Jenny Lawson\’s book, Let\’s Pretend This Never Happened, is a very funny book – and very dangerous to take on a ferry during rush hour. Early morning ferries are a bit like libraries; computers, hushed phone conversations, headphones, and folding newspapers being acceptable noise, whereas cackling induced coughing fits are not. But I gave up wondering what my fellow passengers thought about the madwoman in their midst by the time I had reached the first stop, because reading this book and not laughing is a bit eating a doughnut and not licking your lips.
Jenny Lawson\’s alter ego is â€˜The Bloggess\’ and it was out of her blogs that the seeds of this memoir was born. I don\’t know the blog, but I can see why she has such a following. Apart from being funny, she has a great way with words and a new take on events, even when some of those events are horrible.
I used to think that I grew up in a dysfunctional family. Now I feel I should thank my parents for my incredibly conservative upbringing because Jenny Lawson\’s family makes mine look like the Partridge Family.
Of course, she lies and exaggerates â€“ she admits this, but even if only half of what she writes is true, it is a very funny account of a childhood that could equally well have been as traumatising as Angela\’s Ashes. She seems to have an overactive funny bone and consequently, humour is generally never far from the surface. There is an exception and the event is all the more poignant and shocking for the simple way she tells of her grief.
But mostly, her childhood memories of turkeys, dogs, bobcats, bears and of being the only Goth in Wall in Texas, are funny. Her philosophy is simple: â€˜Because you are defined not by life\’s imperfect moments, but by how you react to them\’. Some memories call for more reaction than others â€“ particularly hand puppets made of squirrel corpses â€“ but they have not made therapists rich. Perhaps the book might do better with fewer asides to her editor, but that is a small quibble.
Available now: Harper Collins RRP$29.99