false claim... or something to that effect.


For instance, when she's recounting the moment she ran into her gynecologist who did not recognize her without her vagina.  That line alone would have sufficed, because I get what she's trying to say and where she's trying to go with this "ooh, awkward moment" scenario.  But then she continues on to clarify for those of us readers who might be ignorant that when she says she was "without her vagina" it didn't really mean that she didn't physically have her vagina with her, but that she just didn't have it out waving around for her gynecologist to recognize.  Not that she actually didn't have her vagina on her person...


Yeah.  I kind of deduced that on my own without clarification, because otherwise, she's got more problems having a removable vagina than just her OB not recognizing her.






I'm hoping that I'll come to enjoy more of this memoir, because it has a lot of potential, what with the weirdness and the great descriptions and all.  Some of the short anecdotes are kind of cute; I do find some of it funny, but her rambling onto side tangents is kind of turning funny into tedious.


Maybe it's just me; this book is maybe not for me.  But I hope it is, because I'd like to enjoy it.


Otherwise, I supposed I'll have said my piece already about how I feel about this book.