Thursday, September 6, 2012

let's just pretend this never happened: review

Everybody knows I'm a huge fan of The Bloggess. There have been times, in fact, that I've wished I was more like her - more open, more honest (?), more funny, more inspiring. I love The Bloggess. I will admit though, I don't read her blog every day. I don't read any blog every day. For the most part, I find that the vast majority of blogs aren't written in a style that I enjoy reading - and even The Bloggess I find tiring after a while. Perhaps it's part of the downfall of trying to stick to a particular post length (not too long) and a particular voice. Perhaps I wouldn't even ready my own blog if I just stumbled across it and wasn't a complete egoist. All that said, of all the blogs out there, The Bloggess' is the one I keep going back to, keep finding myself in. It's the one that moves me to laughter and tears and sighs and wishes. 

So I was excited when SC2 loaned me her copy of The Bloggess' (aka Jenny Lawson) first book Let's Just Pretend This Never Happened. And as much as I enjoyed the book, I have to admit I was a little let down. Perhaps it was just the curse of high expectations, but there were moments when I couldn't suspend my disbelief, even though the book is a memoir. I grew up in a remote, small town. I empathise with being a reader in a town that only values sport - in Jenny's case football, and in my case hockey. But something was lost crossing the border. 

Click to view on Amazon
Part of the issue was, admittedly, that I was familiar with certain chapters because of the blog versions of those same stories, but there was something else that kept me slightly at bay. I laughed. I pondered. I read sections to STG. But some extremity of expression kept me from getting right into what Lawson was saying. Being a big, bold over the top slightly insane Texas girl is both The Bloggess' blessing and her curse. It's what makes her charming, and what takes her writing beyond the pale.

What I love most is Lawson's openness about her own foibles. Knowing that her long-suffering husband Victor is long-suffering. Showing what it's really like to live with depression and a debilitating anxiety disorder. Being quotidian and ordinary and completely extraordinary. 

Do I recommend this book? Whole-heartedly. It was great fun, and concluded with the sweetest affirmation of motherhood that I've read in a book. I just ... I expected to find myself in those pages as I often do on her blog. And I didn't. For some reason, it just didn't translate for me.

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