Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson

  “You should just accept who you are, flaws and all, because if you try to be someone you aren’t, then eventually some turkey is going to shit all over your well-crafted facade, so you might as well save yourself the effort and enjoy your zombie books.”

Jenny Lawson grew up out in the country in west Texas with a practical mother… and a father who would wake up his daughters at 2am to see a ‘magical’ squirrel that is actually a dead squirrel he is using as a puppet after he took out it’s insides while the blood is still dripping down his arm. Also, in case that sounds grosser than it should, he’s a taxidermist. So really, its not that gross… he does that sort of thing all day anyway. Hell, he gets paid for it! At least, that’s the kind of logic that you should live by if you read this book, which you should, because it’s pretty damn funny.

Lawson’s book is a collection of stories about her quirky life, mostly embarrassing and amusing moments that she brought upon herself (but sometimes not, when her father is involved) through her imagination, sense of humor and slight OCD. Everything from accidentally getting her arm stuck while learning to artificiality inseminate a cow in high school, to long illogical fights with her husband about leaving towels on the floor which end up being arguments about the zombie apocalypse.

I read this book by not reading it, some people call it cheating but I call it paying more than you would pay for a paperback to listen to a book being read to you thank you very much, which in short is called the Audiobook. Lawson even recognizes this fact in the beginning of her book and thanks the reader (listener), which I appreciate because yea, audiobooks can be a lot of money and it’s nice to be thanked sometimes.

My actual point here is that some books really succeed as audiobooks (see previous review of World War Z) and this is definitely one of them. Hearing Lawson talk about thinking there are Chupacabras in her walls or making her stuffed french pirate alligator talk to a stewardess on a plane, cannot be more funny than when it is said in her voice. I have witnessed the Chupacabra fever that grips Texans and actually attended the armadillo races that her father loves. So that probably gives me a little more familiarity with her humorous anecdotes. But really, anyone would find this book funny because Chupacabras and talking stuffed alligators are funny. That my friends, is just a fact.

Bossypants by Tina Fey

“Maybe it’s seventy years in the future and you found this book in a stack of junk being used to block the entrance of an abandoned Starbucks that is now a feeding station for the alien militia. If that’s the case, I have some questions for you. Such as: Did we really ruin the environment as much as we thought? and Is Glee still a thing?”

I admit it, I was hooked the minute I read the advance praise on amazon for Fey’s book.

“Absolutely delicious!” (A Guy Who Eats Books )

“I hope that’s not really the cover. That’s really going to hurt sales.” (Don Fey, Father of Tina Fey )

Much like her advance praise, the book itself is delightful and amusing. I finished it in one sitting today and couldn’t wait to proclaim to the world that here was a fun memoir about a famous person’s life that was enjoyable to read.

Fey doesn’t shy away from awkward personal details or embarrassing moments, she embraces them and makes them into a rollicking book that tells the story of her life.

Everything from getting her period for the first time..

I knew from commercials that one’s menstrual period was a blue liquid that you poured like laundry detergent onto maxi pads to test their absorbency. This wasn’t blue, so… I ignored it for a few hours.

to her first experience as a kindergartner..

I was so used to being praised and encouraged that when I finished my drawing I held it up to show Alex, who immediately ripped it in half. I didn’t have the language to express my feelings then, but my thoughts were something like “Oh, its like that, motherfucker? Got it.

As she grows up, we get to witness Fey learning at night improv classes and her interview that made her a writer for SNL. One of the most amusing parts is when we get to hear about the extremely hectic time of getting Oprah to appear on 30 Rock, while planning her kid’s birthday party and rehearsing Palin impressions for the now famous SNL skits.

In addition to the numerous anecdotes that make up the bulk of the book, we get old school pictures of Fey as a child, script writing from the Palin episodes, a hand written chart of her stress levels and a picture of her child’s birthday cake. We get to experience a lot of the most important moments of her life, especially those that are funny, touching and sweet. There are basically no sad moments, so I laughed my way through the whole book and finished it feeling happy and refreshed.

I think my favorite part of the book was the chapter about her father titled That’s Don Fey where she gives various examples of why she looks up too, loves and would never cross her father.

That’s Don Fey. He’s just a badass. He was a code breaker in Korea. he was a fireman in Philadelphia. He’s a skilled watercolorist. He’s written two mystery novels. He taught himself Greek so well that when he went to buy tickets to the Acropolis once, the docent told him “It’s free for Greek citizens.

I was so pleased when I finished reading it that I decided to make it my April giveaway.  Comment on this post and you’ll be entered to win a copy of this great memoir! Extra points for following me on twitter, retweeting giveaway links and following this blog as always.

If you don’t win it, I highly recommend you buy it or get some eager friend of yours that bought it already to lend it to you (yes, yes beth, I’m sending it to you as soon as I’m done with this review.) I have no doubt you’ll enjoy every second of it.