Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

Let's Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir), Jenny Lawson "the Bloggess."  New York: Penguin Group (G.P. Putnam's Sons), 2012.  via NOOK® e-reader, 289 pps.

Let's Pretend This Never Happened had me reduced to hysterical laughter of the variety that woke up my flatmate from a dead sleep.  I couldn't help it.  There were 35 chapters and an epilogue of off the wall funny.  The author-blogger grew up in Wall, Texas.  Her parents decided to move back there after the author set a broomstick on fire at the age of three and went running through the apartment with it just because.  Jenny Lawson grew up poor, the kind of poor that had radon tap water in the pipes, chickens in filing cabinets in the garage instead of in a hen house, and a bloody deer being cleaned out for dinner that night.  Jenny and her sister ran around barefoot, or in bread sack shoes.

Jenny Lawson's dad was given to bringing home wild abandoned baby animals to raise, making puppets out of dead animal carcasses, and throwing a bunch of ducklings into the living room for his children-- and later his grandchildren-- to round up.  The author's abridged version of "The Dangerous Thesaurus of My Father" had me laughing while breathing in instead of out.  [sapphoq reviews says: As a child I had always laughed "in," that is to say while breathing in.  I didn't think anything of this until some kids in school pointed this out to me.  I learned how to laugh while breathing out like everyone else does, however I revert to laughing "in" whenever something is so funny that my natural laugh takes over.  I can only attribute this laughing "in" to something in my Swedish ancestry-- perhaps.  I've heard that some Swedes laugh the way I naturally do.  I've never been given any explanation for this by any family member.  My laugh was never commented on by any family member.  Tis a great mystery...]. Her mom was sensible and resigned.  Her sister adjusted well to rural living in a school that took kids to watch a cow being artificially inseminated for field trips and allowed the older kids to drive the family tractor to school.  Back in those days, Wall didn't have much in it, not even a gas station.  

Jenny Lawson got out and went to live in a Big City, where she met her now husband.  They prospered there for a bit and then decided to move to a small rural area like Wall so that their child could experience country living.  She reported that civilization in the form of a gas station and several chain stores has come to Wall.  She and her sister, both with kids of their own in tow, return to Wall yearly for an impromptu reunion.  Her dad has not mellowed in his older age as the grandkids were treated to rounding up ducklings in the living room for fun one day.

Ever present throughout the book was Jenny Lawson's anxiety.  She was anxious about the idea that her rural home was built on an Indian mound [it wasn't], anxious about meeting some other women blogging friends for a long weekend, anxious about giving speeches in class to the point of freezing into hysterical laughter, anxious about the sense of impending doom that walked with her as a child and still walks with her now.  Her anxiety and the foreign feel to her upbringing were the cause of various outbursts of verbal sparring with her husband-- things like whether one should throw up in a garbage can or in a vomit bowl, the proper way to sit on a couch avoiding the decorative pillows.  I could relate to her anxiety.  I've had my own bouts with anxiety and with a flatmate who doesn't relate to my own up-bringing. 

sapphoq reviews says: This review doesn't do the book justice.  Anyone who likes funny stuff will love this book.  Anyone who doesn't like funny stuff, if forced to read this book, cannot help but be overcome with laughter.  Highly recommended.  [But maybe not for folks who object to the f-word in their reading material].  

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