Dangerous things happen when bloggers get book deals. Yes, there are remarkably talented writers out there offering socially relevant content in blog form. But the blogosphere is a different sort of place—a place where TALKING IN ALL CAPS IS FUNNY and a picture of a cleverly captioned otter can circle the world while a thoughtful essay is putting on its pants.
Like many before her, Jenny Lawson (aka "the Bloggess") walks a fine line between entertaining and annoying with her new book, Let's Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) (Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam, 336 pages, $25.95). Lawson has lived a remarkably bizarre life and possesses the ability to relate the details of that life in a humorous way. While these are key ingredients in a successful memoir, her book too often reads just like a blog. With chapters such as "Phone Conversation I Had With My Husband After I Got Lost for the Eighty Thousandth Time," and several sections where long excerpts from her blog were simply cut-and-pasted in, I wondered why I had spent $25.95.
But as a storyteller, Lawson excels, recounting the bizarre and humiliating elements of her life with a solid mix of self-deprecation, relatable struggle and nonstop swearing. As a child, she saw her father, a taxidermist, use a dead squirrel as a hand puppet, pretending it was a magic squirrel that could do math. In high school, she got her arm stuck in a cow's vagina. Even when tackling subjects like her near-crippling anxiety disorder, Lawson keeps things funny as she describes her inability to go to parties without bringing up necrophilia.
Regardless, the book is entertaining enough to attract hordes of new followers, which will most likely serve her better than a publishing contract.
GO: Jenny Lawson reads at Powell's Books at Cedar Hills Crossing, 3415 SW Cedar Hills Blvd., Beaverton, 228-4651, on Wednesday, Aug. 15. 7 pm. Free.