Book Review: ‘Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir’

Elyssa Lieu, Senior Editor

“Call me Ishmael. I won’t answer to it, because it’s not my name, but it’s much more agreeable than most of the things I’ve been called” (Chapter 1, “I Was a Three-Year-Old Arsonist”). 

These are the first lines of the first chapter of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, and boy, are they some good ones. Written by blog author Jenny Lawson, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened is a memoir dedicated to how being just a little crazy can bring you some of the greatest [and weirdest] adventures in life.

One of the book’s charms is how easy it is to read.

Lawson writes in a distinctly informal style, sprinkling in little comments here and there and addressing you often enough to do something that rarely happens: making the book come to life.

There’s no need to prod for meaningful themes or rhetorical devices here, as Lawson’s words are unapologetically meant to be… well, a little wacko and a lot funny.

The book guarantees to give you laughter from the beginning, along with accompanying black-and-white pictures to illustrate anecdotes.

Be warned that her sense of humor does veer toward the ribald, situational comedy kind, so if you’re expecting a delicate ironic snark or a deadpan jokemaster, you’ll probably be caught off-guard when things really start to pick up. 

Yet, as with any great author, beyond the humor is also a story with a purpose.

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened is Lawson’s story of navigating the world, from befuddled toddler to emo teenager to I-have-no-idea-what-I’m-doing adult.

Her thoughts speak to the uncertainty that we all carry inside ourselves, and challenges us to acknowledge that at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how weird you are.


What matters is that you’re having fun.