Monday, July 27, 2015

Book #6 "Let's Pretend This Never Happened" by Jenny Lawson

If you haven't heard of Jenny Lawson or The Bloggess, it's time.  Underneath some pretty excellent humor and hilarious misadventures, Jenny is unbelievably open about her own mental illness and anxiety and how this impacts her life and her family.  She has created a massive community of people who have similar issues or who know people who do, and she has done a huge amount of work in making mental illness less taboo and helping people to understand it.  I'm looking forward to reading her second book "Furiously Happy" which comes out in September, and discusses mental illness directly.  "Let's Pretend This Never Happened" is her memoir, but deals with mental illness out of necessity.

If you read Jenny's blog and enjoy it, you will like this book.  If you aren't sure, go check out the blog a bit first.  This woman is crazy.  What you find out in the first chapter of her memoir is that she came by it naturally.  She talks about growing up with a creative taxidermist father (which I really enjoyed as my father-in-law and brother-in-law have a taxidermy business and I've seen plenty of dead animals in various states of stuffing).  She talks about growing up in a backwards small town in the middle of nowhere (which I can relate to after growing up in a town called Silt).  She talks about meeting her husband and his rich, sophisticated family, having a baby, changing careers, moving, and a lot about being married and the ridiculous fights you have over really important and really dumb things.

I laughed out loud throughout several chapters.  There is some excellent writing where she describes scenes with an amazing sense of humor.  These were delightful.  There were also entire sections that I think were supposed to be funny, but weren't.  It was like I could see her mental illness creating the situation, and how not-funny that is, meanwhile she was trying to cover it over with laughter.  It felt like she was trying too hard to make something serious really funny.  I also found some of the interactions with her husband really uncomfortable to read, because I imagine that this is all very hard on him and it made me wonder how much their marriage really is suffering because of what she's dealing with.

I expected this book to be less serious than it was, and that threw me off for a while.  I definitely recommend it though.  I think it's interesting, and funny, and disturbing.  It made me think a lot about some things, and it put some images in my mind that will never ever leave.  And who doesn't want that?

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