REVIEW: Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir)

Book by Jenny Lawson

Patricia Dawn Robertson

REVIEW: Let’s pretend this never happened (a mostly true memoir)This memoir of mom blogger Lawson’s eccentric Texas childhood and rambunctious married life is not Saint Augustine’s Confessions or Emma Goldman’s Living My Life, but it does fit the new life-writing-meets-Tumblr genre. It’s a manic set of essays that pays tribute to her rural upbringing (“Most people don’t go out into the woods to catch armadillos so that their father can race them professionally”), while simultaneously nodding and winking at her primary readers—the loyal members of her extensive blogging community. The influences of Chicago satirist Jen Lancaster and wickedly funny Atlanta columnist Hollis Gillespie are evident here, along with a sprinkling of Amy Sedaris’s Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People.

Lawson’s is a popular blog—she draws a half-million readers a month—but her rambling style occasionally stalls when she attempts the tightrope walk that is the essay form. In an ideal world, Lawson’s self-conscious banter would be trimmed to allow her strongest material to take centre stage. Still, she has a storyteller’s timing and instincts. The best material comes out of Lawson’s goofy adventures with her husband (and straight man), Victor. He reminded me of Phyllis Diller’s hapless husband, “Fang.”

A heady mix of bad-boy shocker Borat and critter-collecting Elly May Clampett, Lawson has written a bold, raucous adventure of a book.