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

Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir

byJenny Lawson

Paperback | March 5, 2013

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The #1 New York Times bestselling (mostly true) memoir from the hilarious author of Furiously Happy.

“Gaspingly funny and wonderfully inappropriate.”—O, The Oprah Magazine

When Jenny Lawson was little, all she ever wanted was to fit in. That dream was cut short by her fantastically unbalanced father and a morbidly eccentric childhood. It did, however, open up an opportunity for Lawson to find the humor in the strange shame-spiral that is her life, and we are all the better for it.

In the irreverent Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, Lawson’s long-suffering husband and sweet daughter help her uncover the surprising discovery that the most terribly human moments—the ones we want to pretend never happened—are the very same moments that make us the people we are today. For every intellectual misfit who thought they were the only ones to think the things that Lawson dares to say out loud, this is a poignant and hysterical look at the dark, disturbing, yet wonderful moments of our lives.

Readers Guide Inside
Known for her sardonic wit and her hysterically skewed outlook on life, Jenny Lawson has made millions of people question their own sanity, as they found themselves admitting that they, too, often wondered why Jesus wasn’t classified as a zombie, or laughed to the point of bladder failure when she accidentally forgot that she mailed he...
Title:Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True MemoirFormat:PaperbackDimensions:384 pages, 8.19 × 5.44 × 0.85 inPublished:March 5, 2013Publisher:Penguin Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0425261018

ISBN - 13:9780425261019


Rated 2 out of 5 by from Umm... yeah I really wanted to love this book because I’ve heard so many great things about it, but I just couldn’t get behind it. Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed some parts: Jenkins the turkey was hilarious and the part about giving birth to her daughter was incredibly touching. But her writing style is just way too exhausting for me. I can see why she’s such a popular blogger, but I just don’t think it translates well to writing a book. Maybe if she’d edited out all the extraneous crap, it would’ve worked better. If you love her blog though, you’ll love this book. If you like being talked at for 300 pages, you’ll also like this book. But otherwise, I’d give this a pass.
Date published: 2018-12-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I was that crazy person laughing on the bus I picked up this book at my local Indigo and opened it to a random page. Behold the chapter where Jenny hilariously relates, line-by-line, the GPS argument with her husband Victor as she drives around completely lost. I was sold! The only mistake I made was reading this book on public transit. As I worked my way from beginning to end, I was more or less laughing constantly. I became that person. That crazy person laughing on the bus. Jenny does touch on some darker parts of her life, and her irreverent writing style (and penchant for dropping 4 letter words!) may be off-putting to some readers. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and have since become a faithful reader of her blog.
Date published: 2018-08-17
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Hilarious! Not to be read in public unless you don’t mind being stared at. I found myself laughing out loud numerous times however I did find this book tiring on occasion. It was literally like sitting with one of your hyper friends who won’t stop talking. Stop and breathe for a minute! Funny. Just take it in small doses.
Date published: 2018-07-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Read! The Bloggess is amazingly blunt and entertaining. Did I mention hilarious?
Date published: 2018-06-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Prepare yourselves for side splitting laughter! This is one of my all-time favourite books! The book was initially loaned to me by my sister, and after the first chapter, I couldn't put it down. Not only was it completely relateable, it is funny. REALLY SERIOUSLY FUNNY! I read the book in record timing and gained some serious stomach muscles. I shortly soon after purchased my own copy and buy them for my friends when they need a good laugh or good read!
Date published: 2018-04-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Hilarious This book is hilarious! I loved reading it and the author has a way of keeping the reader entertained.
Date published: 2018-04-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Jenny is my favorite author So simple and funny. What a joy to read. #plumreview
Date published: 2018-03-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good Laugh! I couldn't stop laughing while reading this book. Loved every chapter, every page. I totally connected with the author. Loved the pictures shared along with each chapter.
Date published: 2018-03-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very funny Very, very funny. I enjoyed the first half quite a bit more, then found that it started to drag, but I I still enjoyed the book overall.
Date published: 2018-01-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Book I actually read Furiously Happy before this one, so I read this because of how much I loved it. I was not disappointed. It was funny and real and extremely enjoyable. I have already recommended this book to many of my friends
Date published: 2018-01-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Hilarious This is one of the funniest books I've ever read. I was crying I was laughing so hard in some parts. The author knows how to tell a story!
Date published: 2018-01-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Couldn't Stop Laughing From just reading the introduction I was already hooked. Right away I was already smiling and laughing so hard. This book is so quirky and unusual and really makes you laugh about those everyday awkward moments that happen in life.
Date published: 2017-12-17
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Fun read Fun read, not my favorite but it was entertaining
Date published: 2017-12-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it Funny, insightful. Jenny Lawson is a wonderful author.
Date published: 2017-11-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Literally LOL'd I made the mistake of reading this book on airplane - boy I must have looked odd while laughing out loud with a giant grin on my face. This book is hilarious.
Date published: 2017-11-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from so funny i laughed many times in the book and i cant wait to read more from the author.
Date published: 2017-11-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from its like reading my own diary just as i said above, it is like reading my own diary, same style,,same attention span. I spontaneously started to laugh while on the subway or at home with my boyfriend, because this book is absolutely hilarious. i shared it with my coworkers, i even gifted a copy to my best friend. everyone should read it. i am worried that i will not find a suitable book to read after finishing this one>
Date published: 2017-09-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Hilarious Jenny Lawson is a truly incredible writer. I don't think I've ever related to an author quite so much. Its like she's writing books just for me, so that I can read it and go through life thinking that I'm okay! She's so funny and so smart. I just love everything she writes!
Date published: 2017-08-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing! I LOVED THIS BOOK...I LOVE THIS BOOK! It is laugh-out-loud, read-on-a-bad-day, amazing! In some chapters, I laughed so hard, I cried. Lawson is a powerful voice that is genuine and in sharing her experience, she helps others to do the same!!
Date published: 2017-08-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing! This book had my laughing on every page! #plumreview
Date published: 2017-08-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic This was a gift from a cousin, bonding over a book was so much fun, and so many parts reflective of our own dysfunctional family! Love!
Date published: 2017-08-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from ROFL Absolutely loved this book. Pick it up whenever I need a spirit uplifting. I appreciate the fact that I don't have to read it cover to cover, but can come back to my favorite chapters when I need to. I have shared it with many of my friends.
Date published: 2017-07-28
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Rambling..... Although certain parts of this book were funny, her random, neurotic rambling was a bit too much for me (I listened to the audiobook version of this book).
Date published: 2017-07-28
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Maybe it's just me I'm really not a fan of this-is-so-dumb-it's-funny humour. Her constant effort to appear different and weird, the terrible writing, the flat and boring stories - here are a few of many reasons I did not enjoy this memoir. This wasn't "just ok", it was bad. But it's her life story so I'd feel wrong rating it a 1-star. At least the author was nice enough to warn against the "mostly true" business and the classic "you should not read this if you're sensitive or easily offended". You shouldn't read this, but not for those reasons.
Date published: 2017-07-10
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Maybe it's just me I'm really not a fan of this-is-so-dumb-it's-funny humour. Her constant effort to appear different and weird, the terrible writing, the flat and boring stories - here are a few of many reasons I did not enjoy this memoir. This wasn't "just ok", it was bad. But it's her life story so I'd feel wrong rating it a 1-star. At least the author was nice enough to warn against the "mostly true" business and the classic "you should not read this if you're sensitive or easily offended". You shouldn't read this, but not for those reasons.
Date published: 2017-07-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Laugh Out Loud Hilarious Hands down the funniest book I have read. I laughed out loud through most of the book.
Date published: 2017-07-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This Is Hilarious This book was receommended by my girlfriend and after watching her giggle her way through "Furiosly Happy" I had to pick it up. Not my usual reading materal, but lord this lady is funny. Definitely worth a read!
Date published: 2017-07-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Comedy within a Stretched Reality I was recommend this book by a friend and that generally turns out bad. This book was a great recommendation and I enjoyed every crazy page. Jenny Lawson is a very interesting person who keeps you guessing about what is a real account in her book and what is possible fiction. The best part is that she lets the reader decide to believe or not believe certain stories, which is very rare in books these days that either have to be classified as entirely fiction or entirely non-fiction. Each chapter is a new adventure and always changes pass in a way that keeps the reader interested such as just giving the account of one of her many stories or providing several quick exerts from her journal. At times, I was a little shocked at the humour and would hope for some chapters to end quickly, but this was rare and I often wanted the stories to continue. Plus she does apologize in the beginning for the stories that will often and when they do, it is refreshing because it is seldom that a story truly shocks someone in such a way. A wonderful read for anyone that has a twisted sense of humour or who want to give into that dark part of their interests by indulging in these truly insanely tales.
Date published: 2017-05-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love it! I've been following Jenny for a long time, and I love how relatable she is.
Date published: 2017-05-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic! This is Jenny Lawson's first book but I read it after her second. I will say I liked her second book more but both are wonderful. They make you laugh so hard you cry but Lawson also brings to light the difficulties she and many others face with mental illness. She makes a topic most people still try and hide, relatable and normal. She owns it and by embracing her flaws and uniqueness making it perfectly acceptable to be different! We need more people like her! #plumreview
Date published: 2017-05-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Simply Amazing As someone who has struggled with anxiety and OCD in the past, I found this book hilariously relateable. Very rarely am I able to sincerely laugh out loud at things that are intended to be funny, but I found myself doing that often while reading her book.
Date published: 2017-04-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it Funniest book i have reas in a long time.
Date published: 2017-04-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Genuinely funny. I found this book to be genuinely funny, and it's hard to make me laugh in writing. At first it's hard to believe the situations Jenny gets herself into (and how she handles them), but as you read you realize that's truly how and who she is. Jenny doesn't stray away from the tough stuff, adding comic relief to some of the darker times while not making light of the situations. Definitely would recommend this book, and definitely going to read her second book!
Date published: 2017-04-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very funny if you like sarcastic or dark humour I like sarcastic, dark, dry humour so found this book relate-able and funny.
Date published: 2017-04-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from So funny! I read this because it was chosen as a book club read. Oh my,am I glad I did!! I can't recall ever crying with laughter when reading a book until now. I just ordered Jenny's other two books and cannot wait to get at them!
Date published: 2017-03-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Just Read This Book You won't be sorry -- it is funny, poignant and amazing. I had read this author's blog periodically over the past couple of years, so I was excited to read her book. Each chapter is a treat in and of itself. I can't wait to read other books by this author!
Date published: 2017-03-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved loved loved this read. I read this in book club, and have since been recommending it to anyone who will listen. Laugh out loud, witty, touching and just an all around great read.
Date published: 2017-03-21
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Crazy read I really enjoyed the honest sharing Lawson does when discussing her struggle with mental health and how she overcomes it and stays positive. Sad content made funny and happy
Date published: 2017-03-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Your new favourite! While your at it, pick up her first book too! I love Jenny Lawson and her style of writing. Reading her books made me feel so comfortable with the anxiety I deal with on a daily basis. She makes you feel like you're not alone and that it's going to be okay. Her book will have you laughing out loud the whole time, as well as give you important insights on a life living with mental illness.
Date published: 2017-03-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Laugh Out Loud I picked this book up for my flight home. I spent the whole flight home giggling and snickering as I read about the authors childhood and the next few days laughing out loud as she outlined her adult years. Readers should be aware that there is some swearing in the book and there are some parts that are somewhat depressing to read. But on the whole I really liked this book - and I just skipped over the chapters I didn't like because unlike most memoirs you don't need to read every page to understand what's happening. Its more like a 'Chicken Soup for the Soul' book, except only from the perspective of a single persons life story.
Date published: 2017-03-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from i laughed, i cried! This book was hilarious. I laughed out loud, I also cried in parts. It almost feels like you are sitting down and having an honest conversation with the author. If you are a fan of the bloggess, you will love this book.
Date published: 2017-03-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One Of The Funniest Books I've Read I first came across this book while reading book reviews in a magazine and the review peaked my interest. This happened to be at a particularly stressful time in my life and, frankly, for my whole family so I was determined to buy a humorous book to relieve some stress and cheer myself up. There were many parts in this "mostly true memoire" where I literally laughed out loud, many of which I insisted on reading aloud to my mother and brother. They too found the anecdotes funny, though I have a feeling I was starting to get on their nerves with the constant interruptions to their activities to read passages from the book. Adding to the humour are photos throughout the book from the author's life of herself, family, pets, and of course some creative and beloved taxidermy!
Date published: 2017-02-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Too funny I started reading this by myself in a pub, and ended up chuckling myself into looking like a crazy person! Best read where people won't judge you, but well-worth it either way!
Date published: 2017-02-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I cried laughing Funniest book ever written
Date published: 2017-02-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding Humour Honestly one of the funniest memoirs I've ever read. Her writing is real relatable, and I can't wait to read more of her stuff.
Date published: 2017-02-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Laugh out Loud Jenny writes her memoirs in a way that has you feeling like you were there. Chapter after chapter I continued to laugh out loud at her childhood recounts #plumreview
Date published: 2017-02-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from just good There is no shame in mediocrity
Date published: 2017-01-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best Memoir Ever This book was so funny. You will laugh until you cry and then laugh some more. Enjoy!
Date published: 2017-01-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Laughing out loud I loved this book, received it as a gift from a friend and couldn't put it down. During many parts I was actually laughing out loud, tears in my eyes. Jenny gives a colourful spin to just about everything.
Date published: 2017-01-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Interesting! I have never read a book quite like this. Jenny is sure a character! Funny, and extremely witty, I had a few times where I had to laugh out loud. I enjoyed her childhood stories the most. This book took me a while to read as I found it almost too much to read in long sittings. She always had to add humour to everything, and sometimes it was a bit over the top for me.
Date published: 2017-01-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from great book So funny. Definitely laugh out loud.
Date published: 2017-01-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Totally Hilarious! I don't want to give anything away so I will only say this... get ready to Laugh Out Loud! My family members gave me many a curious eye as I read this novel, it had me crying and laughing, sometimes simultaneously! Jenny is a truly gifted writer and such a kind soul!
Date published: 2017-01-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from LOL I literally laughed out loud on multiple occasions reading this making me look like a crazy lady on the subway. I loved the raw humanity Lawson emits and true emotion that really touched me. She makes crazy - normal in a weird way that works like you wouldn't imagine. I can't recommend her enough. Just simply love it.
Date published: 2017-01-11
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Specific Bag of Tricks, But Good Ones (Mostly) Kind of loses steam around the second half of this book, but the first half was rather enjoyable, if repetitive. If repetitive, repetitive.
Date published: 2017-01-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved It! I loved this book! Loved it even more than Furiously Happy if that is possible. This one focused more on her childhood which I enjoyed and the last little bit got me where she steps in between her daughter and an attacking dog and she is thankful that her husband wasn't surprised she would do that. That part got me emotional. And the end when she is talking about the different experiences we have and how important it is to welcome each one. A wonderful read and definitely one you should read.
Date published: 2017-01-09
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not my fave I could not get into this novel, it was not as entertaining as people have wrote.
Date published: 2017-01-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Worth the read One of the best books I have read in a long time. You will want to read it again and again! #plumreview
Date published: 2017-01-04
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Had to read this in small doses... I get that the author is trying to get people to understand her "weird and crazy" but it's too much. It's like the entire book is one non-stop sentence with stories that are...mostly true...? It's hard to take her or her mental illness seriously if she can't. This will make some readers laugh for a bit but half way through you'll probably have had enough.
Date published: 2016-12-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absolutely Hilarious I have never laughed so hard reading a book!
Date published: 2016-12-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Favourite book! This is undoubtedly the funniest memoir/book I have ever read! I've recommended it to everyone that I know who has a sense of humour.
Date published: 2016-12-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Funniest book I've ever read This book was absolutely hilarious. It had me laughing out loud. Safe to say that I couldn't put it down.
Date published: 2016-12-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Read This Book! I love this book! I laughed at most parts and cried during some parts too. In it, the author talks a lot about her family life. She also opens up about her struggles to have a baby and dealing with anxiety. It felt a bit like I was reading my own story. I related to Jenny on so many levels. I can't recommend this book enough.
Date published: 2016-12-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Inappropriately hilarious Didn't expect this book to be this funny!
Date published: 2016-12-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Hilarious This book is funny, sad, beautiful all in one. Love it so much #plumreview
Date published: 2016-11-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Funny! Good read, especially for a plane ride or day at the beach.
Date published: 2016-11-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Too Funny I don't normally read these kinds of books but glad I read this one. I laughed through the entire book. Sometimes so hard I had tears. Great read for all people.
Date published: 2016-11-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Another Good Read I love Jenny Lawson. Her story and her life and her spirit are so inspiring to me and I recommend this to anyone dealing with depression or just needing a good laugh. Read her books, read her blog, love her because she is wonderful
Date published: 2016-11-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from SOOOO GOOD! This book is fantastic. Jenny Lawson is hilarious, and so open and honest. LOVE this book, and LOVE her blog!
Date published: 2016-11-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Another great book of Jenny Lawson! I loved this book and the stories were extremely funny! I can relate to some of her stories! Love this book!!!
Date published: 2016-11-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from LOVED IT this book kept me laughing until the end! definately a "need to read again" book!!
Date published: 2016-11-09
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Funny, but a little much I had some laugh-out-loud moments with this book. However, they were mostly in the first half, and by the end the novelty and shock value had worn off. I was glad that I borrowed this rather than bought it. #plumreview
Date published: 2016-11-04
Rated 1 out of 5 by from May be funny to teenagers that have no respect for reading. I have never written a review of a book, until now. This is due to the fact that I have never been disappointed by a literary purchase as much as I have been by this substandard, published item. I have been a reader from my earliest years. I have read hundreds of works including: historical, science fiction, horror, fantasy, crime, drama, psychological thrillers, character studies, war stories, youth literature, biographies, autobiographies, even some that are hard to classify. Throughout every book I have 99% of the time taken at least some small pleasure or intellectual boost. With the other 1% I may have been disappointed emotionally or have disagreed enough to not finish reading but still respect the author's point of view enough to pass the book forward. Let's Pretend This Never Happened is the first book I have burned. First of all the readability score of this item is lower than a newspaper article. (I've always been told newspapers are written at a grade 4 level.) Second, I am not a prudish person when it comes to offensive language, especially when demonstrating a character's upbringing or, emotion or, age/grade level, etc, but Jenny Lawson's use of offensive language seems to only reflect her lack of respect to the reader or she uses it as a draw for a very low grade level reader. (Again I must say, I have sworn at small things and I hear cursing all the time without being offended.) Finally this work's content is of such a low caliber that a collection of short stories written as homework by a class of uninterested grade 10's would be a pleasure compared to this. (Yes, I am a highschool teacher.) I have lost all respect for the New York Times Bestseller List. I have also lost respect for those who write the reviews posted in and on the book. I will still keep reading Neil Gaiman but will not read his suggestions.
Date published: 2016-03-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Funniest book ever! I have read this book numerous times and never fail to laugh out loud
Date published: 2016-01-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Pure Bloggess! I've loved Jenny Lawson's blog, "The Bloggess", since her story of acquiring Beyonce went viral and we all broke the internet. I think of Jenny as a shining light on dark humor. She's funny and touching, sometimes both at once, and I recommend this book.
Date published: 2014-05-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good for silly people (like me) If you have a silly sense of humour, this book is definitely up your alley. Kind of auto-biographical, but totally goofy. (Think John Grogan but nuttier).
Date published: 2014-04-22
Rated 2 out of 5 by from First half is better than the second half I read this book when I was camping and it was entertaining-at least the first half of the book. The author has a very eccentric childhood with a father who is a taxidermist. The author also details how her nervousness/ anxiety impacted her through school and turns puts a humerous spin on the mental health issue at times. My favourite parts especially entail the 'puppet' baby squirrels and looking through the movie list and imagining what it would be like to see the actual film. I think we can all kind of relate to those times when we didn't question the (insane) request of our parents....hopefully... However I find after the author gets married she starts describing the daily grind more so than the usual oddities. At this point I stopped reading because I just didn't want to read about someone's married life with kids (I could go to facebook for that).  If you are somewhat twisted and have a sense of humour you will probably enjoy this book or atleast the first half. 
Date published: 2014-03-15
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Interesting This book started off as being very humorous, but the humor started to wear a little thin by the time I was half way through. Perhaps, some serious material to offset the humor would have held my interest.
Date published: 2014-02-03
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Ugh Don't see what all the fuss is all about. I couldn't be bothered finishing this book and kicked it to the curb. 
Date published: 2014-01-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from too funny one of my all time favourite books... i feel like if i wrote a book it would be like this. You can relate to the author in a way you would never believe, i laughed, i cried... just great
Date published: 2014-01-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best Read of My Year This is the most original and hilarious memoir I've ever read. So much so I've shared it with many reader friends. Can NOT wait for a second book!!
Date published: 2014-01-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Funniest. Book. Ever. I bought this on my Kobo app. I have never laughed so much. I read the post it notes chapter to everyone I know, tears running down my face. Then I bought 3 hardcopy books so I could share this dose of healthy laughter with my friends for christmas. Then I thought of more people in my life that would love it, so I bought 3 paperback books, keeping one to lend to my friends, the rest as just because presents. I seriously love this girl and could relate in so many ways. It has inspired me, actually, to start writing down (beep) my husband says to me. Get this book. Read it. Get it for all your friends. Warning, lots of swearing, so maybe don't get it for people easily offended. Then read it again a year later.
Date published: 2013-05-06

Read from the Book

This book is a love letter to my family. It’s about the surprising discovery that the most terribly human moments—the ones we want to pretend never happened—are the very same moments that make us who we are today. I’ve reserved the very best stories of my life for this book…to celebrate the strange, and to give thanks for the bizarre. Because you are defined not by life’s imperfect moments, but by your reaction to them. And because there is joy in embracing—rather than running screaming from—the utter absurdity of life. I thank my family for teaching me that lesson. In spades.Why, Yes,There Is a Methodto My Madness IntroductionThis book is totally true, except for the parts that aren’t. It’s basically like Little House on the Prairie but with more cursing. And I know, you’re thinking, “But Little House on the Prairie was totally true!” and no, I’m sorry, but it wasn’t. Laura Ingalls was a compulsive liar with no fact-checker, and probably if she was still alive today her mom would be saying, “I don’t know how Laura came up with this whole ‘I’m-a-small-girl-on-the-prairie’ story. We lived in New Jersey with her aunt Frieda and our dog, Mary, who was blinded when Laura tried to bleach a lightning bolt on her forehead. I have no idea where she got the ‘and we lived in a dugout’ thing, although we did take her to Carlsbad Caverns once.”And that’s why I’m better than Laura Ingalls. Because my story is ninety percent accurate, and I really did live in a dugout.1 The reason this memoir is only mostly true instead of totally true is that I relish not getting sued. Also, I want my family to be able to say, “Oh, that never happened. Of course we never actually tossed her out of a moving car when she was eight. That’s one of those crazy things that isn’t quite the truth.” (And they’re right, because the truth is that I was nine. I was sitting on my mom’s lap when my dad made a hard left, the door popped open, and I was tossed out like a sack full of kittens. My mom managed to grab my arm, which would have been helpful if my father had actually stopped the car, but apparently he didn’t notice or possibly thought I’d just catch up, and so my legs were dragged through a parking lot that I’m pretty sure was paved with broken glass and used syringes. (I learned three lessons from this experience: One: that vehicle safety in the late seventies was not exceptional for children. Two: that you should always leave before the officials arrive, as the orangeish sting of the medicinal acid applied by a sadistic ambulance driver will hurt far worse than any injury you can sustain being dragged behind a car. And three: that “Don’t make me come back there” is an empty threat, unless your father has been driving four hours with two screaming kids and he suddenly gets very quiet, in which case you should lock your door or at least remember to tuck and roll. I’m not saying he intentionally threw me out of a moving car, just that an opportunity presented itself and that my father is a dangerous man who shouldn’t be trusted.)2Did you notice how, like, half of this introduction was a rambling parenthetical? That shit is going to happen all the time. I apologize in advance for that, and also for offending you, because you’re going to get halfway through this book and giggle at non sequiturs about Hitler and abortions and poverty, and you’ll feel superior to all the uptight, easily offended people who need to learn how to take a fucking joke, but then somewhere in here you’ll read one random thing that you’re sensitive about, and everyone else will think it’s hysterical, but you’ll think, “Oh, that is way over the line.” I apologize for that one thing. Honestly, I don’t know what I was thinking. 1. I never actually lived in a dugout. But I did totally go to Carlsbad Caverns once.2. When I read these stories to friends I’m always shocked when they stop me to ask, “Wait, is that true?” during the most accurate of all of the stories. The things that have been changed are mainly names and dates, but the stories you think couldn’t possibly have happened? Those are the real ones. As in real life, the most horrible stories are the ones that are the truest. And, as in real life, the reverse is true as well. I Was a Three-Year-Old ArsonistCall me Ishmael. I won’t answer to it, because it’s not my name, but it’s much more agreeable than most of the things I’ve been called. “Call me ‘that-weird-chick-who-says-“fuck”-a-lot’” is probably more accurate, but “Ishmael” seems classier, and it makes a way more respectable beginning than the sentence I’d originally written, which was about how I’d just run into my gynecologist at Starbucks and she totally looked right past me like she didn’t even know me. And so I stood there wondering whether that’s something she does on purpose to make her clients feel less uncomfortable, or whether she just genuinely didn’t recognize me without my vagina. Either way, it’s very disconcerting when people who’ve been inside your vagina don’t acknowledge your existence. Also, I just want to clarify that I don’t mean “without my vagina” like I didn’t have it with me at the time. I just meant that I wasn’t, you know…displaying it while I was at Starbucks. That’s probably understood, but I thought I should clarify, since it’s the first chapter and you don’t know that much about me. So just to clarify, I always have my vagina with me. It’s like my American Express card. (In that I don’t leave home without it. Not that I use it to buy stuff with.)This book is a true story about me and my battle with leukemia, and (spoiler alert) in the end I die, so you could just read this sentence and then pretend that you read the whole book. Unfortunately, there’s a secret word somewhere in this book, and if you don’t read all of it you won’t find out the secret word. And then the people in your book club will totally know that you stopped reading after this paragraph and will realize that you’re a big, fat fake.Okay, fine. The secret word is “Snausages.”The end.Still there? Good. Because the secret word is not really “Snausages,” and I don’t even know how to spell “leukemia.” This is a special test that you can use to see who really read the book. If someone in your book club even mentions Snausages or leukemia, they are a liar and you should make them leave and probably you should frisk them as you’re throwing them out, because they may have stolen some of your silverware. The real secret word is “fork.”1I grew up a poor black girl in New York. Except replace “black” with “white,” and “New York” with “rural Texas.” The “poor” part can stay. I was born in Austin, Texas, which is known for its popular “Keep Austin Weird” campaign, and since I’ve spent my whole life being pigeonholed as “that weird girl,” I ended up fitting in there perfectly and-lived-happily-ever-after. The-end. This is probably what would have been the end of my book if my parents hadn’t moved us away from Austin when I was three.I have pretty much no memory of Austin, but according to my mom we lived in a walk-up apartment near the military base, and late at night I would stand up in my crib, open the curtains, and attempt to wave soldiers on the street up to my room. My father was one of those soldiers at the time, and when my mom told me this story as a teenager I pointed out that perhaps she should have appreciated my getting him off the streets like that. Instead she and my father just moved my crib away from the window, because they were concerned I was “developing an aptitude for that kind of trade.” Apparently I was really distraught about this whole arrangement, because the very next week I shoved a broom into the living room furnace, set it on fire, and ran through the apartment screaming and swinging the flaming torch around my head. Allegedly. I have no memory of this at all, but if it did happen I suspect I was probably waving it around like some kinda awesomely patriotic, flaming baton. To hear my mother tell it, I was viciously brandishing it at her like she was Frankenstein’s monster and I was several angry villagers. My mother refers to this as my first arson episode. I refer to it as a lesson in why rearranging someone else’s furniture is dangerous to everyone. We’ve agreed to disagree on the wording.Shortly after that incident, we packed up and moved to the small, violently rural town of Wall, Texas. My parents claimed it was because my dad’s enlistment had ended, and my mom found herself pregnant with my little sister and wanted to be closer to family, but I suspect it was because they realized there was something wrong with me and believed that growing up in the same small West Texas town that they’d grown up in might change me into a normal person. This was one of many things that they were wrong about. (Other things they were wrong about: the existence of the tooth fairy, the “timeless appeal” of fake wood paneling, the wisdom of leaving a three-year-old alone with a straw broom and a furnace.)If you compared the Wall, Texas, of today with the Wall, Texas, of my childhood, you would hardly recognize it, because the Wall, Texas, of today has a gas station. And if you think having a gas station is not that big of a deal, then you’re probably the kind of person who grew up in a town that has a gas station, and that doesn’t encourage students to drive to school in their tractors.Wall is basically a tiny town with…um…dirt? There’s a lot of dirt. And cotton. And gin, but not the good kind. In Wall, when people refer to gin they’re talking about the Cotton Gin, which is the only real business in the town and is like a factory that turns cotton into…something else. I honestly have no idea. Different cotton, maybe? I never actually bothered to learn, because I always figured that within days I would be escaping this tiny country town, and that’s pretty much how my entire life went for the next twenty years.Our yearbook theme one year was simply “Where’s Wall?” because it was the question you’d get asked every time you told someone you lived there. The original—and more apt—theme had been “Where the fuck is Wall?” but the yearbook teacher quickly shot down that concept, saying that age-appropriate language was important, even at the cost of journalistic accuracy.Those things on the back cover are cotton balls. No shit, y’all.When I was asked where Wall was, I would always answer with a vague “Oh, that direction,” with a wave of my hand, and I quickly learned that if I didn’t immediately change the subject to something to break their train of thought (My personal standby: “Look! Sea monsters!”), then they’d ask the inevitable (and often incredulous) follow-up question of “Why Wall?” and you were never entirely sure whether they were asking why the hell you’d choose to live there, or why anyone would choose to name a town “Wall,” but it didn’t actually matter, because no one seemed to have a legitimate answer for either.Unfortunately, pointing out sea monsters was neither subtle nor believable (mostly because we were completely landlocked), so instead I began compensating for Wall’s beigey blandness by making up interesting but unverifiable stories about the small town. “Oh, Wall?” I’d say, with what I imagined was a sophisticated sneer. “It’s the city that invented the dog whistle.” Or, “It’s the town that Footloose was based on. Kevin Bacon is our national hero.” Or, “I’m not surprised you’ve never heard of it. It was the scene of one of the most gruesome cannibalistic slaughters in American history. We don’t talk about it, though. I shouldn’t even be mentioning it. Let’s never speak of it again.” I’d hoped that the last one would give me an air of mystery and make people fascinated with our lurid history, but instead it just made them concerned about my mental health, and eventually my mother heard about my tall tales and pulled me aside to tell me that no one was buying it, and that the town was most likely named after someone whose last name happened to be Wall. I pointed out that perhaps he’d been named that because he was the man who’d invented walls, and she sighed impatiently, pointing out that it would be hard to believe that a man had invented walls when most of them couldn’t even be bothered to close the bathroom door while they’re using it. She could tell that I was disappointed at the lack of anything remotely redeeming about our town, and conceded halfheartedly that perhaps the name came from a metaphoric wall, designed to keep something out. Progress was my guess. My mother suggested it was more likely boll weevils.I sometimes wonder what it would have been like to have a childhood that was not like mine. I have no real frame of reference, but when I question strangers I’ve found that their childhood generally had much less blood in it, and also that strangers seem uncomfortable when you question them about their childhood. But really, what else are you going to talk about in line at the liquor store? Childhood trauma seems like the natural choice, since it’s the reason why most of us are in line there to begin with. I’ve found, though, that people are more likely to share their personal experiences if you go first, so that’s why I always keep an eleven-point list of what went wrong in my childhood to share with them. Also I usually crack open a bottle of tequila to share with them, because alcohol makes me less nervous, and also because I’m from the South, and in Texas we offer drinks to strangers even when we’re waiting in line at the liquor store. In Texas we call that “southern hospitality.” The people who own the liquor store call it “shoplifting.” Probably because they’re Yankees.I’m not allowed to go back to that liquor store.2 1. “Fork” is not really the real secret word. There isn’t actually a secret word. Because this is a book, y’all. Not a fucking spy movie.2. Author’s note: My editor informs me that this doesn’t count as a chapter, because nothing relevant happens in it. I explained that that’s because this is really just an introduction to the next chapter and probably should be combined with the next chapter, but I separated it because I always find it’s nice to have short chapters that you can finish quickly so you can feel better about yourself. Plus, if your English teacher assigned you to read the first three chapters of this book you’ll already be finished with the first two, and in another ten minutes you can go watch movies about sexy, glittery vampires, or whatever the hell you kids are into nowadays. Also, you should thank your English teacher for assigning you this book, because she sounds badass. You should probably give her a bottle from the back of your parents’ liquor cabinet to thank her for having the balls to choose this book over The Red Badge of Courage. Something single-malt.You’re welcome, English teachers. You totally owe me.Wait. Hang on. It just occurred to me that if English teachers assigned this book as required reading, that means that the school district just had to buy a ton of my books, so technically I owe you one, English teachers. Except that now that I think about it, my tax dollars paid for those books, so technically I’m kind of paying for people to read my own book, and now I don’t know whether to be mad or not. This footnote just turned into a goddamn word problem.You know what? Fuck it. Just send me half of the malt liquor you get from your students and we’ll call it even.Also, is this the longest footnote in the history of ever? Answer: Probably.

Bookclub Guide

INTRODUCTIONWhen Jenny Lawson was little, all she ever wanted was to fit in. That dream was cut short by her fantastically unbalanced father and a morbidly eccentric childhood. It did, however, open up an opportunity for Lawson to find the humor in the strange shame–spiral that is her life, and we are all the better for it.In the irreverent Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, Lawson’s long–suffering husband and sweet daughter help her uncover the surprising discovery that the most terribly human moments—the ones we want to pretend never happened—are the very same moments that make us the people we are today. For every intellectual misfit who thought they were the only ones to think the things that Lawson dares to say out loud, this is a poignant and hysterical look at the dark, disturbing, yet wonderful moments of our lives. ABOUT JENNY LAWSONJenny Lawson is a columnist and one of the most popular bloggers on Twitter (hundreds of thousands of followers). Her blog, averages between 2–3 million page views per month. Jenny lives in the Texas Hill Country with her husband and daughter. DISCUSSION QUESTIONSWhat specific aspects of Lawson’s childhood particularly intrigued or repelled you? Is it possible to have both reactions at the same time?What are some ways in which the book explores themes of individuality?Were you surprised by the ending of Stanley the Magical Squirrel? Is it possible to find laughter in such horrific stories?Lawson describes her hometown as “violently rural” and struggles to find a point to its existence. In your opinion, did growing up in this town help or hinder her?Some reviewers have said this book is about individuality, and others feel it’s a book about family. What do you believe is the overall theme of the book?Lawson and her husband have extremely different personalities, beliefs, and political backgrounds, yet they’ve managed to stay happily married. What is behind the success of their relationship? In what ways can being opposites help people in a relationship?Lawson wrote about her OCD, phobias, and other mental struggles. Did this make her more or less relatable to you? Have you or has someone you know had a phobia or mental illness so severe that it affected your life?Lawson made the decision to infuse humor into even her most traumatic stories of dealing with infertility, loss, and arthritis. What do you think of this choice? Have you ever used humor for healing?Lawson had family members read and vet the book before it was published, giving them the opportunity to give their opinions on the writing. Is this a good idea for a memoirist? Is it ultimately stifling or respectful? Are there times when someone’s life story is not his or hers to tell?What did you think about the author’s voice, her use of run–on sentences, stream–of–consciousness narrative, profanity, and invented words to create a unique narrative?In the chapter about infertility, Lawson discusses her struggles with suicidal tendencies. What purpose does this section have in the narrative?This book deals with mental illness, poverty, suicide, miscarriage, disease, and other traumatic subjects, yet most people consider it a humor book. Do you agree with this classification?What was your favorite story? Why?Of all the people described in the book, whom did you most relate to or empathize with, and why?What do you think Lawson was looking for in her life? Do you think she has found it?

Editorial Reviews

Praise for Let's Pretend This Never Happened“Really funny.”—Reese Witherspoon “Even when I was funny, I wasn’t this funny.”—Augusten Burroughs, author of Running with Scissors and This Is How “Lawson’s self-deprecating humor is not only gaspingly funny and wonderfully inappropriate; it allows her to speak...in a real and raw way.”—O, The Oprah Magazine “Fucked up in the best possible way. Adorably offensive.”—Jesus (*The author’s hairdresser. You can tell him apart from that other Jesus because they pronounce their names differently.) “Jenny Lawson is hilarious, snarky, witty, totally inappropriate, and ‘Like Mother Teresa, Only Better.’”—Marie Claire “[Lawson] writes with a rambling irreverence that makes you wish she were your best friend.”—Entertainment Weekly “The funniest memoir ever about a talking squirrel, anxiety disorder, couch etiquette, and more. Believe us, Lawson is hilarious.”—Ladies’ Home Journal “GET READY. Jenny has such a disturbing, ill-mannered, rich sense of humor you will wonder, ‘Am I the sick one for laughing?’ Everyone I gave the book to confirmed: We must all be sick, because this book IS HYSTERICAL...and yet it was also strangely touching at times. It’s one of my favorite books in the past five years.”—Kathryn Stockett, # 1 New York Times bestselling author of The Help “Funny, raunchy, and unexpectedly uplifting…Let’s Pretend will leave you hoping that Lawson’s next book happens and soon.”—People “Take one part David Sedaris and two parts Chelsea Handler and you’ll have some inkling of the cockeyed humor of Jenny Lawson…[She] flaunts the sort of fearless comedic chops that will make you spurt Diet Coke through your nose.”—Parade