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Customer Review

384 of 470 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Better as a blog, indeed, July 3, 2012
This review is from: Let's Pretend This Never Happened: (A Mostly True Memoir) (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. It's like when someone tells you a story and they say, "I haven't even told you the crazy part yet," and you're like, right, I know, because nothing remotely strange has happened within your story, but they just keep talking and it never gets interesting. It never does.

I didn't hate this book -- I doubt I could hate anything by the bloggess -- but I felt that the editors did it a disservice by not assisting more in the streamlining process. This is the author's first book, and while she is responsible for the content and, well, all of it, what is an editor for if not to help make the book readable? There was just too much that didn't fit here.

I will continue to read her blog and will read her next book, whenever that might be, but I'll be reading it with an eye toward looking for improvements over this one. For the record, I borrowed it from the library. I highly recommend the library if you're considering this title.
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Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 42 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 29, 2012 3:00:51 PM PDT
K. Stalnaker says:
this is exactly how I felt

Posted on Sep 6, 2012 10:18:23 PM PDT
Alaskana says:
I'm about three quarters through this book and find myself skipping over large sections of rambling non sequiturs. I don't dislike the book, but felt as you did that she tends to beat her readers of the head with "This is crazy so don't miss that!: Some of the stories are indeed humorous, others are too all over the map to hold my interest. I found her story about artificially inseminating a cow humorous as I did the same thing in college. I could definitely relate to that one.

I read this book on the recommendation of my two sisters and although it's been more or less entertaining, I feel it could have been so much better. I suspect her blog is a stronger venue for her kind of writing, In her case, less is more. I will most certainly finish the book and perhaps even look up her blog. Like you, I would be interested to see what she could do with a second book.

Posted on Sep 10, 2012 9:44:45 PM PDT
Thank you. I wish i'd read your review before I bought this book. I couldn't get through more than the first couple of chapters. Way too wordy!

Posted on Oct 4, 2012 8:42:19 AM PDT
Autumnal says:
This is exactly how I felt too. I don't follow the Blogess frequently but was expecting more from this book given her reputation. I borrowed the book from the library, read about 2/3 of it and then returned it unfinished. It was too manic and rambling for me and some of the humor was forced.

Posted on Oct 16, 2012 3:13:53 PM PDT
Angela says:
Interesting, I didn't feel that way at all! I will say that everything you describe is accurate. Jenny Lawson is very rambly, and she does tend to point out the wackiness of her stories as she's going along. This was exactly what I loved about it. If you have the right kind of humor (or the wrong kind, I suppose), it's gut-bustingly hilarious.
That said, I had a pretty conventional upbringing, and I found her stories to be outrageous and crazy. Every time she said, "I haven't even told you the crazy part yet," I found myself bursting into laughter and thinking, "Are you serious?? What could be crazier than that?"
In my opinion, the rambliness is part of her charm. I think it's not for everyone, but it's most definitely for some of us.

Posted on Dec 10, 2012 8:07:05 PM PST
connieNreno says:
It is funny at first, but it just drags on. I get really hearing about her vagina all the time. Who talks about their vagina. I don't and I don't want to hear about hers.

Posted on Dec 12, 2012 8:30:08 AM PST
Unhappy about the amount of profanity and juvenile comments...TOTALLY too much use of the word. Some parts were genuinely funny, i.e. how to keep foxen out of the backyard but I had too read too much objectional rhetoric to get to the "laugh out loud" parts. Once again, glad this was borrowed from the library.

Posted on Dec 18, 2012 5:54:02 PM PST
SoCal-27 says:
I agree and wish I had been smart enough to borrow it from the library. I saw the 4 stars and after she got the umpteenth award for humor, I ordered it, figuring it must be really good. I haven't gotten halfway through it yet and realized I hadn't laughed out loud once. A couple of times my husband asked what I was giggling at though. I love the blog but much of what I've read so far I've already seen IN the blog. F word is used at 7th grade boy level and loses it's power after the first couple dozen times. I figure the popularity of this book is a generational thing, because I am old enough to be her mom. I also have a bipolar daughter and that was part of my interest, finding the humor in a life of continual polar opposites. I figure my purchase is a donation to the "Help Jenny Fund" and that's fine, but I could've lived without it quite nicely. I still love her and admire her ability to deal with the crummy genetic hand she was dealt.

Posted on Jan 5, 2013 6:49:01 AM PST
Bookworm says:
It told me what I wanted to know. I am sick sick sick of the effin f word. Doesn't ANYONE know how to write or talk without it anymore? What is the point? I was perfectly happy reading for years without it.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 5, 2013 6:59:28 AM PST
Amen to that. It is overused and common, the shock value is long gone.
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