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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Jen Lancaster, author of Jeneration X, interviews Jenny Lawson about Let’s Pretend This Never Happened

Lancaster: You appear to have a soft spot for dead, stuffed creatures, particularly if they’re clad in bowler hats or acting out a scene--please explain.

Lawson: My father is a professional taxidermist, so it’s not like I had a fighting chance. And besides, I think the real question here is, who wouldn’t be interested in ferrets in cancan dresses? Old anthropomorphic taxidermy is fascinating and I’ve collected an entire menagerie of creatures that make up my personal posse. Cuban pirate alligators, Shakespearean mice, heavily armed squirrels, vampire-slaying ducklings. I’m not sure how you say no to those. My husband can, but I’m fairly sure there’s something not right about him. Anyone who can turn his nose up at the Last Supper constructed of Victorian kittens has a problem. I suspect it’s because he’s a Republican.

Lancaster: Who would you say is more powerful, The Bloggess Army or the KISS Army? Compare and contrast.

Lawson: My gut says the Bloggess Army is a bit more intimidating because we don’t dress up like kitties, but I’d probably still pick the KISS Army because Gene Simmons scares the shit out of me. Plus, my fans are less of an army and more of a collection of misfit minions looking to have a good time. Actually, now that I think about it, there’s probably a lot of crossover with the KISS Army. We should host a potluck together.

Lancaster: Can you believe some people don’t know what a confidence wig is?

Lawson: Right?! It’s shocking how often I walk in with one and I hear people whispering about the poor cancer patient that just walked in. I’m not a cancer patient, people. I just wear a wig to increase confidence. Plus, if I really mortify myself, I can just run to the bathroom, throw away the wig, and come back in and ask everyone who invited the crazy blonde that just crawled out of the bathroom window. There is no downside.

Lancaster: What’s it going to take for Nathan Fillion to send you a photo of himself holding a ball of twine?

Lawson: I think it’s going to take Nathan Fillion holding a ball of twine. I’ve offered him thousands of dollars and he still rebuffs me. I have no idea what the hold up is, but I can only imagine that Nathan Fillion is allergic to either twine or to bringing smiles to the faces of strange women who really aren’t asking for that much, Nathan.

Lancaster: Complete this sentence: “An oversized metal chicken…”

Lawson: “Means never having to say you’re sorry. Because it’s not towels.”

Lancaster: Snooki or Kim Kardashian?

Lawson: Alphabetically, or in order of who is most likely to fuck up the youth of America? Because those are two different answers. Or possibly they aren’t, now that I think about it.

Lancaster: What would you be doing if you weren’t writing? (“Hard time” is an acceptable and, frankly, the anticipated answer, FYI.)

Lawson: Well, I was going to say “hard time” but now you’ve ruined it. Which makes me feel stabby. Which leads to hard time. I think this is an example of circular logic. In real life, though, I’d be writing. Before my book it was blogging and before blogging, it was journaling and several times in between, it was graffiti. Writers write always. I thought Ray Bradbury said that, but I can’t find the quote anywhere so I’m taking credit for it. Writers write always.

Lancaster: I don’t consider you a mommyblogger, but many PR companies do. What’s the worst pitch you’ve gotten?

Lawson: Once a PR exec accidentally “replied to all” and called me “a fucking bitch” after I asked them to stop sending me pitches about a Kardashian wearing panty hose. He replied that I should feel flattered that I was even viewed as relevant enough to be pitched to, and I replied “Please stand by for a demonstration of relevancy” and tweeted it out to hundreds of thousands of people. It was kind of awesome. And terrifying.

Lancaster: Wil Wheaton or William Shatner?

Lawson: Wil Wheaton. Unless we’re doing the “destroying America thing” again. Then I have to recalculate. William Shatner and I are still recovering from a feud that was covered by MSNBC and Gawker when he refused to come to my house after I apparently offered him the wrong type of hooker. That man is a damn diva. Wil Wheaton, on the other hand, is an officer and a gentleman. William Shatner could learn a lot from that man.

Lancaster: If you had one piece of advice for someone hoping to follow your career path, what would it be?

Lawson: My one word of advice would be “FORTHELOVEOOFGODDON’T.” I’ve fallen backward into this, and I have done every single thing wrong. I have no sacred cows and am fairly unmarketable to any mainstream advertisers. I burn bridges because I like the pretty way they glow and I do exactly the opposite of everything I’m ever told to do. Thank God there’s a steady stream of intellectual misfits and misanthropic joy-seekers who get me, because that’s the only thing that’s saved me. Finding my tribe was a great gift that the Internet gave me. I returned the favor with tweets about shit my cat was doing. We’re pretty even.

Lancaster: What’s it like to ride around in your head for the day?

Lawson: Cramped. Exhausting. Exhilarating. Baffling. I have no way to compare it, but whenever I let slip the bizarre things I’m thinking about, people seem alarmed and step away slowly, so I think “disorientating” is probably fair as well.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

In this mordant memoir, Lawson, who calls herself “The Bloggess,” displays the wit that’s made her a hit on the Web. She makes hilarious hay out of her rural Texas upbringing, during which her taxidermist father thought nothing of bringing feral creatures into the house (on her future husband Victor’s first visit to meet the family, dear old Dad tossed a baby bobcat into the unsuspecting lad’s lap). Plagued by anxiety attacks, Lawson is loath to go out in public, and when she does, she inevitably makes a scene. At a Halloween party, she regales guests with a tale of being attacked by a serial killer (turns out it was just her corpulent cat). Lawson, whose award-winning website, TheBloggess.com, averages more than half-a-million page-views per month, delivers some mild moments among the mayhem. At a women’s retreat replete with bonding and wine, she happily discovers that girls really aren’t so bad. Lawson is funny, but her over-the-top tales eventually take their toll, prompting jaded readers to wonder how much of this stuff she’s making up. --Allison Block --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley; Reprint edition (March 5, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425261018
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425261019
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2,663 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,895 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jenny Lawson is a very strange girl who has friends in spite of herself. She is perpetually one cat away from being a crazy cat lady.

Customer Reviews

I laughed out loud while reading this book.
I want to say it is a feel good book as in you see that no matter what is going on in your life you can still laugh.
I highly recommend this book if you want a fun and easy read.
C. Houston

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

222 of 242 people found the following review helpful By Kat on April 17, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was laughing so hard at some parts, I was crying and had a sore throat afterwards! Even as I was laughing, I was thinking, "Should I be laughing at this? I'm glad it's a book, because if she was telling me this story, I'd still be laughing, which may be inappropriate and embarrassing for both of us!"
Buy this book if:
- you like Jenny's website
- you're not easily offended
- you've ever worked in HR

Don't buy this book if:
-Cursing offends you
-You're easily offended

Also, another reviewer noted spacing problems with the kindle edition. I noticed there were problems on my kindle touch, but I switched to my fire because I thought the pictures might be in color (they weren't). This did solve the spacing problems, but that may be because I've changed the text size settings on my touch but not on my fire.
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110 of 122 people found the following review helpful By Midwestern Lady on April 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Incredibly funny memoir that made me laugh out loud to an embarrassing degree. Read it in the privacy of your home because you will snort with laughter! Jenny Lawson is a gifted storyteller and a talented humorist. Her ability to make her readers laugh and bring them into the story with empathy and warmth impressed me. Well done Jenny, well done.
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49 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Rebekka K. Steg on May 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've waited for this book with bated breath for months, and even more so after it was published a few weeks ago, and I had to wait for the shipment from the US to arrive. And then it came here. And I laughed so much. I laughed so much I cried. And then I cried at the sad parts. And then I laughed some more. And then I forced unwilling people in my surrounding to listen to parts of it. And then they laughed too. And then I decided anyone who doesn't like this book, can't be my friend.

*warning* Language is not suitable for kids (i.e., some swearing), and not everyone will appreciate this form of humour. Which makes me suspect you might not have a sense of humour. Because who doesn't like taxidermied animals and big metal-chickens named Beyoncé?

Let's Pretend This Never Happened: (A Mostly True Memoir) is written by Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, author of one of the funniest blogs (if not the funniest blog) on the Internet. I've been reading her blog for a few years now, and she never fails to crack me up. This book is no exception. From the craziness of her childhood, to penis-stories from her time in HR, taxidermied animals, big metal-chickens, the danger of towels left on the floor, etc., Let's Pretend This Never Happened is laugh-out-loud funny.

But being funny doesn't keep The Bloggess from dealing with more serious topics, such as a series of miscarriages, and her battle with depression, general anxiety etc.

This book is for all of us, who are just a little bit crazy (and who would probably benefit from letting our crazy out a little more often), and for whenever you need a good laugh, a giggle, or to think "it's not just me then." Best book so far this year, and I'm very very happy to have a hardback copy, because it won't be the last time I'll be reading it (and I almost never re-read books.
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48 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Parolini on April 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If we're all a figment of someone's imagination (and who doesn't hope that's true), I'm pretty sure that "someone" is Jenny Lawson. In her Mostly True Memoir, Jenny pops open her skull and takes readers on a tour of her memories by way of a kind of genius that leans precariously close to insanity. "Let's Pretend..." is a roller coaster of little stories constructed from run-on sentences, rabbit trails and footnotes, but you absolutely have to ride it because the people getting off are smiling creepy-big smiles while they're puking and it's clear they won't hesitate to stab you for your place in line.

It's the kind of book you pick up because there's a Shakespearean mouse on the cover and can't put down because the literary taxidermy on the inside is an even more compelling blend of the real and the unreal. Her humor comes as much from the way she tells her stories as the stories themselves. Jenny isn't for the squeamish, though, which is another way of saying she writes without filters or a net. This is a good thing, because her family's stories couldn't be told any other way. By the way, her family is nothing like your family. And yet, after reading the book, you'll wonder how she managed to reveal your family's secrets anyway.

"Let's Pretend This Never Happened" will prompt more than a few embarrassed laughs, but that's kind of the point. We should all laugh embarrassed laughs at least twice a week.

Lots of readers will probably compare Jenny to David Sedaris and Tina Fey, and these are reasonable, polite and generous comparisons, but Jenny's voice is ultimately her own and entirely unique. It is as confident as it is uncertain, as broad as it is intimate, as raw as it is refined, and it is because of these paradoxes that readers will feel safe here.
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306 of 376 people found the following review helpful By Gentle Reader on July 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I like the bloggess. Jenny Lawson is witty, warm, and delightful, and can be clever as well. Not that you'd be able to tell by this book. Let's Pretend This Never Happened is a rambling collection of anecdotes from Mrs. Lawson's "crazy" upbringing, and some of the stories are amusing, and pitiful, but lordy, she steps all over her punchlines with her absolute, undying need to point out just how wacky it all really was. Just tell me the story and let me decide, okay? If I think it's funny, I'll laugh. You don't have to cue me. It's like how Jay Leno has to ruin EVERY joke he tells by explaining the punch line in detail. We get it. You're now making it less funny. I retract my laugh. Thank you.

I respect Mrs. Lawson too much to suggest that her editor required her to pad the book for a greater word count, but it does tend to feel that way. Stories that might have been funny (might, not a given) if left to their own devices are weighed down by the author's assertions that Yes! My childhood was just THAT effed up, ya'll! I really wanted her to stop doing that. Over and over. And on that point, exactly how many times can you read the F word before it loses its power of emphasis? It is not used sparingly. I am a cusser, so I was not offended in the least, but it did get distracting. I started to wonder at her unvaried vocabulary a little bit.
The stories themselves are hit or miss. It was difficult for me to tell if I wasn't laughing because it wasn't a funny story or if the stories were just interrupted too much and overly interpreted for me by the author. I also had an unconventional upbringing, and it's possible my opinion is skewed on that account, but I felt that many of these "crazy" scenarios just weren't that weird. She just kept telling me that they were.
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