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

Pricing and Purchase Info

$19.44 online 
$22.00 list price save 11%
Earn 97 plum® points

In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Available in stores


From the New York Times bestselling author of Furiously Happy...

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.

Includes a new chapter!

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, 8.2 × 5.5 × 0.8 inPublished:March 5, 2013Publisher:Penguin Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0425261018

ISBN - 13:9780425261019

Look for similar items by category:


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 FANTASTIC!! 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! 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 5 out of 5 by from Absolutely Hilarious!! My husband was given this book but he doesn't read so it sat on the night table for several months. I didn't gravitate to it as the cover didn't impress me but you know what they say about not judging a book by its cover! It's so true. I started this book a week ago and I can hardly put it down. Last night I was laughing so hard out loud that I was crying. I think this may truly be the funniest book I have ever read.
Date published: 2016-06-07
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 Hilarious Loved it. I found myself laughing out loud in public uncontrollably every time I read it (then trying to pretend I was coughing to avoid completely embarrassing myself). I keep going back to it and it hasn't lost any of its charm. Looking forward to her follow-up book!
Date published: 2015-10-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from So funny I love how hilarious this book is. She is awkward, witty, and funny all at the same time! I would recommend it to anyone that enjoys light reading with a sense of humor.
Date published: 2015-09-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Never a dull moment Extremely honest, unlike anything ive ever read. 100% enjoyment. Only mistake I made was reading it in public! Large outloud laughs garner some strange looks from passerbys, or the other peoole waiting in the doctors office!
Date published: 2015-05-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Couldn't stop laughing Seriously funny book. I can't think of any other book that made me laugh as much as this one did. I laughed I cried. It was better than Cats.
Date published: 2015-01-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Terribly Human I love the Bloggess, and her memoir showcases all the best of her zany adventures with her signature irreverent humour. The book is a hilarious look into the life of a woman whose irreverent perspective of the world shows good humour in the face of her own embarrassment. So funny!
Date published: 2014-11-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I Died Laughing I laughed out loud. I read passages out loud to my husband and he laughed out loud, too. Whenever I see the friend who recommended the book to me, we recall certain passages and laugh out loud. So prepare yourself for a lot of laughing out loud, okay? The book's first half is better than the second, but the first half is so hysterical that I can't even fault it for that.
Date published: 2014-10-30
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Let's pretend this never happened. I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone. Too crazy.
Date published: 2014-08-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Moar pls I laughed, I cried, I laughed until I cried and cried until I laughed. Her descriptions of anxiety are awkward and uncomfortable and hilarious and the best I've read to date.
Date published: 2014-08-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Easy read Laugh out loud funny! Once you start reading it you'll have a hard time putting it down!
Date published: 2014-08-09
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Let's pretend this never happened Nope. I've read some hilarious bio's and this one is entertaining but the scrambles and scrambles of sentences got old, really fast. Although this woman remind me of me in a lot of ways, I would think that writing a book about her awesome messed up weird life would have some flow to it. Be a good movie though!!
Date published: 2014-07-26
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 5 out of 5 by from I give it 5 stars! The most hilarious and entertaining book I've ever read!
Date published: 2014-04-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Strange, weird, hysterical Life is weird. Strange things happen. No one is normal. Reading this book is just confirmation. Light, fun, and sarcastic.
Date published: 2014-03-17
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 5 out of 5 by from Let's Pretend this Never Happened This is the funniest book I have ever read. I truly laughed out loud at least once every chapter. The stories were outrageous and yet believable since she had pictures of the events to back it up. The author is certifiable crazy and her husband Victor is a saint to put up with her! I recommend this book to anyone who needs to put some perspective into their own life. Also to have a really good laugh!
Date published: 2014-02-17
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 5 out of 5 by from Let's Pretend this Never Happened This book made me laugh out lough more times then I can count. I didn't know if this book was fiction or non fiction. Its quirky and entertaining. Great read!
Date published: 2014-01-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Let's Pretend this Never Happened A great read! Lawson shares insight into her life and lets the reader know that they aren't alone when it comes to weird and wonderful life experiences. In some chapters I laughed out loud, and others I cried - because I can certainly relate to those "let's pretend this never happened" moments. She writes in a way that makes you feel like you are there (pictures included) and as if you are speaking to her over coffee. Not for the faint of heart or the easily offended!
Date published: 2014-01-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Let's Pretend this Never Happened Oh my goodness...a wonderful, compassionate and crazy look at human foibles! Jenny Lawson has written with keen insight and self-deprecating humor about her life as daughter, sister, wife, mom and friend. It's a laugh out loud hoot of a book, in which every honest human being can see a little of themselves. Loved it.
Date published: 2014-01-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Let's Pretend this Never Happened One of the best books I have read in years. I have gifted a copy to my daughter and close friends, and it's unanimously loved.
Date published: 2014-01-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Let's Pretend this Never Happened A very funny book, exploring the importance of memory and families.
Date published: 2014-01-25
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 Really funny Very true very heartfelt and very funny. When I passed the book over to my husband since he kept asking why I was laughing he said it was too close to what he lives everyday to be that funny to him, so maybe don't read this if your wife is super awesome
Date published: 2014-01-15
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 Amazing Amazing my pick me up when ever I am down. I have been a loyal follower of her blog for years.
Date published: 2013-12-18
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

“Lawson’s self-deprecating humor is not only gaspingly funny and wonderfully inappropriate; it allows her to speak about subjects like depression, anxiety, and infertility in a real and raw way.”—O, The Oprah Magazine“The Bloggess writes stuff that actually is laugh-out-loud, but you know that really you shouldn’t be laughing and probably you’ll go to hell for laughing, so maybe you shouldn’t read it. That would be safer and wiser.”—Neil Gaiman, #1 New York Times bestselling author“Akin to Sedaris if he were an anxiety-stricken Texas mother with a fascination with the zombie apocalypse…The randomness only adds to the charm…Did a cougar casually stroll through her backyard last week? Does she really have a zombie kit stashed under her bed? Who cares? The world Lawson inhabits, however much invented, is a glorious place to be.”—The Washington Post“Jenny Lawson’s writing is nothing less than revolutionary…I say this without a hint of exaggeration: She may be one of the most progressive women’s voices of our time.”—Karen Walrond, author of The Beauty of Different“Jenny Lawson will make you laugh again and again—at things you didn’t even know were funny. And what’s more, she can write. What she knows about pacing, punch lines, setups, and surprises could fill a book. Lucky for us, it’s this one.”—Katherine Center, author of Get Lucky“[Lawson] creates a comic character that readers will engage with in shocked dismay as they gratefully turn the pages.”—Kirkus Reviews“Random and/or pointless babble can be funny as all heck and tarnation, and that’s hardly ‘pointless.’”—MSNBC on Jenny Lawson“There’s something wrong with Jenny Lawson—magnificently wrong. I defy you to read her work and not hurt yourself laughing.”—Jen Lancaster, New York Times bestselling authorLet’s PretendThis Never Happened(A Mostly True Memoir)Jenny LawsonTHE BLOGGESSBerkley Books, New York 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 MadnessIntroductionThis 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.21. “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.My Childhood: David Copperfield Meets Guns & Ammo MagazineI’ve managed to pinpoint several key differences between my childhood and that of pretty much everyone else in the entire fucking world. I call these points, “Eleven Things Most People Have Never Experienced or Could Have Even Possibly Imagined, but That Totally Happened to Me, Because Apparently I Did Something Awful in a Former Life That I’m Still Being Punished For.”#1. Most people have never stood inside a dead animal, unless you count that time when Luke Skywalker crawled inside that tauntaun to keep from freezing to death, which I don’t, because Star Wars is not a documentary. If you’re easily grossed out, I recommend skipping this entire section and going straight to chapter five. Or maybe getting another book that’s less disturbing than this one. Like one about kittens. Or genocide.Still there? Good for you! Let’s continue. I remember as a kid watching the Cosby family prepare dinner on TV and thinking how odd it was that no one was covered in blood, because this was a typical night in our house: My father, an avid bow hunter, would lumber inside the house with a deer slung over his shoulder. He’d fling it across the dining room table, and then my parents would dissect it and pull out all the useful parts, like some sort of terrible piñata. It was disgusting, but it was the only life I knew, so I assumed that everyone else was just like us.The only thing that seemed weird about it to me was that I was the only person in the whole house who gagged at the smell of the deer blood. My parents tried to convince me that blood doesn’t have a smell, but they are fucking liars. Also they told me that milk does have a smell, and that’s ridiculous, and I’m shocked that their lies have spread so far. Milk doesn’t have a smell. Blood does. And I think I’m so sensitive to the smell of a dead deer because of the time when I accidentally walked inside one.I was about nine years old and I was playing chase with my sister while my father was cleaning a deer.I’m going to interrupt here for a small educational explanation about what it means to “clean a deer”:“Cleaning a deer” for people who are sensitive members of PETAYou get some warm water and tearless shampoo and gently massage the deer. (Lather, rinse, but don’t repeat, even though the bottle says to, because that’s just a ploy to sell more shampoo.) Blow-dry on low heat and hot-glue a bow to his forehead. Send him back to the woods to meet a nice Jewish doe. Go to the next chapter.“Cleaning a deer” for curious, nonjudgmental readers who really want to know how it’s done (and who aren’t PETA members who are just pretending to be curious, nonjudgmental readers, but who really want to throw blood on me at book signings)Cleaning a deer consists of tying up the arms and legs of the deer to a clothesline-like contraption, making it look as if the dead deer is a cheerleader doing the “Give me an X!” move. Then you slice open the stomach, and all the stuff you don’t want falls out. Like the genitals. And the poop rope.“Cleaning a deer” for people who clean deer all the timeI know, right? Can you believe there are people who don’t know this shit? Weird. These are probably the same people who call the poop rope “the intestines.” We all know it’s a poop rope, people. Saying it in French doesn’t make it any less disgusting.Anyway, my dad had just finished cleaning the deer when I made a recklessly fast, ninja-like U-turn to avoid getting tagged by my sister, and that’s when I ran. Right. The fuck. Inside of the deer. It took me a moment to realize what had happened, and I stood there, kind of paralyzed and not ninja-like at all. The best way I can describe it is that it was kind of like I was wearing a deer sweater. Sometimes people laugh at that, but it’s not an amused laugh. It’s more of an involuntary nervous giggle of what-the-fuckness. Probably because you aren’t supposed to wear deer for sweaters. You’re not supposed to throw up inside them either, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.I’d like to think that my father threw that deer away, because I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to eat food you’ve worn or vomited into, but while he was hosing me off he was also hosing off the deer, so my guess is that he applied some sort of a fucked-up Grizzly Adams version of the five-second rule. (Food on the floor is still edible as long as you pick it up within five seconds. Unless it’s peanut butter; then the five-second rule is null. Or if it’s something like dry toast, the five-second rule is extended to, like, a week and a half, because really, what’s going to get on dry toast? Nothing, that’s what. God, I could write a whole book on the five-second rule. That should totally be the follow-up book to this one: The Five Second Rule As It Applies to Various Foodstuffs. Brilliant. But now I’ve forgotten what I was writing about. Oh, yeah, throwing up inside a deer sweater. Right.) And that’s why I still suspect that my dad took home the horribly defiled deer sweater to eat. Except I didn’t eat it, because after that the smell of blood made me gag, and to this day I can’t eat any meat that I’ve seen or smelled raw, which my husband complains about all the time, but until he’s worn a deer sweater he can just shut the hell up. He says it’s all in my mind, but it’s totally not, and I’ve even offered to take some sort of blind smell test, like they did in the Pepsi challenge, where he holds bowls of blood up to my nose so that I can prove that I can smell blood, but he won’t do it. Probably because he’s kind of anal about our bowls. He wouldn’t even let me use one for throwing up in when I was sick. He was all, “Vomit bowl? Who uses a vomit bowl?!” and I was all, “I use a vomit bowl. Everyone uses a vomit bowl. You keep it near you in case you can’t make it to the toilet,” and he was all, “No, you use a trash can,” and I was like, “You sick fuck. I’m not throwing up in a trash can. That’s totally barbaric.” Then he yelled, “That’s what normal people do!” and I screamed, “That’s how civilization breaks down!” And then I refused to speak to him for the rest of the day, because he made me yell at him while I was vomity. Did you notice how I just skipped right to having a husband even though this paragraph is supposed to be about my childhood? My God, this is going to be a terrible book. But both stories have to do with blood and vomit, so that’s kind of impressive, in a way that’s really less “impressive” and more just kind of “sad” and “disturbing.”#2. (On the list of “Things Most People Have Never Experienced or Could Have Even Possibly Imagined but That Totally Happened to Me,” in case you’ve forgotten what we were talking about because number one was way too long and needs to be edited or possibly burned.) Most people don’t have poisonous tap water in their house. Most people don’t get letters from the government telling them not to drink their poisonous tap water because dangerous radon has leaked into their well. In fact, most people don’t get their poisonous tap water from a well at all.Concerned relatives would question my mother about the risks of my sister and me being exposed to all that radon, but she waved them off, saying, “Oh, they couldn’t swallow it even if they wanted to. They’d throw it up immediately. It’s that toxic. So, you know, no worries.” Then she’d send us off to brush our teeth with it and bathe in it. My mom was a big proponent of the “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” theory, almost to the point where she seemed to be daring the world to kill us. This theory worked well for my sister, who has never been sick a day in her life, and is one of those Amazonian women who could squat in a field to have a baby and then pick the baby up and keep on hoeing, except also the field would be on fire, and she’d be all, “Fuck you, fire!” and walk through it like that scary robot in The Terminator. And also her baby would be fire-resistant, and would be karate-chopping the flames like a tiny badass. I’ve tried to have this same level of pioneer toughness, but every couple of months I have a total breakdown or catch some kind of weird disease that only animals get. Like the time I got human parvo, which totally exists and is no fucking picnic. Or the time when I was brushing my hair and heard a pop in my neck, and I could barely even breathe it hurt so much. Then I drove myself to work and I almost passed out from a combination of the pain and the not-breathing, and when I got there I hurt so much I couldn’t even move my mouth to talk, so I wrote, “I HAVE BROKEN MY NECK,” on a Post-it, and my bewildered office mate drove me to the hospital. Turns out I’d herniated a disc, and the doctor gave me a pamphlet on domestic abuse and kept asking me whether someone was hurting me at home, because apparently most people don’t herniate their discs simply from brushing their hair too hard. I prefer to think that most people just don’t brush their hair as enthusiastically as I do.#3. Most people have running water. I mean, we mostly had running water, except when we didn’t, which was often. As my sister and I would always say to each other, “You know, you never really appreciate your poisonous well water until it’s gone.” In the summer the water would occasionally stop for no reason whatsoever, and in the winter the pipes would freeze, and we’d be forced to fill up pots of water from our cistern, and then warm the icy water on the stove to bathe in. It’s even less glamorous than it sounds. I once pointed out to my mother that the water from the cistern was slightly brown, and that it didn’t really seem like the cleanest way to wash your hair, but she sighed at me in disappointment, saying, “It’s pronounced ‘beige.’” As if the pronunciation somehow made it fancier.“Okay,” I capitulated grudgingly, “the cistern water seems slightly more beige than the water from the tap,” but my mom just shrugged it off, because apparently she didn’t trust water she couldn’t see.#4. Most people don’t have a cistern or even know what a cistern is. Some of them say that they have a cistern, and then they politely add that the word is actually pronounced “sister,” and then I just nod, because I really don’t want to have to explain that a cistern is actually an enormous metal can that catches rainwater, sort of like an aboveground well for people who can’t actually afford a well. But no one wants to explain that, because honestly? Who’s going to admit they can’t afford a well? Not me, obviously, because we had a well. One that was filled with poisonous radon.The back of this photo says, “1975—Jenny & her chickens. A dog killed them not long afterward.” Funny, I feel fine.#5. Most people don’t have live raccoons in the house. My dad was always rescuing animals, and by “rescuing animals” I mean “killing the mother, and then discovering she had babies, and bringing the babies home to raise them in the bathtub.” Once, he brought home eight newborn raccoons in a bucket for us to raise. When the orphaned raccoons were little, my mom sewed tiny Jams for them to wear (because this was the eighties, and Jams were quite popular then), and they were adorable, but then the raccoons got big enough to climb out of the bathtub and pretty much destroyed the entire house. Raccoons are totally OCD and they are driven to wash everything that they see, which you’d think would make them smell better, but it doesn’t, because they smell all musky and vaguely sour, like one-night stands.When the raccoons were old enough, we returned them all to the woods, except for one raccoon that we kept as a pet. His name was Rambo, and he’d learned how to turn on the bathroom sink and would wash random things in it all the time, like it was his own private river. If I’d have been thinking I would have left some Woolite and my delicates by the sink for him to rinse out, but you never think to turn your pet raccoon into a tiny butler until it’s too late. Once, we came home to find Rambo in the sink, washing a tiny sliver of soap that had been a new bath-size bar that morning. He looked exhausted, and like he wanted someone to stop him and put him to bed, but when we tried to take away the last bit of soap he growled at us, and so we let him finish, because at that point I guess it was like a vendetta, if raccoons had vendettas. Sometimes when I’m working on an impossible project that I know I should just give up on and someone tries to take it away, I growl and scream, “THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE!” (which is both weird and inappropriate) but I think that that’s probably exactly how Rambo was feeling, with his soap sliver and puckered little fingers covered in radon water, and it makes me sad. But then I laugh, because it reminds me that right after the soap incident my mom insisted that Rambo needed to live outside in a chicken cage “to protect him from himself.” I had placed him on top of the cage to pet him when my little sister, Lisa, who was about seven then, whacked him in the nose (because she was kind of a dick at the time), and then Rambo flipped the fuck out, stood up on his hind legs, grimaced, and jumped directly onto my sister’s face. He grabbed on to her ears like he was some kinda horrible raccoon mask, and he was hissing and looking right into her eyes like, “I WILL BRING YOU DOWN, BITCH,” and my sister was screaming and flailing her arms and it was totally awesome.The next day my dad took Rambo to the farm, which I’d thought meant that he actually took him to my grandfather’s farm to live, but now that I think about it, it probably had less to do with going to a farm than buying one. And now I’m sad again. But then I think about the fact that my dad was probably pointing the gun at Rambo, and Rambo was probably wearing his little Jams and was all, “Hi there, mister!” and my dad probably sighed defeatedly,1 saying something like “Aw, fuck. Just go on, then. Here’s ten dollars and some soap.” Because deep down my father is a total softy. Unless he’s inadvertently killing the mother of a bunch of baby raccoons. Then you’d better stand the fuck back, because you’re totally going to get blood on you.Photographic proof of Rambo in his Jams. Also pictured: Teen Beat magazine with Kirk Cameron on the cover, records, and VHS tapes. It’s like the eighties threw up all over this raccoon. I couldn’t even make this shit up, people.#6. Most people don’t go out into the woods to catch armadillos so that their father can race them professionally. Also, when you find one and pull it out by its tail, most girls’ fathers won’t scream out, “Mind the teeth! That one looks like a biter!” Probably because most fathers don’t love their daughters as much as my father loves me. Or maybe because they didn’t make their daughters pull live armadillos out of tree stumps. Hard to tell. Honestly, though, those girls are missing out, because there is nothing like seeing your father down on his hands and knees with five other grown men, screaming and slapping at the ground to scare their respective armadillos into crossing the finish line first. And when I say, “There’s nothing like it,” what I mean is, “Holy shit, these people are fucking insane.”Usually when I tell people my dad was a Texas armadillo racing champion, they assume I’m exaggerating, but then I pull out his silver armadillo championship ring (which is, of course, shaped like an armadillo), and then they’re all, “Crap on a crap cracker, you’re actually serious.” And then they usually leave quickly. The gold armadillo championship ring would be more impressive to show off, but we don’t have it anymore because my father traded it for a Victorian funeral carriage. And no, I’m not joking, because why the fuck would I joke about that? But I do have photographic proof:Why, yes, that is the shining winner’s ring of the Armadillo Glitterati. Also pictured: My father during an unfortunate Magnum P.I. phase, confused spectators, unnamed armadillo.#7. Most people don’t have a professional taxidermist for a father. When I was little, my father used to sell guns and ammo at a sporting goods store, but I always told everyone he was an arms dealer, because it sounded more exciting. Eventually, though, he saved up enough money to quit his job and build a taxidermy shop next to our house (which was tiny and built out of asbestos back when people still thought that was a good thing). My dad built the taxidermy shop himself out of old wood from abandoned barns and did a remarkable job, fashioning it to look exactly like a Wild West saloon, complete with swinging doors and gaslights and a hitching post for horses. Then he hired a bunch of guys to work for him, many of whom looked to me as if they were fresh from prison or just about to go back in. I can’t help feeling sorry for the confused strangers who would wander into my father’s taxidermy shop, expecting to find a bar and a stiff drink, and who instead found several rough-looking men my father had hired, covered in blood and elbow deep in animal carcasses. I suspect, though, that the blood-covered taxidermists probably shared their personal flasks with the baffled stranger, because although they seemed slightly dangerous, they also were invariably good-hearted, and I’m fairly certain they recognized that anyone stumbling onto that kind of scene would probably need a strong drink even more than when they’d first set out looking for a bar to begin with.#8. Most people don’t have their childhood pets eaten by homeless people. When I was five, my dad won a duckling for me at the carnival. We named him Daffodil, and he lived in the backyard in an inflatable raft that we filled with water. He was awesome. Then he got too big to live comfortably in the raft, so we set him loose under the nearby town bridge so he could be with all the other ducks. We sang “Born Free,” and he seemed very happy as he waddled away. A month later the local news ran a story on the fact that all of the ducks in the river had gone missing and had been eaten by homeless people living under the bridge. It was apparently a bad neighborhood for ducks. I stared, wide-eyed, at my mom as I stammered out, “HOBOS. ATE. MY DAFFODIL.” My mom stared back with a tightened jaw, wondering whether she should just lie to me, but instead she decided it was time to stop protecting me from real life, and sighed, saying, “It sounds nicer if you call them ‘transients,’ dear.” I nodded mechanically. I was traumatized, but my vocabulary was improving.From the back of the photo: “Jenny & Daffodil. Later he was eaten by homeless people.”#9. Most people don’t share a swimming pool with pigs. We lived downwind from the (locally) famous Schwartzes’ pig farm, which is something some people might be embarrassed about, but these were “show pigs,” so yeah, it was pretty fucking impressive. When the wind was blowing from the west it would smell so strong that we’d have to close the windows, but that was less because of the pigs, and more because of the nearby rendering plant. In fact, the first time my husband caught a whiff he nearly gagged, and my mom nonchalantly said, “Oh, that? That’s just the rendering plant,” in the same way other people might say, “Oh, that’s just our gardener.” Then he gave me this look like “What the fuck is a rendering plant?” and I quietly explained that a rendering plant is a factory where they compost old flowers, because that sounds much more whimsical than, “It’s like a slaughterhouse, but way less classy.”The Schwartzes had an enormous open-air cistern that they used to water the pigs, and on special occasions we’d get invited over to swim in the pig’s water. This is all true, people.Right here is when people begin to say, “I don’t believe any of this,” and I have to show them pictures or get my mom on the phone to confirm it, and then they get very quiet. Probably out of respect. Or possibly pity. This is why I always have to clarify that although my childhood was fucked up, it was also kind of awesome.When you’re surrounded by other people who are just as poor as you are, life doesn’t seem all that weird. For instance, one of my friends grew up in a house with a dirt floor, and it’s hard to feel too bad about your tiny asbestos house when you have the privilege of owning carpet. Also, in my parents’ defense, I never really realized we were that poor, because my parents never said we couldn’t afford things, just that we didn’t need them. Things like ballet lessons. And ponies. And tap water that won’t kill you.#10. Most people don’t file wild animals. When I was about six my parents decided to raise chickens, but we couldn’t afford a real henhouse. Instead we put some filing cabinets in the garage, and opened the drawers like stair steps so the chickens could nest in them. Once, when I went out to gather the eggs, I stretched onto my tiptoes to reach into the top drawer and I felt what seemed like a misshapen egg, and that’s because it was in the belly of a gigantic fucking rattlesnake that was attempting to swallow another one of the eggs. This is when I ran screaming back into the house, and my mom grabbed a rifle from the gun cabinet, and (as the escaping snake writhed down the driveway) she shot it right in the lumpy part where the egg still was, and egg exploded everywhere like some sort of terrible fireworks display. We found out later that it was actually a bull snake just pretending to be a rattlesnake, and my mother felt a little bad about killing it, but pretending to be a rattlesnake in front of an armed mother is basically like waving a fake gun in front of a cop. Either way, you’re totally going to get shot. Also, whenever I read this paragraph to people who don’t live in the South, they get hung up on the fact that we had furniture devoted to just guns, but in rural Texas pretty much everyone has a gun cabinet. Unless they’re gay. Then they have gun armoires.#11. Most people don’t have to devote an entire year of therapy to a single ten-minute episode from their childhood. Three words: Stanley, the Magical Squirrel. Actually that’s four words, but I don’t think you’re supposed to count the word “the,” since it isn’t important enough to be capitalized. All of this will be fixed by my editor by the time you read this anyway, so really I could write anything here. Like, did you know that Angelina Jolie hates Jewish people? True story. (Editor’s note: Angelina Jolie does not hate Jewish people at all, and this is a total fabrication. We apologize to Ms. Jolie and to the Jewish community.)I was going to write about Stanley the Magical Squirrel right here on number eleven, but it’s way too convoluted, so instead I made it into the whole next chapter, because I’m pretty sure when you sell a book you get paid by the chapter. I could be wrong about that, though, because I am often wrong. Except about the Angelina-Jolie-hating-Jews thing, which is probably totally true. (No, that’s not true at all. Shut up, Jenny.—Ed.)1. Is “defeatedly” a real word? As in, “She sighed defeatedly as spell-check implied that ‘defeatedly’ isn’t a real word.” Fuck it. It’s going in the book, and I’m pretty sure that makes it a real word. Me and Shakespeare. Making shit up as we go along.Stanley, the Magical Talking SquirrelWhen I tell people that my father is kind of a total lunatic, they laugh and nod knowingly. They assure me that theirs is too, and that he’s just a “typical father.”And they’re probably right, if the typical father runs a full-time taxidermy business out of the house, and shows up at the local bar with a miniature donkey and a Teddy Roosevelt impersonator, and thinks other people are weird for making such a big deal out of it. If the typical father says things like “Happy birthday! Here’s a bathtub of raccoons!” or “We’ll have to take your car. Mine has too much blood in it,” then yeah, he’s totally normal. Still, I don’t remember any of the kids from Charles in Charge feeling around the deep freeze for the Popsicles and instead pulling out an enormous frozen rattlesnake that Charles had thrown in while it was still alive. Maybe I missed that episode. We didn’t watch a lot of TV.That’s why whenever people try to tell me how their “insane father” would sometimes fall asleep on the toilet, or occasionally catch the house on fire, I put my finger to their lips and whisper, “Hush, little rabbit. Let me give you perspective.”And then I tell them this story:It was close to midnight when I heard my father rumbling down the hall, and then suddenly the light switched on in my bedroom. My mom unsuccessfully tried to convince him to go to bed. “Let the girls sleep,” she mumbled from their bedroom across the hall. My mother had learned that my father could not be dissuaded when a “great thought” hit him, but she went through the motions of arguing with him (mainly to point out what was normal and what was crazy, so that my sister and I would be able to recognize it as we got older).I was eight, and my sister, Lisa, was six. My father, a giant bohemian man who looked like a dangerous Zach Galifianakis, lumbered into our tiny bedroom. Lisa and I shared a room most of our lives. Our bedroom was so small that there wasn’t much room for anything other than the bed we shared, and a dresser. The closet doors had been removed long ago to give the illusion of more space. The illusion had failed. I’d spent hours trying to create small bastions of privacy. I’d construct forts with old quilts, and beg my mom to let me live in the garage with the chickens. I’d shut myself in the bathroom (the only room with a lock), but with one bathroom for four people, and a father with irritable bowel syndrome, this was not a good long-term solution. Occasionally I would empty my wooden toy box, curl up inside, and shut the lid, preferring the leg cramps and quiet darkness of the pine box to the outside world…much like a sensory deprivation chamber, but for orphans. My mom was concerned, but not concerned enough to actually do anything about it. There are few advantages to growing up poor, and not having money for therapy is the biggest.My father crouched on the edge of our bed, and Lisa and I blinked, our eyes slowly adjusting to the bright light. “Wake up, girls,” my dad boomed, his face flushed with excitement, cold, or hysteria. He was dressed in his usual camouflage hunting clothes, and the scent of deer urine wafted around the room. Hunters often use animal pee to cover their scent, and my father splashed it on like other men used Old Spice. Texas is a state that had once outlawed sodomy and fellatio, but is totally cool with men giving themselves golden showers in the name of deer hunting.My dad held a Ritz cracker box, which was weird, because we never had brand-name food in the house, so I was all, “Hell, yeah, this is totally worth waking me up for,” but then I realized that there was something alive and moving in the cracker box, which was disturbing; less because my father had brought some live animal in a cracker box into our room, and more because whatever was in there was ruining some perfectly good crackers.Let me preface this by saying that my dad was always bringing home crazy-ass shit. Rabbit skulls, rocks shaped like vegetables, angry possums, glass eyes, strange drifters he picked up on the road, a live porcupine in a rubber tire. My mother (a patient and stoic lunch lady) seemed secretly convinced that she must’ve committed some terrible act in a former life to deserve this lot in life, and so she forced a smile and set another place for the drifter/junkie at the dinner table with the quiet dignity usually reserved for saints or catatonics.Daddy leaned toward us and told us rather conspiratorially that this box held our newest pet. This is the same man who once brought home a baby bobcat, let it loose in the house, and forgot to mention it because he “didn’t think it was important,” so for him to be excited I assumed the box had to contain something truly amazing, like a two-headed lizard, or a baby chupacabra. He opened the box and whispered excitedly, “Come out and meet your new owners, Pickle.”Almost as if on cue, a tiny head poked out of the cracker box. It was a smallish, visibly frightened squirrel, its eyes glazed over from fright. My sister squealed with delight and the squirrel disappeared back into the box. “Hey now, you’ve gotta be quiet or you’ll scare it,” my father warned. And yeah, Lisa’s squeal might have been jarring, but more likely it was just freaked the fuck out by our house. My taxidermist father had decorated practically every spare wall in our home with wide-eyed foxes, leering giant elk, snarling bear heads, and wild boars complete with bloody fangs from eating slow villagers. If I was that squirrel I would have totally shit myself.Lisa and I were silent, and the tiny squirrel tentatively peeked over the top of the box. It was cute, as far as squirrels go, but all I could think was, “Really? A fucking squirrel? This is what you got me out of bed for?” And true, I may not have said “fucking” in my head, because I was eight, but the sentiment was totally there. This is a man who throws his kids in the car to chase after tornadoes for fun, and who once gave me a five-foot-long ball python when he forgot my birthday, so the whole squirrel-in-a-box thing seemed kinda anticlimactic.My father noticed the nonplussed look on my face and leaned in further, like he was telling us a secret he didn’t want the squirrel to overhear. “This,” he whispered, “is no ordinary squirrel. This,” he said with a dramatic pause, “is a magic squirrel.”My sister and I stared at each other, thinking the same thing: “This,” we thought to ourselves, “is our father clearly thinking we are idiots.” Lisa and I were both well versed in our dad’s storytelling abilities, and we knew that he was not a man to be trusted. Just last week he’d woken us up and asked whether we wanted to go to the movies. Of course we wanted to go to the movies. Money was always tight, so seeing a movie was one of those rare glimpses into the lives of the wealthy few who could splurge on such luxuries as matinees and central heating. These people in the audience, I felt sure, were the same people who could afford real winter shoes instead of bread sacks stuffed with newspapers.Lisa and me in the front yard in our (barely visible) bread-sack shoes.When Lisa and I were practically bouncing off the walls from the sheer excitement of seeing a movie, he’d send us off to call both movie theaters in the nearby town and have us write down every showing so we could decide what to see. We’d listen to the recording of the movies over and over to get it all down, and after thirty minutes of intense labor we’d compiled the list, and multiple reasons why The Muppet Movie was the only logical choice. Then my father would merrily agree and we would all cheer, and he would bend down and say, “So. Do you have any money?” My sister and I looked at each other. Of course we didn’t have any money. We were wearing bread-sack shoes. “Well,” said my father, with a big grin spreading across his face, “I don’t have any money either. But it sure was fun when we thought we were going, huh?”Some people might read this and think that my father was a sadistic asshole, but he was not. He honestly thought that the time that Lisa and I spent planning a movie date that would never happen would be a great break from what we would have been doing had he not brought it up (i.e., hot-wiring the neighbor’s tractor, or playing with the family shovel). I wonder if one day my father will get as much of a kick out of this concept when Lisa and I call to tell him we’re going to pick him up from the retirement home for Christmas, but then never actually show up. “But it sure was exciting when you thought you were coming home, though, right?” we’ll cheerfully ask him on New Year’s Eve. “Seriously, though, we’ll totally be there to pick you up tomorrow. No enemas and heart meds for you! We’re going to the circus! It’s gonna be great! You should totally trust us!” He totally shouldn’t trust us.

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

“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* “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 *Jesus is the author’s hairdresser. You can tell him apart from that other Jesus because they pronounce their names differently.