Book Review: Let’s Pretend This Never Happened

coverMany people like to think they grew up weird. Whether they themselves were the oddball in their square family or the straight lace with crooked kin, few can say with absolute certainty that they had a normal childhood (whatever that is). Then there is Jenny “the Bloggess” Lawson, beloved blogger and author of the memoir Let’s Just Pretend This Never Happened. She not only had a very… different childhood, her peculiarity continues to this day. Her memoir chronicles her interesting life so far, with promises of more books in the future. Followers of Lawson’s blog may recognize a few of the stories, but for the most part they are new and super awesome.

cathead1I laughed really hard while reading Let’s Just Pretend This Never Happened, (and while I was supposed to be paying attention in class.) Even though she inadvertently got me in trouble, I bear Lawson no grudge. I thoroughly enjoyed the childhood section of the memoir. Though her family was poor, Jenny, along with her younger sister Lisa, mostly enjoyed their time in a small town called Wall, Texas. The most interesting parts tended to be about her father. When he was not bringing home dangerous animals such as bobcats (and randomly throwing them on people), he was in his taxidermy shop covered in blood, making up fantasy animals, and hanging out with murderers and ex-convicts.

designall.dllJenny’s mother’s motto of “what won’t kill you makes you stronger” was tested on more than one occasion. From “quail” (actually turkey) attacks to radon in the well water, what the family lacked in money was made up in dangerous and potentially lethal situations. It’s a poor pamphlet on parenting, but a thought-provoking section nonetheless.

Another part in the book that would interest a small, but important section of the working world is when she worked in HR (human resources) for a religious organization. Here she reveals a close kept secret of the HR world: they are paid to look at porn. Well, actually they are paid to monitor people to make sure they are not looking at porn, but apparently people are always looking at porn. Really, anyone who has had a job can appreciate this section of the book, because we have all worked with crazy people, or know someone who has. If you haven’t, you are that person. Stop it.

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Know where the line is.

We also read about Jenny’s long-suffering husband Victor (a former Neil Patrick Harris look-alike), their sweet miracle of a daughter Hailey, and her cats Hunter S. Tomcat, Rolly and Ferris Mewler. However Jenny’s life is not all giant metal anniversary chickens and humanly taxidermy squirrels in cowboy hats. Though she has a sharp wit, and a stimulating mind, Jenny has more than a few issues. She has general anxiety disorder which causes her to have panic attacks, and fears crowds of people. She also has rheumatoid arthritis along with other problems that cause her no end of grief. Despite it all she has her sense of humor, and Lawson’s personality shines through every word she writes. There is no one else who is quite like her, and I highly recommend you check out this book. Though I read the book before I started reading her blog, I also would endorse her blog, which she updates regularly.

More Moore Please

Do you love vampires, taxidermy, demons, Native American gods, sea monsters, King Lear, zombies, Goths, whales, strong women, and Jesus? Your strange assortment of tastes aside, I got the perfect guy for you! Christopher Moore is an author with 12 very quotable novels. The silliness takes you from Pine Cove, a little town outside of San Francisco, to an Indian reservation, all the way to the bottom of the sea, and beyond.  His strange themes and surprisingly deep and funny (and often recurring) characters had me laughing out loud at inappropriate times. Moore takes tough issues like mourning the death of a love one and finds a way to make it funny. His famous work “Lamb: The Gospel of Biff Christ’s Childhood Pal” is an interesting look at how the missing years of Jesus’ life may have went. Biff and Jesus (whom Biff calls Joshua) go on a mystical journey throughout the world. While Joshua is gaining knowledge from his wise teachers, Biff is learning about the sexier side in order to “help Joshua understand sin.” Plus they learn Kung Fu!

Moore’s novels tend to be “stand alone,” but those who like trilogies (and the attractive undead) are in for a treat – “Blood Sucking Fiends”, “You Suck: A Love Story”, and “Bite Me!” are about the newly sired vampires Jody and Tommy terrorizing the streets of San Francisco while trying to satisfy their lust for blood, at least it would be if they were any good at it. Though my personal favorite is “A Dirty Job”, this novel is about a Beta Male named Charlie Asher whose life is turned upside down by the death of his wife Rachel, his lively baby daughter Sophie (who can kill people with the word ‘kitty’), strange glowing objects, and voices from the storm drains. With great characters like the Goth teenaged shop girl Lily Darquewillow Elventhing, her tragically perky Goth best friend Abby Normal, Charlie’s lesbian David Bowie look-alike sister Jane, the refreshing Minty Fresh, the not so fuzzy squirrel people, and His Majesty the Emperor of San Francisco. You’re sure to love it as much as I do. His latest work “Sacre Bleu: A Comedy d’Art” will be out April 3rd. Be sure to read it! It will rock your stripy socks!