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Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir

Vista Book Group: Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir

The Vista Book Group met in November to discuss Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson. Lawson writes the popular blog TheBlogess.com, and Let’s Pretend This Never Happened was voted as the best humor book of 2012 on Goodreads.com.

“This book is totally true, except for the parts that aren’t. It’s basically like Little House on the Prairie but with more cursing.” After this opening line Ms. Lawson goes on to tell stories from her “violently rural” upbringing in West Texas, through to her present life as a blogger with her supportive husband and young daughter. Most of the stories are funny, and most of them are incredibly bizarre. Her childhood stories mostly center on her larger-than-life taxidermist father, whom she describes as “kind of a total lunatic.” In her adult life, Ms. Lawson has dealt with miscarriages, social anxiety, and rheumatoid arthritis. She recounts these struggles with sarcastic, self-deprecating humor and some incredibly foul language (this is not a book for the easily offended). Chapter titles like “I Was a Three Year Old Arsonist”, “A Series of Helpful Post-It Notes I left Around the House for My Husband This Week” and “And Then I Snuck a Dead Cuban Alligator on an Airplane” give you an idea of Lawson’s sense of humor.

This was a highly enjoyable and often hilarious discussion, with group members recalling their favorite stories from the book or highlighting their favorite quotes. Most of our group found Lawson to be extremely funny, although there were a few people who weren’t quite as fond of the author’s style. While they still thought it was an entertaining read, they just couldn’t connect to her. Throughout the book, Lawson explores themes of family and individuality, while also laughing at herself as a means of getting through dark times.

Each member of the group rated the book on a scale of one to five, and our average score came to 4.15. Almost everyone had a great time reading the book and even those who gave it a lower score were still able to find some good things to say about it. If you’re looking for a memoir that is heavy on laugh-out-loud situations and sarcastic commentary (and you don’t mind a bit of taxidermy), Let’s Pretend This Never Happened just might be the book for you!

A few read-alikes we came up with are:

  • Ali in Wonderland, by Ali Wentworth
  • Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, by Mindy Kaling
  • Bossypants, by Tina Fey
  • Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang, by Chelsea Handler
  • Running With Scissors , by Augusten Burroughs
  • A Girl Named Zippy, by Haven Kimmel
  • My Boyfriend Wrote a Book About Me, by Hilary Winston
  • Me Talk Pretty One Day, by David Sedaris
  • Please join us on Wednesday, January 22, from 6:00 to 7:30 when we will be discussing Beautiful Ruins, by Jess Walter. We will meet in Film and Sound, located on the first level of the Richland Library Main. If you would like to pick up a copy of the book, please call 929-3400 or stop by the General Reference/Research Desk on the second level of Richland Library Main. We look forward to seeing you there!

    Please note: Vista Book Group will not meet in December. See you next year!


    Ali in Wonderland by Ali Wentworth
    Amazon Says: Mix 1 oz. Chelsea Handler, 1.5 oz. Nora Ephron, finish with a twist of Tina Fey, and you get Ali in Wonderland, the uproarious, revealing, and heartfelt memoir from acclaimed more...
    Amazon Says: Mix 1 oz. Chelsea Handler, 1.5 oz. Nora Ephron, finish with a twist of Tina Fey, and you get Ali in Wonderland, the uproarious, revealing, and heartfelt memoir from acclaimed actress and comedian Ali Wentworth. Whether spilling secrets about her quintessentially WASPy upbringing (and her delicious rebellion against it), reminiscing about her Seinfeld “Schmoopie” days and her appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show, The View, and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, or baring the details of starting a family alongside husband George Stephanopoulos, one thing is for sure—Ali has the unsurpassable humor and warmth of a born storyteller with a story to tell: the quirky, flavorful, surprising, and sometimes scandalous Ali in Wonderland.“Ali Wentworth is funny and warm and crazy all at once. Like Barbara Eden. But on something. Like crystal meth.” —Alec Baldwin less...
    Amazon

    Amazon Says: Mindy Kaling has lived many lives: the obedient child of immigrant professionals, a timid chubster afraid of her own bike, a Ben Affleck–impersonating Off-Broadway performer more...
    Amazon Says: Mindy Kaling has lived many lives: the obedient child of immigrant professionals, a timid chubster afraid of her own bike, a Ben Affleck–impersonating Off-Broadway performer and playwright, and, finally, a comedy writer and actress prone to starting fights with her friends and coworkers with the sentence “Can I just say one last thing about this, and then I swear I’ll shut up about it?”   Perhaps you want to know what Mindy thinks makes a great best friend (someone who will fill your prescription in the middle of the night), or what makes a great guy (one who is aware of all elderly people in any room at any time and acts accordingly), or what is the perfect amount of fame (so famous you can never get convicted of murder in a court of law), or how to maintain a trim figure (you will not find that information in these pages). If so, you’ve come to the right book, mostly!   In Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Mindy invites readers on a tour of her life and her unscientific observations on romance, friendship, and Hollywood, with several conveniently placed stopping points for you to run errands and make phone calls. Mindy Kaling really is just a Girl Next Door—not so much literally anywhere in the continental United States, but definitely if you live in India or Sri Lanka. less...
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    Bossypants by Tina Fey
    Amazon Says: Before Liz Lemon, before "Weekend Update," before "Sarah Palin," Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a loc more...
    Amazon Says: Before Liz Lemon, before "Weekend Update," before "Sarah Palin," Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV. She has seen both these dreams come true. At last, Tina Fey's story can be told. From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on Saturday Night Live; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon -- from the beginning of this paragraph to this final sentence. Tina Fey reveals all, and proves what we've all suspected: you're no one until someone calls you bossy. (Includes Special, Never-Before-Solicited Opinions on Breastfeeding, Princesses, Photoshop, the Electoral Process, and Italian Rum Cake!) less...
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    Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang by Chelsea Handler
    Amazon Says: Life doesn't get more hilarious than when Chelsea Handler takes aim with her irreverent wit. Who else would send all-staff emails to smoke out the dumbest people on her show? more...
    Amazon Says: Life doesn't get more hilarious than when Chelsea Handler takes aim with her irreverent wit. Who else would send all-staff emails to smoke out the dumbest people on her show? Now, in this new collection of original essays, the #1 bestselling author of Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea delivers one laugh-out-loud moment after another as she sets her sights on the ridiculous side of childhood, adulthood, and daughterhood. Family moments are fair game, whether it's writing a report on Reaganomics to earn a Cabbage Patch doll, or teaching her father social graces by ordering him to stay indoors. It's open season on her love life, from playing a prank on her boyfriend (using a ravioli, a fake autopsy, and the Santa Monica pier) to adopting a dog so she can snuggle with someone who doesn't talk. And everyone better duck for cover when her beach vacation turns into matchmaking gone wild. Outrageously funny and deliciously wicked, Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang is good good good good! Chelsea Handler on... - Being unpopular: "My parents couldn't have been more unreasonable when it came to fads or clothes that weren't purchased at a pharmacy." - Living with her boyfriend: "He's similar to a large toddler, the only difference being he doesn't cry when he wakes up." - Appreciating her brother: "He's a certified public accountant, and I have a real life." - Arm-wrestling a maid of honor: "It wasn't her strength that intimidated me. It was the starry way her eyes focused on me, like Mike Tyson getting ready to feed." less...
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    Running with Scissors: A Memoir by Augusten Burroughs
    Amazon Says: Running with Scissors is the true story of a boy whose mother (a poet with delusions of Anne Sexton) gave him away to be raised by her psychiatrist, a dead-ringer for Santa an more...
    Amazon Says: Running with Scissors is the true story of a boy whose mother (a poet with delusions of Anne Sexton) gave him away to be raised by her psychiatrist, a dead-ringer for Santa and a lunatic in the bargain. Suddenly, at age twelve, Augusten Burroughs found himself living in a dilapidated Victorian in perfect squalor. The doctor's bizarre family, a few patients, and a pedophile living in the backyard shed completed the tableau. Here, there were no rules, there was no school. The Christmas tree stayed up until summer, and Valium was eaten like Pez. And when things got dull, there was always the vintage electroshock therapy machine under the stairs.... Running with Scissors is at turns foul and harrowing, compelling and maniacally funny. But above all, it chronicles an ordinary boy's survival under the most extraordinary circumstances. Running with Scissors Acknowledgments Gratitude doesn’t begin to describe it: Jennifer Enderlin, Christopher Schelling, John Murphy, Gregg Sullivan, Kim Cardascia, Michael Storrings, and everyone at St. Martin’s Press. Thank you: Lawrence David, Suzanne Finnamore, Robert Rodi, Bret Easton Ellis, Jon Pepoon, Lee Lodes, Jeff Soares, Kevin Weidenbacher, Lynda Pearson, Lona Walburn, Lori Greenburg, John DePretis, and Sheila Cobb. I would also like to express my appreciation to my mother and father for, no matter how inadvertently, giving me such a memorable childhood. Additionally, I would like to thank the real-life members of the family portrayed in this book for taking me into their home and accepting me as one of their own. I recognize that their memories of the events described in this book are different than my own. They are each fine, decent, and hard-working people. The book was not intended to hurt the family. Both my publisher and I regret any unintentional harm resulting from the publishing and marketing of Running with Scissors. Most of all, I would like to thank my brother for demonstrating, by example, the importance of being wholly unique. less...
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    Amazon Says: TV writer Hilary Winston offers up a witty collection of autobiographical tales about her misadventures in dating. Just when Hilary feels like her life is finally in order, sh more...
    Amazon Says: TV writer Hilary Winston offers up a witty collection of autobiographical tales about her misadventures in dating. Just when Hilary feels like her life is finally in order, she gets a sucker-punch to the gut: Her ex has written a novel based on their relationship in which he refers to her throughout as the “fat-assed girlfriend.” Her response to this affront is just one of the many hilarious stories in My Boyfriend Wrote a Book About Me--a laugh-out-loud, tell-all in which Hilary sets the record straight on all her exes. less...
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    Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
    Amazon Says: A new collection from David Sedaris is cause for jubilation. His recent move to Paris has inspired hilarious pieces, including Me Talk Pretty One Day, about his attempts to le more...
    Amazon Says: A new collection from David Sedaris is cause for jubilation. His recent move to Paris has inspired hilarious pieces, including Me Talk Pretty One Day, about his attempts to learn French. His family is another inspiration. You Cant Kill the Rooster is a portrait of his brother who talks incessant hip-hop slang to his bewildered father. And no one hones a finer fury in response to such modern annoyances as restaurant meals presented in ludicrous towers and cashiers with 6-inch fingernails. Compared by The New Yorker to Twain and Hawthorne, Sedaris has become one of our best-loved authors. Sedaris is an amazing reader whose appearances draw hundreds, and his performancesincluding a jaw-dropping impression of Billie Holiday singing I wish I were an Oscar Meyer weinerare unforgettable. Sedariss essays on living in Paris are some of the funniest hes ever written. At last, someone even meaner than the French! The sort of blithely sophisticated, loopy humour that might have resulted if Dorothy Parker and James Thurber had had a love child. Entertainment Weekly on Barrel Fever Sidesplitting Not one of the essays in this new collection failed to crack me up; frequently I was helpless. The New York Times Book Review on Naked less...
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    Amazon Says: For fans of Tina Fey and David Sedaris—Internet star Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, makes her literary debut.   Jenny Lawson realized that the most mortifying moments of more...
    Amazon Says: For fans of Tina Fey and David Sedaris—Internet star Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, makes her literary debut.   Jenny Lawson realized that the most mortifying moments of our lives—the ones we’d like to pretend never happened—are in fact the ones that define us. In the #1 New York Times bestseller, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, Lawson takes readers on a hilarious journey recalling her bizarre upbringing in rural Texas, her devastatingly awkward high school years, and her relationship with her long-suffering husband, Victor. Chapters include: “Stanley the Magical, Talking Squirrel”; “A Series of Angry Post-It Notes to My Husband”; “My Vagina Is Fine. Thanks for Asking”; “And Then I Snuck a Dead Cuban Alligator on an Airplane.” Pictures with captions (no one would believe these things without proof) accompany the text. less...
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