It’s tempting to throw crazy into the mix when you are describing Jenny Lawson’s autobiography, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir).

A self-portrait of the Bloggess, also known as...

A self-portrait of the Bloggess, also known as Jenny Lawson, an Internet blogger. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But, when she already reveals that she has generalized anxiety disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and rheumatoid arthritis, crazy not only seems like piling on, it obscures her genius.

Her genius is describing her life in such a way that you are rolling on the floor laughing.

I try not to read book passages out loud to my husband because I read at least a book a week and he’s got his own stack of books to read.

But, with Lawson’s book, you just can’t help but share.

There was the time she brought her boyfriend, now husband of 15 years, home to meet her parents for the first time.

And her father, either in an attempt to test his future son-in-law’s mettle or just out of his own unrestrained impulses, threw a live bobcat into his lap.

To his credit, the boyfriend, and now you understand why he is Lawson’s husband, kept very still, until the bobcat settled down and snuggled into his lap.

Part of her genius is exaggerating what has happened to her, but when friends pin her down, certain that, this time, it really is an exaggeration, they find out that, indeed, at its core, her story is accurate.

Like the one about a pack of dogs attacking her.

Well, OK, it was one dog out of the pack.

But, the attack sent her to the hospital for stitches on her arm and back. That counts.

And, what did she learn from this event?

She learned not to walk in on dogs outdoors eating at night that don’t know you and that she really would, if necessary, carry her daughter to safety even if she were being attacked.

And, this is how you know you would like to find yourself standing in line next to Lawson, or, at least, read Lawson’s telling of the story:

“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.”

On her list of “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:”

“#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 orphan raccoons were little, my mom sewed tiny Jams for them to wear [there is a photo of the raccoon in pajamas, in case you don’t believe Lawson’s story]….”

“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’s 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.”

There are many more stories – squirrel puppets, standing inside a deer carcass (her father was a taxidermist), and chapter titles that make you want to read more: “Honestly, I Don’t Even Know Where I Got That Machete,” and “And Then I Snuck a Dead Cuban Alligator on an Airplane,” but you’ll have to get the book to find out how they turn out.

You can go to Lawson’s blog at

And you can click on the title “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir)” to order the book from amazon if you want to laugh so hard your face hurts.

There’s a reason it debuted at #1 on the New York Times’ best-seller list.


Carol Covin, Granny-Guru

Author, “Who Gets to Name Grandma? The Wisdom of Mothers and Grandmothers


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