Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Let's Pretend This Never Happened

A person with 168 books in her "to read" queue shouldn't need to turn to Google to find something to read next, but that's exactly how Jenny Lawson's "mostly true" memoir, Let's Pretend This Never Happened, vaulted ahead of the 168.

[I interrupt this review to disclose that I spent most of the day writing the previous sentence, but not because it's brilliant or I had writer's block. I wanted to have an accurate count of the books in my "to read" queue, so I consolidated most -- not quite all -- of the saved files, post-it notes and even an ancient typewritten list that previously comprised my "to read" list. It is all now in one convenient, accessible from anywhere Goodreads list. Except I know this is not comprehensive because some lists are lodged in my head and can only be retrieved when I see a physical copy of the book, or read a mention of it, and remember, "yes, I planned to read that one day!" And I also didn't include the Utne Reader's "alternative canon" from years ago, mostly because it's in a magazine I saved and I didn't want to root around the closet to find it.]

After reading a depressing book, can't even remember which one, I decided I needed something funny next, so I did various Google searches involving "comedy" or "funny" or "humor" and "book" and Lawson's memoir was among those mentioned and available at the library. Except it was checked out, so I put it on hold, which means I didn't get to start reading it immediately after the depressing book, whatever that was.

Lawson is a blogger, although I've never been to her blog, even after reading her book, and surely my life is poorer for it. She's quite funny. The memoir basically chronicles her journey from an eccentric childhood in west Texas to a relatively "normal" adult life of wife, mother and writer. Some of the outlandish tales, which one might assume to not be included in the "mostly true" part of the memoir, are backed by photographic evidence.

I enjoyed this book, although I think I would have enjoyed it more at half the length. Lawson's writing style eventually started to lose a little of its novelty, and the 20th tale involving bizarre Texas critters isn't nearly as engaging as the first few.

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