Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Book Review: Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson (audio)

See! Not everything I read is a Macmillan book!

So after loving Jenny Lawson's second memoir, Furiously Happy, I went back to read (listen to) her first one. And it was truly hilarious, of course! I was laughing out loud more than once, and I probably looked pretty silly walked back from the gym, bent over with laughter, but I don't care. Naturally, the story that introduced me to Jenny as The Bloggess, about Beyonce the giant metal chicken, was one of the out-loud laughing stories, but I also loved the story right after that one almost even more. This one really focuses on Jenny's childhood, on her meeting Victor, their relationship, her difficult pregnancies (and yes, she does only have one child, hint hint), and the beginnings of her health issues. She sounds more mentally healthy in this book, but that might be more about what she's omitted rather than an actual higher level of mental health, I'm not sure. But it was more about taxidermy, her crazy father, moving houses, working in human resources, and her daughter, than it was about battling depression and her myriad other issues. It is lighter than the second book which made it a more enjoyable experience, if also more lightweight. I truly do see her as a new David Sedaris, who can mine her bat-shit crazy childhood and life for a dozen memoirs for a decade to come. Which makes me really excited!

A note on the audio. It was both better than and less than the book. Like the previous one, if we audio listeners were missing a photo (inevitably), Jenny would describe it to us. And we got a bonus chapter (although with the caveat that it didn't make the cut for the printed book so don't expect too much, although I enjoyed it.) And at first I enjoyed that there were some odd/random sound effects at the chapter intros along with Jenny singing the chapter titles. The sound effects at times got to me a bit much and while I enjoyed the first few, towards the end of the book I was over them. There was also 15 minutes of outtakes/random Jenny thoughts at the end that would have been cute at 5 minutes but 15 minutes was way too long for bizarre stream-of-consciousness about how the recording studio smells like cat pee, or is it her tea that smells like that, and does Lady Gaga also record there and if so, does she smell like cat pee? That would have been better left on the cutting room floor.

These caveats shouldn't at all stop you from picking this book up! They might bring it down from an A++ to an A+. Jenny is awesome.

I checked this eaudiobook out of the library via Overdrive.

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