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Thursday, January 3, 2013

Review Blogger Jonathan Wlodarski Loves Funny Memoir

Let's Pretend This Never Happened
Author: Jenny Lawson
http://thebloggess.com/
Genre: Humor/memoir
ISBN 978-0399159015
Rated 5/5

Originally reviewed by Jonathan Wlodarski for his Jonathan Likes Books blog


"I am not particularly a fan of the humor book genre. I am frequently confused by them: are they essays? Are they memoirs? I have a difficult time understanding their purpose and function. I don't know whether to laugh or try to glean a life-lesson or some deep emotion from the book. There is, of course, the chance that the humor book won't be funny, in which case it has failed at its most basic goal (my experience with David Sedaris has left me wanting).


I read Bossypants earlier this year and, though I liked it, I found myself occasionally disappointed. The material wasn't too consistent and at times veered from the completely humorous to the overly sentimental. Jenny Lawson's memoir, fortunately, never once failed to make me laugh aloud (I measure consistency as at least one laugh per chapter/essay/whatever the heck the sections of a nonfiction humor book are called).


Let's Pretend This Never Happened is an exercise in sustaining a zany, breathless deluge of comedy, and it succeeds perfectly. Which is no small feat: Lawson commands humor even in the darkest of situations (namely, a chapter devoted to her pregnancy horrors and several instances where her overpowering social anxiety disorder causes a disaster). There are true moments of genuine emotion that the reader feels alongside the author, sadness and happiness and success and failure, feelings that never cover everything in a suffocating blanket of forced importance.


It is, of course, important that these moments of non-humor appear in the book; without some heavy anchors, the book will appear over-the-top; humorous, but not memorable. There is an almost impossible-to-achieve balance between humor and seriousness in writing a book like this, but Jenny Lawson tightrope walks it like she's been doing it her whole life (which, I suspect, she has).

 
I cannot recommend this book strongly enough. It is so funny in every way that I can imagine: sarcastically, genuinely, darkly, cutely, relatably hilarious.

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The New Book Review is blogged by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. It is a free service offered to those who want to encourage the reading of books they love. That includes authors who want to share their favorite reviews, reviewers who'd like to see their reviews get more exposure, and readers who want to shout out praise of books they've read. Please see submission guidelines on the left of this page. Reviews and essays are indexed by genre, reviewer names, and review sites. Writers will find the search engine handy for gleaning the names of small publishers. Find other writer-related blogs at Sharing with Writers and The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The links to the book's Goodreads page: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12868761-let-s-pretend-this-never-happened

To buy it on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Lets-Pretend-This-Never-Happened/dp/0399159010/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1357235667&sr=8-1&keywords=jenny+lawson