Thursday, March 27, 2014

The humor leap

Book: Let's Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir)
Author: Jenny Lawson
Published: 2012 (Penguin)

I am still trying to figure out exactly how the leap from blog to book deal happens; it’s like when someone explains to me how a stereo works and they’re all, “And then the speaker translates the code into sound and amplifies it so that’s how you can listen to ‘Hey Ya’ forty billion times and not ever get sick of it” and I feel like I’m still missing something (although “Hey Ya” is thoroughly explained by {}-shaking magic, so I’m good on that part).
Having a childhood full of horrifying-in-retrospect-and-a-lot-of-times-in-the-moment taxidermological episodes apparently help, because these are some of the most genuinely effortlessly funny essays I’ve read in a memoir that’s marked humorous. That’s not to say that the author(ess) doesn’t employ the fairly well-worn tropes of “hey I’m so weird but pretending this is completely normal” and “I may or may not be lying” asides (sometimes footnotes) and that those actually work better than usual here, but her baseline wackiness is blessedly low and no-nonsense.

Also, I gained new appreciation for the classiness level of my co-workers when I read her essay on working in HR for fifteen years. Whenever I get discouraged at my desk, I will now be able to think, “At least I don’t have to [have not had to yet] deal with confronting people about their *insert inappropriate body part here* photos” and carry on the good library work with due diligence.
Also also, I sort of want the taxidermied mouse dressed as Hamlet holding Horatio’s skull on the cover for my own apartment so I can look at him and giggle when my beautiful lemon meringue pie cracks and melts because the recipe didn’t mention oh hey, don’t put that in the fridge.  (Seriously, what MELTS when you put it in the refrigerator? But, as the generous wedge of emptiness attests to, it still tasted AMAZING.)

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