Audiobook Info: Memoir/Humor, Received for review, Audio length: 8 hours 41 minutes, Read by the author.
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars
Though this title is neither fiction nor YA, I thought readers would enjoy hearing about it since it has some of the same intimacy, wistfulness, and lighthearted tone found in many books I review. Plus it’s about a blogger! I enjoy humorous memoirs and something about the description of this audiobook called out to me. Before this listening experience, I was unfamiliar with the Bloggess blog, but the blogger’s funny/bizarre life stories sounded really fascinating. When I first started listening, I was skeptical that the stories were actually true, but as the author actually narrates the book, I became more and more convinced that you couldn’t make this stuff up.
Before Jenny Lawson’s success as the famous “Bloggess”, she grew up in rural Texas and we learn about how her upbringing made her the person she is today. Stories about animals seem to be a running theme, which may have something to do with the fact that Lawson’s dad is a professional taxidermist. Some of these stories are not for the squeamish, and animal lovers such as myself are warned that they may be offended. Still, the stories are amusing in a dark humor sort of way – think dead squirrels made into hand puppets. Awkward high school years are also covered, and segue to the author’s married life. Victor is Lawson’s husband and is her opposite in many ways, though they have managed to stay married for fifteen years. There are some funny scenes with the two attending his business functions as Lawson worries about saying the wrong thing.
The book hooked me right away, and when I wasn’t listening to it I was thinking about it or telling my family about it. One of the things I was surprised about is how easily I could connect to Jenny’s story. No, I didn’t grow up in rural Texas or play with taxidermy animals. But, I can definitely relate to her health struggles. As someone also diagnosed with arthritis in her twenties, I was interested to read about another young persons experience living with the disease. We also took the same scary drug that is supposed to help you if it doesn’t kill you first. One of the parts of the book that made me laugh out loud is Jenny’s experience at the acupuncturist, something I can also relate to. Jenny’s depictions of living with anxiety also hit close to home and there are some touching yet funny scenes about Jenny’s apprehension about meeting her blogging friends in real life at a retreat.
It lends a personal touch when an author narrates her own audiobook, and I think it’s particularly appropriate with a memoir. Especially with this book, it would seem weird to hear the stories from a voice other than the author. Lawson’s reading is conversational sounding and matter of fact and it feels like she is relating the stories to you personally. Because the stories are hers, she is able to convey the appropriate tone and emotion as she recounts her life tales. She does take you out of the book experience occasionally by pointing out that you are listening to an audiobook, and I was not sure how much if anything was ad-libbed for the audiobook performance. There are sound effects between the chapters, musical clips, cowbell sounds, and Lawson even sings the chapter titles. One thing I missed about listening to the audiobook version is that I couldn’t see the captioned pictures referenced throughout the book. So, I wish there was a way to include a booklet with pictures with the audiobook. Other than that, the audiobook experience was thoroughly entertaining. The audiobook does have a bonus chapter though and behind the scenes outtakes that are a lot of fun.
I recommend this book for fans of the Bloggess blog, and readers who enjoy memoirs or humor books, such as Tina Fey’s Bossypants. The audiobook is a quick listen at just over 8 hours long and will have you laughing throughout. Be advised that due to language this book may not be appropriate for all young adults, and is in fact meant for an adult audience. Lawson promises more stories in future books and I can’t wait to listen in. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened is on sale April 17 and is available for preorder now.
Book trailers – there are two! Here’s the official one:
And, here’s the celebrity edition:
GIVEAWAY has ended- congrats to Flannery who has won a copy of the audiobook.