Is Laughter EVER Inappropriate?
Mental illness is a serious topic. As you know, I make an effort not to be serious about much of anything, except books. You may have already guessed that I am mentally ill. I would love to be able to make light of my illness here, as I try to do in my daily life. However, I am no Jenny Lawson. I could not hope to make you laugh so much if I stood in front of a cream pie throwing machine for the rest of my life, and that doesn’t sound very much like fun anyway. I’m going to talk to you about her amazing book, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened.
I probably would never have chosen this book for myself. My one concession to humor is usually Terry Pratchett, although every good book should have some amusing moments. My dear friend Stephanie Abbott gifted me with it on my birthday recently. As she is frequently the person to whom I vent, she has a unique insight to my inner self, and knew I’d enjoy it. Since she does know me so well, I decided to give it a try. It did take me a little bit to get to, mostly due to a piece of fan fiction I’ve been writing. I should probably not admit that to you, but I have promised to be straight up!
In the interest of that transparency, my illness is called Borderline Personality Disorder, although there is some pressure to change the name since the reputation of this disorder is terrifying to medical professionals and laymen alike. Emotional Dysregulation Disorder is leading the pack. I am pretty sure “Drama Queen Disorder” is not in the running, but that is certainly how other people perceive it. It’s rarely amusing, and only a great deal of medication enables me to live a semi-normal life. There are other things that might help, but in this great nation, the only things you get on charity are prescriptions for which you must then figure out how to pay. That part is pretty funny, if your sense of humor runs dark. I don’t think you’ll have to be mad to enjoy Ms. Lawson’s work, but it certainly is meaningful to those of us who are.
According to the Amazon blurb: “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.”
It’s obvious from this that Ms. Lawson squarely belongs on the Irreverent Book Blog, and indeed nearly every word of this amazing book has that irreverent quality. The blurb, however, cannot begin to convey how hilarious Let’s Pretend This Never Happened actually is. There are very few things in my life, other than drug fueled late night conversations, that have made me scream with laughter. Ms. Lawson accomplished that on almost every page. Some of her stories are very different from the life that I have lived, but the attitude she brings to them is so familiar, it’s like having conversations with a good friend. If you’ve ever enjoyed one of those moments where you laugh until you literally cannot breathe, you will know that the effect this book may have on you. I suggest you don’t read it while loved ones are asleep. I might also suggest that unless you have a tablet, getting this book in paper form might be advisable. My Kindle didn’t do the pictures justice! I almost wish I had a higher rating than Heavenly to give this book, but that will have to do.