Saturday, June 9, 2012

Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson


I have to admit I was hesitant about going into this book. I don't know why but I had no desire at all to read The Bloggess' book when it first came out. Just not something that appealed to me. But then I started reading reviews by friends and I started realizing that I was probably making a mistake by letting this one pass me by. And then I read Heather's review and decided that I now definitely had to read this one and that the audiobook was the way to go. And she was right.

What do I even say about this book? There is so much to say about it!! A. You'll laugh your ass off. Seriously. I listened to the audio and would try to keep a straight face every time I passed another car because I didn't want to look like a moron but then would absolutely lose it as soon as I was assured that there was no one within eye sight as I listened to Jenny talk about her stories of growing up with a father who kept packs of wild bobcats (sometimes in the house) and had a successful taxidermy business, her misadventures in Generalized Anxiety Disorder and how it affected her marriage and parenting, her adventures as a human resources director, and of course, her adventures in being a hypochondriac....made particularly funny when she decided to overdose on laxatives. Because everything is funnier with poo. Oh...and she says vagina a lot, something that I surely shouldn't laugh at because it makes me sound like a 5 year old and because it seems disrespectful, but the context in which she uses the word vagina is never anything but funny. I don't know that this is necessarily a good thing at all....but it's worth mentioning that she made me laugh my ass off.

While this book IS one of the funniest books I've ever read/listened too, there's an air of melancholy to it as well. There were moments when I was driving in my car listening to it when I just stopped laughing for a second. Because I realized I was laughing at these stories because they happened to Mrs. Lawson BECAUSE she has such crippling anxiety. Lawson uses humor to deal with her anxiety and depression. This is obvious. She's taken a very debilitating mental illness and spun it into a positive in whatever way she can and she's really built quite a fan base and support system for other people with mental illness. And I love her for that.

Read her blog. She has days where she can't be funny. And that makes me love her even more. She has days when the depression and anxiety crushes her so hard that there's no getting out from under it, so you just lay there under it trying to breathe. And I've been there. But most of the time, I do what Jenny does. I make the best of my own anxiety and take whatever opportunities I can to laugh at myself or how a situation played out...because it's a better alternative than the opposite.

I think a lot of people are going to read this book and say "there's no way that happened to her." But I truly don't doubt most of these stories. I've seen people with levels of anxiety higher than hers working here at a mental health hospital and people really do get themselves into some pretty fucked up situations. I just loved that Lawson was able to share those situations with us so that we could all have a good laugh and maybe even relate a little bit in some way to what she went through.

IF you decide to read this one yourself, I HIGHLY recommend that you go with the audiobook which is read by Jenny Lawson herself. It. Is. Hilarious. I was never a huge fan of "The Bloggess" before, but I've found a new love for her blog since listening to this book because I hear her voice reading her posts now. Sometimes writing is just different and you get it once you can hear someone's voice in it. It differentiates itself from the masses. But yeah...give it a read, paper form or audio, you'll enjoy this one!

9 comments:

Matt said...

I loved hearing some of this cleverly written literature. Having the author read her own writing was just pure magic. Jenny's comedic timing could really lend itself to brilliant stand-up comedy material. Obviously, as you pointed out, the very serious struggle that she endures from her anxiety would not allow this in a public setting, but I think that she has found an ingenious format to share her stories and ultimately herself! Thank you for introducing me to her!

Bookfool said...

Huh, I had no idea she had anxiety issues. I've read her blog a bit and I like it. But, I flipped through the book and can't say it grabbed me in any way. Maybe my NEW LIBRARY will have it, when I get all moved!! I will have a NEW LIBRARY to go to!!! I wonder if it doesn't suck. I haven't been in it, you know.

Marg said...

I have never read her blog and really the only reason why I even thought about getting the book is because it was published under the Amy Einhorn imprint. Other than that I wouldn't have taken any notice. Now, though, there are lots of people who I respect who are reading it and loving it so I might have to reconsider!

Heather said...

Yes! I knew you would love it! And your review is absolutely perfect. I completely forgot to touch on her anxiety disorder and that air of melancholy that permeates the writing. Like you, I just love Jenny. I don't think anyone can help BUT love her.

Susan said...

Well I have to get this, I have a sister who suffers from this, and most likely we all it to some degree in my family. And we all use humour to deflect the pain, as well as unfortunately keeping offers of help away! Very good review, Chris, and I will be looking for this book. Sadly I'm not an audio person at all - truly, the quickest way to make me doze is to give me lists, or tell me a huge lesson, with no visual clues and no writing things down allowed. I'm asleep in minutes! so, I'll look for the book and her blog too. Thanks for reviewing it, because I might never have found it otherwise.

Can I say it's awesome that Matt is commenting on here now? It is your Matt, right?

Susan said...

*sigh* I should really reread my comments, I meant to say 'we all have it to some degree in my family....." lol

Matt said...

Yes Susan..tis I, Chris's Matt ;)

Lu @ Regular Rumination said...

I got this one at BEA Bloggers and I was hesitant to read it for some reason, just like you said. Now I am a lot more excited to read it, knowing you had the same feeling!

Trish said...

Chris. You are the first person who has REALLY made me want to pick this up. I think Lawson is funny but its in a way that gets to be too much for me. I had no idea about her anxiety and depression, though, and I feel that this is the depth that I'm looking for having suffered those things as well. I so appreciate your review.