>> Friday, August 10, 2012
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson
Genre: Memoir, Humor
Publisher: Penquin Audio
Publication Date: 2012 Penguin Audio (Book originally published 2012)
Length: 8 hours, 41 minutes
Read by: Jenny Lawson
The Short Version:
Jenny Lawson (The Bloggess) reads her memoir which is a lot like her blog, but even more.
Why I Read It:
I have been a regular reader of The Bloggess for a while now and as soon as I heard that she was reading the audio version of her memoir I knew that was the version I wanted.
I cannot possibly attempt to explain this book so I’m going to go with the Publisher’s description.:
Jenny Lawson realized that the most mortifying moments of our lives—the ones we’d like to pretend never happened—are in fact the ones that define us. In the #1 New York Times bestseller, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, Lawson takes readers on a hilarious journey recalling her bizarre upbringing in rural Texas, her devastatingly awkward high school years, and her relationship with her long-suffering husband, Victor. Chapters include: “Stanley the Magical, Talking Squirrel”; “A Series of Angry Post-It Notes to My Husband”; “My Vagina Is Fine. Thanks for Asking”; “And Then I Snuck a Dead Cuban Alligator on an Airplane.”
If you’ve read her blog, you have an idea. If you haven’t read her blog or heard of Beyonce the Giant Metal Chicken you probably want to read a bit before deciding if Jenny’s humor and style are for you.
At the beginning of one chapter, Lawson says:
please note that the first part of this chapter actually happens just before the previous chapter, and the last part of it happens just after it. This could be viewed as “clunky and awkward,” but I prefer to think of it as “intellectually challenging and chronologically surreal, like if Memento was a book. About dead dogs and vaginas and puppets made of squirrel corpses.” You can feel free to use that quote if you’re reviewing this chapter, or if you’re a student and your teacher asks you, “What was the author trying to say here?” That was it. That’s what I was trying to say. That and “Use condoms if you’re going to have sex, for God’s sake. There are a lot of skanks out there.” That’s not really covered in this book, but it’s still good advice.)Really that paragraph should not be on page 258 of the hardcover version and whatever disc it is on the audio version. It should be right out at the very beginning of the book because, well . . . that’s what the book is like.
Personally I enjoyed it a lot. I do all my audiobook listening whenever I’m in my car by myself. There were many times where I was literally laughing out loud and getting stared at by other drivers. It’s not all laughs though. Wile there are many humorous retellings of conversations with her husband, Lawson also speaks of her miscarriages, her anxiety disorder and other challenges she’s faced. As much as I cried along with her about the death of her beloved dog, I also laughed myself silly about what happened afterwards. That story also says a lot about having the right best friend just when you need them most.
As for the audio production, it’s as different as the book. Lawson reads it herself and while she will not be making a career change to professional audiobook narrator, for me she’s the right person to narrate this one. She has a distinctive voice and manner of speaking and for a book that feels like a conversation rather than a story, I’m not sure anyone else could do it and still make it feel like The Bloggess.
There are occasional sound effects and some of them are pretty strange and Lawson ‘sings’ (in much the same way that I sing) the chapter names. Occasionally she deviates from what is in the print version and speaks to the listener directly. She also describes the photos that are in the book since obviously the audiobook listener can’t see them.
If you like her blog, I’d recommend the book For me listening was the right choice but I can see where it might not be the right choice for everyone.
Rating 4.5/5 for the book
Rating 3.5/5 for the narration
SoundBytes is a weekly roundup of audio book reviews hosted by Jen at Devourer of Books.