I have finished the 63rd book for the book challenge. It was Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) by Jenny Lawson, The Bloggess.
Jenny Lawson, The Bloggess (yes, that’s who she is) has written a memoir of her life to this point. And this is it. And it is uproariously funny. This is a book about family. About Jenny’s family as she was growing up and her married life, about it’s joys and sorrows. And she writes about family with humor even in the midst of all the dark times.
Jenny’s childhood is filled with strange occurrences. Her father had a tendency to bring home all sorts of animals–alive and dead. She relates the incident of Stanley, the Magical Talking Squirrel. You don’t want to miss this. She write about her bread-baggie boots and your heart breaks. You laugh when she relates her high school years and she explains why she had her arm stuck up a cow’s vagina. She writes about her experiences with drugs–and why she no longer does drugs, and you understand why. Then we meet her fiancé Victor, now her husband of fifteen years, and learn that she does not know couch etiquette. We learn about her engagement (it wasn’t ordinary). And then there was the 4th of July wedding in Wall, Texas.
Jenny includes a series of Post-It notes between herself and Victor shortly after they were married. They are hilarious. You can only hope they stay married. Then Jenny lets you in on the secrets of Human Resources work. She is a Human Resources specialist and tells all.
In a rather serious section, Jenny tells about her series of miscarriages. It is absolutely heartbreaking and will move you to tears, but in true Jenny form, she also inserts her brand of humor and when she does become pregnant and manages to carry her child to term and gives birth to Hailey, you’ll rejoy with her and laugh with her description of childbirth.
Also included are some phone conversations that Jenny has had with her husband Victor. They have an interesting relationship, with some bickering going back and forth but with a lot of love. This conversation involves Jenny getting lost and the fact that she left her GPS at home and has gotten lost–again.
There is also a section where Jenny goes to meet fellow women bloggers on a trip. She doesn’t have many women friends and is a bit apprehensive. But she finds these women very friendly and open and comes away feeling that she has made some true friends.
Then Jenny relates how she came to be stabbed by chicken. Yes, stabbed by chicken. She was holding a piece of dried fillet of chicken for Barnaby Jones Pickles, her pug, and fell on it and it cut into her hand. She was therefore stabbed by chicken. Hard to do but true.
Another sad section is how Jenny tells about her ongoing battle with rheumatoid arthritis. This is a painful disease that afflicts every joint in the body though not at the same time. The medicines to combat the disease have bad side effects and must be closely monitored. Some days Jenny cannot get out of bad. You will cry as you read this section. It is truly heartbreaking to learn the prognosis for this disease and to see what Jenny has to endure. But she perseveres. And she does it with humor.
The death of Barnaby Jones Pickles is also sad but addressed with humor. It is not known exactly how Barnaby Jones came to die, whether by a bee or wasp sting or a snake bite, but he did die outside and then Jenny had to bury him and then try to protect his burial site from the vultures until she dug him up and put him in a cooler to take him to be cremated. She was out defending the burial site with a machete. The picture she paints is extraordinary, with the vultures flying around and Jenny waving the machete around like a mad woman.
Then come my favorite chapters in the book, where Jenny explains her fascination with dead animals. She purchased a wild boar’s head that was mounted and she named James Garfield. It has become her Christmas card. Then she purchased a squirrel that was dressed up. Then a mouse dressed as Hamlet holding a mouse skull (this is the picture on the cover of the book). She also describes finding a baby alligator in South Carolina that was dressed like a pirate and carrying it home on the plane to Texas. She was worried about getting it through security but there were no problems. She even plays with her animals and talks to them. She thinks the fascination with taxidermy is hereditary, as her father is a taxidermist.
The end of the book (the e-book) is a recounting of her book tour and how many people brought her stuffed dead animals for her collection. She was very pleased. She enjoyed her tour but was glad to be home. She was thrilled to be on CNN but thinks CNN wasn’t sure what to make of her.
I loved this book. I loved Jenny’s train-of consciousness style of writing. She writes as she thinks. She writes irreverently. Yes, there is a lot of use of the F-word but that’s the way Jenny’s mind works. The humor is mostly non-stop. It’s hard not to laugh out loud at this memoir. It is based on Jenny’s blog, but it is much more than her blog. It is her life. And it is funny. Read it. You won’t be sorry you did.