Yes, that's a taxidermied mouse.

Yes, that’s a taxidermied mouse.

“This book is totally true, except for the parts that aren’t.”

My bedroom, as you might imagine, looks like a small branch of Waterstone’s. I read extensively and constantly, and always have a book recommendation ready for any occasion. Hell, that’s the reason I write the damn blog. And thank you for reading. My sister’s bedroom, however, looks like a branch of HMV, shelved almost entirely with DVDs. As such, imagine my surprise when a package arrived from her (she’s currently in Australia, farming wombats or something) containing a book that was for me to read because it was hysterically funny. Bear in mind, that my sister really doesn’t read much, so this is like getting a recipe from Paul McCartney for BBQ ribs. Nonetheless, I trust her and if she claims something is funny, it probably is, as we share a sense of humour.

I went into the book blind. I don’t know who Jenny Lawson is, other than from what I gleaned from a little bit of research beforehand. She is, effectively, just a blogger and writer, who talks to the Internet at large about her life and the socially awkward things that happen to her in it. This book is her autobiography, a project usually reserved for more famous faces (and people on TOWIE). This could’ve gone so wrong, but thankfully it went so right.

Jenny grew up in Wall, Texas, living a life that was anything but normal. To my standards at least. Her father is a taxidermist who also loved adopting animals and introducing them around the house, often without any warning to the rest of the family who would suddenly find a bobcat in the living room. On one occasion, he adopts a load of turkeys and insists on claiming that they are quail, only for them to latch onto Jenny and follow her to school repeatedly, ending in an incident when one (called Jenkins) gets into the school cafeteria and shits everywhere. This is just from one of the first chapters and it doesn’t get any less insane from there.

Jenny covers her life quickly and breezily, with genuinely funny observations. She has had a strange life so far and it has included such unforgettable moments as wearing a deer, discovering no one has taught her how to sit on a couch correctly, being woken up by a puppet made from half a dead squirrel, taking acid, spa weekends with women who might actually have their lives together, talking to people at parties about getting stabbed in the face, and getting her hand stuck in a cow’s vagina. Along the way she drops off valuable pointers about life, such as how to bury a dog (and chase off the vultures who try to undo your work), why Neil Patrick Harris would be a successful mass murderer, and why you should always ask your estate agent how many bodies are buried on the premises of the house you’re buying.

Despite the quick jokes and fast-paced storytelling that Jenny mostly goes in for, there are some heartbreaking chapters that reveal truly awful moments in her life that just aren’t possible to ignore or make light of. She suffers hugely from anxiety attacks, has arthritis and suffered two miscarriages, and yet remains such a positive upbeat narrator. The stories that do allow for comedy have it in spades and I laughed out loud numerous times throughout the book. Some of her stories seem so outlandish that you wonder for a moment if she’s made them up, but I don’t know if anyone could. Also, she tends to have photo evidence of many of them.

Her love for her husband Victor and daugher Hailey is incredible and while she’s probably not someone I’d want to leave alone for too long with my children (if I had any), she’s one of those people who means well and just wants to make the most of her life. And she most certainly has done that. Hilarious, warm and occasionally shocking, I most certainly will not be pretending that this never happened.

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