2018 Reading List: Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened is the second book I’ve read by Jenny Lawson, but it was actually the first book she published. I honestly can’t decide which one I liked more.

This book felt more like a memoir. It followed a progression of Jenny’s life, from where she was born, to childhood, to high school, to dating her now-husband, to the wedding, to new homes and her career.

I felt like I was getting to know her better in this book. She introduced herself, she introduced her crazy life in a series of hilarious, rambling stories. She makes you fall in love with a lifestyle that you literally can’t imagine. 

With a childhood like Jenny’s, I think it would be easy to grow up, move away and literally say “let’s just pretend those years didn’t happen” or “let’s pretend that wasn’t my childhood.”

The best part about Jenny’s memoir, though, is that she actually doesn’t say that. She just lets it all hang out there. She says she grew up poor and had a weird family. Her house is small, her dad is a taxidermist, they had bobcats in the living room. She had weird experiences with cows and swam with pigs and was attacked by her dad’s pet turkeys.

Maybe she didn’t have a childhood that most people would be proud of. But she owns it. I never got the sense that she resented her childhood. If anything, I felt some nostalgia in her writing. I felt that through this memoir she was recognizing the impact that these experiences had on her life and her character and her future.

Her writing is refreshingly open and honest, even sometimes jarring. It’s so honest that you feel like you’re sitting next to her and having a conversation. She writes like a real person, someone who has accepted their unconventional past without hiding it or downplaying it. In fact, she recognizes how instrumental her past actually was in making her who she is today.

I admire Jenny’s writing so much – the fact that she just doesn’t seem to care what people might think about her. She is who she is and other people’s opinions don’t bother her. She writes this whole book full of family secrets that most other people actually would keep secret. But she puts her life on display in the most humorous way possible. She writes about her most embarrassing moments in the same way that other people highlight only their best shots on Instagram. You really get the fact that she’s just human, and that everyone has their own shit they go through, either as a child growing up, or otherwise. Most people just don’t talk about it.

This book is laugh-out-loud funny and will really make you wonder, “did that actually happen?” Only Jenny Lawson will ever know.




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