Because I am ill-informed and a bit of a plebe, I had never heard of Jenny Lawson until my better half picked up her book at Chapters and said “This is supposed to be pretty funny.”
Only the biggest understatement ever, for that day. This book is hilarious and sad and happy and believably unbelievable.
It’s a ‘mostly true memoir’ of her life growing up in rural Texas, complete with dead animal puppets and bread-bag shoes. I’m no literary genius by any stretch, but that shit is gold.
With chapter titles like “I Was a Three-Year-Old Arsonist”, “The Psychopath on the Other Side of the Bathroom Door”, and “And Then I Snuck a Dead Cuban Alligator on an Airplane”, I was alerted early that this isn’t going to be an average biographic retelling of homey picnics at the shore.
It’s funny how a person’s idea of a good standard of living is changed when confronted by the extremes: exceedingly poor or exceedingly rich people live lives that are vastly different from my own middle class existence, and from the outside looking in we either envy or abhor those conditions. I am lucky to have a roof over my head, hot water to shower in, and food in my fridge – those are my standards. When faced with a story of starving children, I lower that standard to ‘lets just get them some fucking food, to start with’. Worry about the roof and hot water later! Conversely, when in the presence of rich people (which is not often, believe me), it suddenly becomes the right thing to do to use 18 thousand forks at one sitting.
Why am I blathering on, right? It’s because I, as I moved through this book, suddenly found myself agreeing that it was perfectly logical to wear bread-bag shoes and totally normal to have your father wake you in the middle of the night with a dead animal puppet.
The way Jenny writes is so irreverent that it is impossible not to feel the same ‘you-totally-should-have-known-better’ about your husband walking through a puddle of skull-boiling water.
She also relates her miscarriages, dealing with mental illness, and finding out that not all women are out to kill her. This book is funny and honest and awesome in 12 million different ways. You need to read this book.
Read Jenny’s blog: www.thebloggess.com
Follow Jenny on Twitter: @thebloggess