Category Archives: BOOKS!

Jenny Lawson’s “Let’s Pretend this Never Happened,” – Stories that are hard to forget

I am The Great Mouse Hamlet!

I am The Great Mouse Hamlet!

One Sentence Review: Amazingly weird stories with a really long wind down to the conclusion, funny overall but not necessarily laugh out loud.

This is one of those memoirs that make me realize I’m NEVER going to be cool enough to write a memoir.  I’m relatively new to the memoir genre reading-wise (I knew they existed and what they were) and reading celebrity memoirs of course you kind of feel like, wow, they have a cool life, of course I want to read about them!  But when a regular person writes about things that never in a million years will happen to you, it takes you back a step.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want my arm crushed in a retracted cow-vagina, nor do I want to have debilitating physical or mental issues, but it does make me question my daily routine.

Jenny Lawson’s life has been far from routine, starting with her back-country background with dead squirrel puppets from her father and the cow-vagina incident, and ending with her nerd fame as “The Bloggess.”  As someone who was read the book first and the blog second, I would recommend some background blog reading first, only because I think you’re supposed to go in with the fore-knowledge that she may be whacky/funny/crass on the internet, but her home life is very different.  After she tells about the craziness that was growing up she starts to lift the veil on her social disorder and her then following physical disorder.  Her previous stories now are made a bit more clear, her being the only goth girl in the county, hell, maybe the whole of East Texas, because she wasn’t JUST an introvert.

This doesn’t become a downer of a book though, once this is revealed.  She shows her strength by continuing to be funny, retelling her domestic adventures of buying 5 foot tall metal roosters.

I only have two real criticisms: first is that there seems to be a few points where the book could have ended.  Now, I listened to the audio book and while entertaining, it got a bit long.  She seems to wrap it up in the first real return to her family’s home (in the book) and she and her sister sit on the porch realizing this family home isn’t THEIR family home, so therefore they’re not responsible for getting the goats out of the house.  But the book keeps going for the equivalent of at least an hour on the audio book.  The stories are still good, but feel a bit redundant.

The other is that once they’re married, much of the interactions between her and her husband make her seem like someone I would not want to live with.  She doesn’t ever seem to explain things to him as he walks in on her sprawled out flat on the floor, stuff scattered everywhere and the dog barking his head off.  Instead of giving him the real and reasonable explanation, she answers questions with questions and finally flippant, sarcastic answers that are only half the story, then rolls her eyes and gives up on really letting him in.  She comes off as superior and never taking responsibility.  I have a feeling that this isn’t how things actually happen between them, though.  I think it may just be a funnier version of a not-funny-at-the-time situation.  When it came to those stories, I had to remind myself of what she’s really going through, the mentally and physically draining problems she has.  In this way she’s actually holding the reader at arms length, even though she’s let us inside the many layers of her world.

To that I say, continue to let us in, or else what’s the point?  Still a really good book and I definitely recommend it to anyone who has ever felt weird and is okay with the word Vagina being repeated multiple times.  🙂

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Challenge Accepted!

This year I’ve attempted a LOT of things.  To exercise more, to crochet more, eat healthier, write more, and join groups (and then actually attend outings with said groups) just to name a few.  I know there are challenges and goals we all set for ourselves, and many of us do fall short, including myself, over, and over, and over . . .  It’s a bit worrisome at times.  It feels like failure.  I mean, how could it not?

Well, today (or rather, Friday night) I DID accomplish something: If you check out my sidebar I posted a Reading Challenge through the site Goodreads.  Because I am 26 this year I decided to read 26 books starting in January of 2012.  Last year I tried to do this and only did about 19 out of the 25 book goal I set for myself.  But this year, I DID IT!!  I read all 26 books, and it feels good.  It may seem a little lame, especially to my friends who read quite a bit more than I do (my friend Kim read 100 books before the end of the year, achieving her goal by about October I believe) but this is probably the most books I’ve ever read in 1 year.  I think I like movies and television a bit too much, but oh well.

And the books were fantastic.  Almost all were books I had never read before, and each of them were so different, even if they were from a series.  They were all fiction – I attempted some non-fiction and then set them aside – and ranged from real to surreal.  None of them were epic by any means but all of them, even the YA fiction, gave a new perspective and left me with something to think about.  This, in the end, is really the minimum you should ask of a book – give me something to chew on, even with the fluffy, beach read type books.  Give me a new perspective on relationships, on history, on culture, on sex and love and hope and meaning and the devil and heaven.  What does it mean to be a woman, a man?  How does it feel to experience the world in someone else’s skin?  And not once did the books end the way I predicted, not exactly.

I guess the same can also be said of the challenges I put in front of myself in general.  Even if the goal isn’t achieved I’ve been trying my best to be happy with what I’ve attempted and learn from those things.  They didn’t all get the follow through I’d like but that didn’t mean I walked away with nothing.

So, hooray to achieving goals, and here’s to another year of challenges 🙂

 

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“Bleak House” Read-A-Long

 

One of my favorite blogs to keep up with is Sophisticated Dorkiness written by my friend Kim.  I have had the privilege of being friends with Kim since we were about 12 but I rarely get to see her being that she lives in North-West Minnesota and I live in South-East Missouri.  So, when she posted about doing a read-a-long I thought it would be a great way to connect with her and try to tackle Dickens, my Mt. Everest as far as authors are concerned.  Now, Kim reads a LOT (her Goodreads widget has a goal of 100 books for 2012 whereas mine has 26.  She’s listened to/read 97, I’ve listened to/read 22) but I think the playing field will be leveled a bit it with “Bleak House” being 800 pages or so and, again, being Dickens.   Kim shared this through a Bloggess she follows Jenny Loves to read, and if as a fellow blogger you’d like to read-a-long as well follow the link, and leave me a holla’ holla’ in the comments!

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