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BlogHer Reviews Reviews

Book Review: Let’s Pretend This Never Happened

Can I confess something?

I put off reading Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson until now for lots of reasons. Having been let down by blog-to-books in the past, I didn’t want to read it just in case. I mean, sure! She’s funny online! But would it translate to book? Could she possibly keep up the funny for 366 pages? Would I be horribly let down and thus fall out of something akin to blog-crush?

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After buckling down and agreeing to read and review the book with the BlogHer Book Club, the answers to my questions are yes, yes, and no.

Though I’m kind of perplexed.

You see, quite frequently in the beginnings of the book, Jenny talks about this minority of people who don’t a) get their water from a well, or b) know how to gut a deer, or c) only have have one gas station in their towns. Well, you see, I grew up in a town with two gas stations… though one eventually closed. We didn’t even have a stop light until after I moved away. I KID YOU NOT. When I tell people that, they are horrified. I shrug. And yes, we grew up with a well, though we didn’t have a radon infested well. That I know of. And… that whole deer thing…

Well, my dad wasn’t a hunter. His friends would receive permission from both my parents and grandparents to hunt on the Back 40 — which anyone with a large amount of acreage knows isn’t necessarily 40 acres. I didn’t eat venison until I was in middle school and only because a good friend tricked me into it; yes, it tasted like beef but I was still so mad at her. I swore I would never marry a hunter.

I also swore I’d never live in Ohio.

Yet, here I sit. In Ohio. Married to a hunter. There are four deer heads in the family room in the basement. When my husband texts me photos of dead deer in the last week of November, it is a cause for cheering, not for vomiting, because it means we will have meat for dang near a year. I know how to cook it — to the point that you won’t know it’s venison. And yes, Jenny is right; deer blood has a smell. I can agree with that even never having worn a deer sweater.

I think Jenny was attempting to poke fun at small town life at the beginning there, but I kept cringing a bit, thinking, “Oh wait. That’s me. That’s us. Oh dear. Oh my. We’re the kind of people that people make fun of, aren’t we?” And then I laughed the deep laugh of someone who understands, who gets the joke more than the other people in the room.

Because if I’ve learned anything from being different over the years, being the kid of people that others like to make fun of is almost always a good thing. Almost always.

I enjoyed Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, but if you’re my mother-in-law, please don’t read it. There’s far too much cussing for you.

The BlogHer Book Club is reading and discussing the book right now. The first discussion asks what your favorite funny childhood memory is; I’m still thinking of my answer as there are too many to choose from!

 

This is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own.

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BlogHer Reviews Reviews

Book Review: A Good American

I’ve needed to read a book like A Good American by Alex George for awhile now. I’ve needed to escape with characters, to care and feel for them as though they were my own. I’ve needed to read good writing, the kind of writing that makes you re-read a sentence just for the pure joy of watching how the words mesh together in just the right way. I’ve needed to call my grandmother on the phone and say, “Oh grandma, do I ever have a book for you.”

Loved it. #bhbc

It shouldn’t surprise you then that I obviously loved the book — and recommend it as a Must Read. I haven’t read a book for review that left me feeling this strongly in over a year. It’s a good feeling.

The book follows Jette and Frederick as they come to America. We follow them as they end up in a mostly German town in Missouri, quite by accident, and begin their life — and their family — in the United States. The book follows down the generational line as we see changes to the country, to their family, to the town, to their way of life — repeatedly. Heartbreak, intrigue, sadness, laughter, murder, loss, more laughter, and on and on. The book is real in a way that you don’t quite expect. Every chapter ends with enough intrigue, which meant a lot of late night reading for me. “Oh, well I can’t stop now! I have to read one more chapter.” Needless to say, I had a lot of late nights and tired mornings while reading this book.

Quite honestly, I was sad when the book ended. I thought perhaps that the author could have left us with a cliffhanger, instead of finishing off some unanswered questions to wrap everything up neatly, and written a sequel. I am left wanting more, wanting to know what comes of certain storylines that, perhaps, have room for more attention. I am left wanting to know more about grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I want more answers, more questions, more perfectly constructed sentences that take my breath away. When a book leaves you wanting that, wanting more of exactly what you just read, it’s a good book.

And if I put a book down, even before I’ve finished it, to call my grandmother and tell her that she absolutely has to read it when I’m done, well, it’s a keeper. If you think I’m judgmental about writing, you haven’t met my grandma. Perhaps she needs her own book blog. All the same, I know she’ll love it — maybe even more than I do.

The BlogHer Book Club is discussing the book now. I encourage you to check it out, and join in some of the interesting conversations. But mostly I encourage you to read the book. Trust me.

I will offer up a warning: There’s talk of miscarriage and adoption in the book, though neither overtly saddened or annoyed me.

 

This is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own.