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Chris Blocker

Literary snobbery and other thoughts by Chris Blocker

Review: Let's Pretend This Never Happened

Let's Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) - Jenny Lawson

Imagine if you will a guy who works at a library. He enjoys reading. He loves the scent and feel of books. He mostly reads literature, but he's not a snob. Okay, he's a snob, but he'll try something slightly out of his comfort zone. One day, one of his coworkers says to him, “Would you be interested in leading one of our book groups? I'm thinking of passing it on.” “Sure,” he says. Here's a chance to get paid just talking about a book every other month. He's all ready. He's going to be a great leader. The books are all planned out through January of the following year. His first meeting will be in August. He looks at the schedule to see what inspirational and brilliant work of literature they're going to read in August. Oh boy, he thinks. How am I ever going to explain this to my friends on social media?

The preceding story is true. I'm sure, because it happened to me. Let's Pretend This Never Happened purports to be a true story, but I really doubt most of it. The other difference between Lawson and Blocker: Jenny Lawson is apparently hysterical. I am not. Except, I don't think Lawson is funny. Not. One. Bit. Like, you may not believe me, but I didn't laugh once. Not once. I didn't even smile. As I neared the end of the book, I actually forced a smile, thinking that maybe the physical action would help me find the humor. It didn't work. There were a few times when I thought, oh, that was wee bit witty. But only a wee bit. And not even then, I was just trying really hard to find the positive.

I'm truly, honestly really glad that people love this book. Because they do love it. I'm glad people can laugh until they can no longer breathe (assuming it's temporary). I want people to be happy and apparently Let's Pretend This Never Happened makes them really happy. I don't get it. It's not that I'm completely incapable of humor. It's difficult to get a laugh out of me, but I do find some things funny, things that no one else finds funny. I'm entitled to my own brand of humor, but I do wonder if part of my distaste is that Lawson, her mania, her mood swings, and her ridiculous stories remind me of a girl I once dated. I lived the “mostly true,” but not true stories for several years and let me tell you, it's exhausting and, over time, it's no longer the least bit funny. I'm glad that Lawson found a way to turn her mania into something she can be successful with and that so many people can enjoy. I'm glad she didn't choose a more destructive path. But reading this makes me manic. And that's not a good thing for any of us.

So I hated Let's Pretend This Never Happened. There's one reason to read this book, and that's because of the humor. If you don't find it funny, there really isn't a point to it, is there? I didn't find it the least bit funny. I went to book club knowing that someone else would agree. Since it was my first time leading the group, I didn't want to sway anyone. I'd wait for someone to mention how the book really wasn't funny, then I'd pounce. Surely, someone would say it. No one did. They all thought it was hysterical—a nice change of pace. So I smiled, nodded my head, and mostly remained quiet. I asked a few questions that I hoped would elicit some underlying disdain, but no, they genuinely loved it.

So again, I'm glad everyone else in the world is wildly entertained with this “memoir.” It just wasn't for me. And if ever I'm asked to read a book like this again, I'll know I can just fake it by saying, “oh yeah, that was hilarious.”

Let's just pretend that this never happened.