portorchardwoman, December 7, 2014 (view all comments by portorchardwoman)
this is one of the most impressive memoirs i've ever had the pleasure of reading...jenny grew up in the same small-minded place i did and yet we both managed to emerge with not only a sense of humor about it...but also a very nostalgic love for the whole situation. i literally laughed so much and so hard, that i had to move to another bedroom until i finished, as i kept waking my husband! there are few books i read over again-but hers, i read every 6 months to remind myself that laughter is truly the best medicine. thanks you jenny lawson for writing my childhood so much more eloquently than i ever could...and PLEASE write another one soon!
That's fine for me and possibly for you, with caveats: (a) You are OK with profanity. A lot of profanity. Blackbeard the pirate saying, Watch yer tongue, madam, you are amongst sailors! kind of profanity; (b) You are introverted, insecure, have anxiety issues or commiserate with those who do; AND/OR (c) Are used to reading blogs and the sort of codified language of blogs, particularly The Bloggess's own, because knowing the cadence and some of the backstory makes you a receptive audience.
If you meet any of those criteria, throw your copy of War and Peace right out the bus window (not literally--have some sense!) and read this book sooner rather than later.
However, if people call you Church Lady, you are a man (especially a straight man, either sexually or in a comedy team), you are a 17th Century Lit major, not American, AND/OR consider yourself "normal" and that people with insecurities or disorders should just get a grip, there is a 92.735% probability you will not enjoy and possibly will be disgusted by this book. (That's my own calculation, not Nate Silver's, btw.)
Yes, the book reads much like her blog, although, unlike some reviewers, I didn't feel the material was simply printed blog posts. (Believe me, I have read some of those kinds of books--world of difference.)
I've also read a lot of memoirs by people with crazy relatives and various disorders and "Let's Pretend This Never Happened" outshines most others for humor, poignancy without vapidity or whininess, and pacing.
Comparing "Let's Pretend" to David Sedaris's work is pointless. Their work is really too different. Sedaris is masterful at capturing illustrative moments. Lawson is recounting her trials and tribulations for your amusement and, it seems, in the hope that others from the Island of Misfit Toys will not feel so all alone.
Lawson is great at what she does best: Write in a distinctive, very amusing fashion while providing candid insight to her inner life.
I have provided enough data for you to make your decision. Carry on as you will.
P. S. If you have a bladder disorder, stock up on Depends before reading. Fair warning.
Lindsay Waite, November 5, 2013 (view all comments by Lindsay Waite)
Sometimes I just need to laugh. I read a few reviews of this book and figured it might allow me to do so. Did it ever! Jenny's writing is crisp, chatty, and communicates as if she's sharing with you on the phone or over coffee at her kitchen table. Her early years were unique yet years many of us can relate to as well (those who were shy, shunned, teased). Experiences with a taxidermist father and tolerant mother are peculiar yet there is a lot of love there. Her difficulties with personal issues were turned into insightful and often LOL stories. It's amazing to me always to read of the lives of those who rose above difficulties with a laugh. For those with sensitivity to some raunchiness, well... be prepared. The only complaint - I read it too quickly!
Gayle Hardman, February 24, 2013 (view all comments by Gayle Hardman)
Thought I had some wild experiences and issues,but mine seem very tame compared to hers!...A definite page turner and no problem if you want to skip around to different chapters since her life is anything BUT organized!...you WILL laugh out loud!...and you may even shed a tear about some of her more personal struggles...She is a funny,unique,strong young woman/wife/mom and a very talented writer who writes about what she knows best...herself. You won't be sorry you bought this book...She is also a well known blogger,so you can get a daily dose while you wait for her next book...Enjoy!
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"In punchy chapters that cover a fairly uneventful life in the southern Republican regions, blogger Lawson achieves an exaggerated sarcasm that occasionally attains a belly laugh from the reader ('I grew up a poor black girl in New York. Except replace 'black' with 'white' and 'New York' with 'rural Texas'), but mostly descends into rants about bodily functions and dead animals spiced with profanity. The daughter of a taxidermist whose avid foraging and hunting filled their 'violently rural' Wall, Tex., house with motley creatures like raccoons and turkeys and later triggered some anxiety disorder, Lawson did not transcend her childhood horrors so much as return to them, marrying at age 22 a fellow student at a local San Angelo college, Victor, and settling down in the town with a job in 'HR' while Victor worked 'in computers.' In random anecdotal segments Lawson treats the vicissitudes of her 15-year marriage, the birth of daughter Hailey after many miscarriages, some funny insider secrets from the HR office, and an attempt to learn to trust women by spending a weekend in California wine country with a group of bloggers. With little substantive writing on these subjects, however, Lawson's puerile sniggering and potty mouth gets old fast. Agent: Neeti Madan, Sterling Lord." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
by Augusten Burroughs, author of Running With Scissors and This is How,
"Even when I was funny, I wasn't this funny."
by Neil Gaiman,
"The Bloggess writes stuff that actually is laugh-out-loud, but you know that really you shouldn't be laughing and probably you'll go to hell for laughing, so maybe you shouldn't read it. That would be safer and wiser."
by Marie Claire magazine,
"Jenny Lawson is hilarious, snarky, witty, totally inappropriate, and 'Like Mother Teresa, Only Better.'
by Karen Walrond, author of The Beauty of Different,
"Jenny Lawson's writing is nothing less than revolutionary...I say this without a hint of exaggeration: She may be one of the most progressive women's voices of our time."
by Jen Lancaster,
"There's something wrong with Jenny Lawson — magnificently wrong. I defy you to read her work and not hurt yourself laughing."
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.