Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (by Jenny Lawson)

The tag "i know this person" is somewhat misleading here. It would be more accurate to say "i am one degree of separation away from this person" but that would make for a long tag.  And I feel like although I don't know Jenny, I also don't not know Jenny, in that I met her once at BlogHer and a couple of my friends are mentioned in the book. So I basically know her. I know of her! Okay, you're right, it doesn't count.

I don't read her blog regularly, but I do read it from time to time and admire what she does. She's managed to stay funny, relevant, and real and avoid the whole "mommyblog" pigeonhole while the whole concept of "blogging" has withered on the vine. (Maybe it's resurging. In fact, here's an outstanding blog post by Evany about this very book.) I have been disappointed in the past by blog books that are just recycling of existing posts (Dooce's book, I am looking at you). And I don't know how much of this material is "recycled" since I'm not a regular reader. But I think it reads cohesively, at least as cohesively as possible given her writing style, which is sort of stream-of-consciousness discursive comedic riffing.

This doesn't always work for me in that "humorist" writing doesn't always work for me in general. I have the same issue with David Sedaris, the trying-to-be-funny taking precedence over telling a real story. But oh my god, Jenny Lawson can be funny. There's the classic story of Beyonce the chicken (which I have, in fact, also read on her blog) and a story about her cooking skills that made me laugh out loud as I was reading. And her writing is bold and witty as hell -- she throws in fake notes from her editor, chapters that don't make sense chronologically, and tons of meta notes about all of the above.

This also qualifies for the Read Harder Challenge in the category "Main character has mental illness" -- I would not have thought of this for this category, but the New York Public Library recommended her second memoir for this, so I figure the first also counts. She does address her mental issues, and writes about them humorously but also openly.

Overall, an entertaining read: recommended.

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