Author: Jenny Lawson
Published: 2012 by Harper Collins
Read: April 2014
Why it made it to the top of the pile: I purchased this book in January because the description began "for fans of Tina Fey and David Sedaris" (tick and tick). I got around to reading it because it was our book club pick for April.
Categories: Non Fiction, Memoir, Humour, Debuts
Trivia Tidbit: Let's Pretend This Never Happened debuted at #2 on the New York Times bestseller list.
Full Disclosure: Purchased
There are some laugh out loud moments in this book, mostly in the telling of her childhood misadventures, which were usually the result of her father's encounters with wildlife great and small.
Hunters often use animal pee to cover their scent, and my father splashed it on like other men used Old Spice.
What I enjoyed most about the book was the way she spoke with love and genuine affection for her family, acknowledging that between the madness of a super-enthusiastic taxidermist father and a super-tolerant lunch lady mother there was a home that was loving, and a type of freedom she wants her own daughter to experience. Her frustration with her husband is reminiscent of a lot of domestic squabbles, though exaggerated somewhat, I suspect partly due to Jenny's unconventional approach to life and partly for the benefit of the reader. While she acknowledges from the start (indeed, in the title) that this is a 'mostly true' memoir, it felt disingenuous at times, and stitched together from random blog posts at others. It was difficult to reconcile these two separate approaches within the same book.
My favourite story in the book was about her friend who came to help her rebury her dog, Barnaby Jones Pickles (yes, this is the type of sentence this book makes you write). I won't retell the entire story here, but an unfortunate series of events leaves Jenny at home alone with a beloved-pet disposal problem and her friend recognises her need and comes to help, both because of and despite the unfortunate situation. Amongst the bizarreness of the situation is Jenny's recognition of her need and love for her friend, and that recognition and appreciation shines through. As she says:
…you are defined not by life's imperfect moments, but by your reaction to them. Because there is joy in embracing - rather than running screaming from - the absolute absurdity of life.