Author: Jenny Lawson (a.k.a. The Bloggess)
Pages: 384 (Paperback edition, including a new chapter)
Publisher: Penguin Group, U.S.A.
Pub Date: 3/5/2013 (paperback)
It’s nearly impossible for me to talk about this book without discussing Jenny Lawson’s blog, The Bloggess. I can’t remember when I started reading it; further, I would be hard pressed to tell you how I even found her online. I think it was one of those things where one thing lead to another and I ended up on her site.
I kind of have a thing for irreverent people. As much as I strive to not offend as many people as possible on my blog (see: near total lack of swearing and almost no effort to “rock the boat”), I think that I’m drawn to writers like Jenny Lawson, Erika Napoletano, and Jenna McCarthy because of their total lack of fear in expressing themselves. They aren’t afraid to speak their minds, and more often than not, the use of more…adult language is required to make their point.
Jenny has a fearlessness to her that’s infectious. I find myself laughing at the most “inappropriate” things because for whatever reason, I find some nugget in there to relate to. Sure, it would be difficult to draw the exact line of how I can possibly relate to someone whose childhood was eons different from mine, who has absolutely no fear in her writing, and who can sometimes use the word “fuck” as a comma. Somehow though…I do relate to her. She has an honesty and dare I say, joy about life that not a lot of supposedly more “well-adjusted” people who I know have. And I am not alone, as Jenny has an army of fans online who appreciate her as much as I do. It really is no wonder she’s loved online…I mean the woman has a whole page devoted to Wil Wheaton Collating Paper for those poor souls in marketing that send her ridiculous pitches.
Unsurprisingly, her book is not all that different from her blog…it’s just a bit more focused on her own personal story. The stories from her childhood are a strange combination of endearing and horrifying, but in a good way. She is not shy about discussing things like her father’s penchant for allowing wild animals in the house, as well as her struggles with mental illness. She discusses her upbringing and her family with heart, and even when she talks about some of the more difficult times in her life, she does so with such disarming humor that you can’t help but love her a bit. Like any other great memoir, I really felt I got to know Jenny in a much deeper and more personal way than I have as a regular reader of her blog.
And it isn’t as if she doesn’t share intimate details of her life in her blog…she does. But with the book, it was as though she had a bit more of a chance to allow the reader into her life in a slightly different way. Is she still the same old irreverent Jenny? Absolutely. Is this book for everyone? Probably not. I highly recommend heading on over to her blog to read a handful of entries before you decide to buy the book. If you enjoy her blog, chances are you will enjoy her book. If you feel like splurging a bit, I recommend the audiobook version, as it is read by Jenny, to hilarious effect.
Tonight, I’m off to see her at the Barnes & Noble in my hometown of San José, California. I’ll be back here to tell you all about it tomorrow.
Rating: A hilarious read, with sprinkles of heartbreaking. I loved it, but if you’re unfamiliar with The Bloggess…check out the blog before buying the book. For me, this was easily 4 out of 5 stars. For others, it might not be a good fit.