Thursday, May 10, 2012

Let's Pretend This Never Happened - Jenny Lawson (Audio)

Have you heard of Jenny Lawson?  No?  Well, maybe you have heard of The Bloggess.  If you tweet, it is almost impossible NOT to have heard about her.  She has 230,000 followers, and she gets retweeted ALOT.  

From a casual blog-reading perspective, I knew she did strange things.  She bought a large metal chicken for her home, that is named Beyonce and now has its own Facebook page.  She is quite famous for throwing around a picture of Wil Wheaton collating a stack of blank paper (there is a story behind it, of course).  She tests her "long-suffering husband" with her antics.  But I never really understood what she was about, what her history was, and whether this whole bizarre persona was an act, an attempt at getting attention, or for real.

I now consider myself fully informed.  And totally gobsmacked.  Allow me to present you with an enigma.

Synopsis:  Jenny Lawson has lived a bizarre life.  Except that while she was growing up, she thought it was all normal.  Live cougars running through her house. Her father using a dead squirrel as a puppet (yes, his hand was IN it) to entertain Jenny and her little sister.  Wearing plastic bread bags on her feet for shoes.  It was only when she moved away from home, and she got strange looks from her friends, did she figure out she was "different" and didn't always fit in.  

Her story moves forward to her courtship with her now husband.  He came from the right side of the tracks, so it is no surprise that more hilarity ensues when Jenny first meets his parents, or his parents meet Jenny's taxidermist father (stories to include pillow etiquette and boiling skulls).  The metal chicken, a cautionary tale about husbands picking their battles.  Fights over wet towels, waged back and forth via sticky notes.  The birth of their daughter.  Becoming a blogger.  

In between generating ceaseless belly-laughs, Jenny is also candid and earnest about her struggles with anxiety, depression, eating disorders and a string of miscarriages.  Jenny puts herself out there, detailing the toll all of these health issues have had on her, the pursuit of the right medications, and the importance of support.

So if your brand of humor leans towards inappropriate, profane, filterless rambling of a bizarre and strangely lovable woman (that just happens to be hilarious), you won't want to miss this.

My thoughts:  For the first few discs of this audio, I found myself trying to psycho-analyze Jenny.  Is she for real?  Is she making this up?  Is she SANE?  Then I just had to let go and ride her wave.  I'm not sure that she falls into a category, at least not one I've ever heard of.  

At the end of the book, I came to the following conclusions:

*  Jenny is the queen of over-reaction and exaggeration and high drama.  Usually.  If she falls down and and cuts herself on a piece of dried chicken dog treat, it is a huge story.  If her cat scratches her face while she is sleeping, she talks for 20 minutes about how she thought she was attacked by a serial killer.  It is this gift of over-reaction, though, coupled with her ability to spin a yarn, that makes her so damn entertaining.  I am convinced that she could make ANYONE'S life seem wack.  Even mine.

*  Jenny doesn't always over-react though.  Sometimes the things that happen to her ARE bad.  I think.  She did get attacked by dogs, and had to have stitches.  Her dog does die and she had to fight off vultures with a machete (or at least with a sharp object of some kind).  

*  She really did have a father with a crazy sense of humor who loved animals.  She just spins it better than most people.  I know using a dead squirrel as a puppet seems perverse, but I honestly had an uncle who I could see doing that.  Jenny is just a genius at using what she has and entertaining us with it.  

*  Jenny has real health issues, and I say brava to her for exposing herself for the benefit of helping others.  That made her human and lovable.

*  Only at the very end of the audio did I discover that this is an Amy Einhorn book.  But OF COURSE, I always like to say.  Of course.  I should have known.  Amy Einhorn and her people are brilliant at finding the treasures.

A few words about the audio production:  I only have two words to say.  Jenny.  Narrates.  

Only Jenny could narrate this.  In her high-pitched, childlike voice, she delivers the goods.  She has joined the esteemed list of authors like David Sedaris, Sarah Vowell and Tina Fey who should only be experienced audibly.

4.5 out of 5 stars    



bermudaonion said...

The drama and over-reaction got old for me after a while. I have a feeling this book is better on audio than in print.

Unknown said...

I have a copy of this but your comments about overreaction worry me. I think I'd get a bit annoyed. I will try the first chapter, but thanks for the warning!

Ti said...

I kinda like folks who are overly-animated as long as they are genuine in their reaction. If that is how she really is, then so be it. I had a lot of friends like that when I studied theater arts. They are a very passionate group and she sort of sounds like she is that way too. Funny though, I've never heard of her before.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

Thanks for filling us in. I have wondered what the deal is with her!

Zibilee said...

I am now more excited than ever to listen to this one. In fact, I think it will be my next listen. I need someone else's crazy in my life right now. I have had too much of my own, and need some escape, however bizarre it might be! Fantastic review today! I loved reading this.

Alyce said...

I'm still not sure if this is one for me, but it the whole bit with the taxidermist father sounds so funny.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

I read a hard copy of this one and I almost wish I'd listened to it instead. I agree she is a crazy over-reacter, but she manages to turn them into the best stories!

Meg @ write meg! said...

I bought a print version of this one a few weeks ago because I didn't have the patience to wait for a library copy... and it sounds like I'm going to be happy with that decision! I love Jenny and can't wait to read this one.

Julie P. said...

I so think I should listen to this one rather than read it.

Jenners said...

I've been on the fence about this but you convinced me … I've found my next audio (as soon as I get my next Audible credit!! I'm out already and it is only May 10th! ARGH!)

caite said...

You may know I am not the biggest audio fan, but his seems like an audio must!

Jenny said...

I never paid any attention to this book because I didn't know who she was. And I don't read her blog, but I DID read the blog post about the chicken a long time ago... someone must have linked to it, and I recognize the blog page. Weird! Anyway, this sounds hilarious. My friends and I at work a while ago took some online "test" about what type of humor we like and mine came up with exaggeration and ever since then I've realized how things that are exaggerated seem hilarious to me, so I'm thinking maybe I'd love this book!

Darlene said...

I've never heard of her or her blog. I'll have to check it out and then decide whether to check out the book.

Pengobatan Kanker Darah Secara Alami said...

i like blog

Trisha said...

I'm one of those losers who had never heard of her, but I'm intrigued by your post here. It sounds like a fun read.