Mini-Review: Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir, by Jenny Lawson

lets pretend this never happened jenny lawsonRating: ★★★☆☆

Genres: Non-Fiction, Memoir, Humor

Goodreads

I picked this up as an audiobook a few months ago, and I think it’s the first humor book I listen to, which was an interesting experience – Jenny Lawson narrates it herself and she’s so funny. It was also quite weird – there is a lot of exaggeration in sound effect, with bells and singing and cows. I’m not a fan of absurd humor, including said bells and singing and cows, but it’s alright because the actual book content was good!

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened is the first memoir of Jenny Lawson, and includes stories from her childhood, teen years and adulthood.

I liked Furiously Happy a lot more than this one, which is probably why this got 3 stars, but it definitely has the same hilarious, witty tone that I loved about Furiously Happy. I love that Jenny Lawson keeps it so real and honest, and while there is not much sensitivity in the way she talks about things, it can be pretty relatable, too. The parts she talked about being anxious in dinner parties and rambling embarrassing nonsense, that was such a highlight for me. She’s pretty candid about her experiences.

I recommend this if you want to get a good laugh and don’t mind Jenny rambling nonsense for most of the time.

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Mini-Review: Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things, by Jenny Lawson

furiously happy jenny lawsonRating: ★★★★☆

Genres: Non-Fiction, Memoir, Humor

Goodreads

Furiously Happy is a collection of stories from Jenny Lawson’s life and experiences with mental illness. I’ve been wanting to read Furiously Happy since it came out, but somehow I never got to. When I saw it in the airport on my way to my vacation I bought it immediately – and have zero regrets.

This book was such a fun, light read and yet it had such deep emotion and many relatable moments. I loved it very, very much and it was perfect for the trip – the short chapters made it easy to read just a little every few days. Laughing about mental illness should absolutely be a trend, as it makes you feel so much less alone and weird. Jenny Lawson is hilarious.

Highly recommend this one!

Review: The Fact of a Body, by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

The Fact of a Body Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

Rating: ★★★★☆

Genres: Nonfiction, Biography, True Crime

Goodreads / Amazon

The Fact of a Body is the true story of the murder of little Jeremy by Ricky Langley, a strange young man who’s a convicted pedophile. It merges with the story of the author, who was an intern in the law firm working on Langley’s defense after the first trial, which sentenced him to death. Alex is strongly against the death penalty her whole life, but finds herself struggling with her own history. For the first time, she wants a man dead.

This was a difficult book to get through at times, in the sense that the theme of child abuse (especially molestation) is so very recurrent and graphic. This made me wince and felt quite heavy to read about. I considered putting it down several times, but in the end I was entranced by the story and wanted to see where it was going. If you hate open endings, maybe skip this one – it’s not that it leaves you in a frustrating note, but it leaves margin for interpretation and I didn’t really know what to make of Ricky Langley in the end. Not a good person, that is for SURE. But how much of what he did or said was true, we might never know. Continue reading

Review: I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, by Michelle McNamara

ill be gone in the dark michelle mcnamara

Rating: ★★★★☆

Genres: Nonfiction, Biography, True Crime

Goodreads / Amazon

I heard amazing things about this book, written by the author of the blog http://truecrimediary.com/, which deals with never-solved cold cases. Michelle died in 2016, and this book was published after being put together from what she’d written plus her notes. The author has a matter-of-factly but tactful voice. She makes the point to make the victims the center of the story, and doesn’t deal with the crimes with morbid curiosity. She aims not to glamorize the murderer, and I think she did that very well. Continue reading

eARC Review: Educated: A Memoir, by Tara Westover

educated tara westoverRating: ★★★★★

Genres: Memoir, Non-Fiction

Goodreads / Amazon

I have received this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This powerful, gripping memoir must have been one of the strongest books I’ve ever read. Educated is Tara’s story, her life in a survivalist Mormon family, and then her education which eventually led her to Cambridge and to discover so many things she never knew.

The violence, the power of denial and the acceptance of what was normal within such a world struck me deeply, my heart beating fast as I read some parts of it. It literally took my appetite away at least twice. This story grips your attention, demanding, honest. There are parts where I sighed, sad for the author’s beliefs as a kid, the things she went thought unquestioning their wrongness. I had to make several pauses between chapters, the power of this story so enthralling it put me in an anxious mood more than once.

TW: abuse, violence, gaslighting, toxic family relationship.

Review: A River in Darkness, by Masaji Ishikawa

A River in the Darkness Masaji IshikawaRating: ★★★★☆

Genres: Non-fiction, Memoir

Goodreads  / Amazon

Half-Japanese and half-Korean Masaji Ishikawa lived a poor and hard life in Japan with his family, angry at his violent father and feeling like an outsider. Then, when he’s thirteen, his family moves to North Korea, in search of a better life – the promises of free education, abundance of jobs and free access to doctors lures them. They soon find out the depth of the lies of the propaganda, and life gets much, much harder. Masaji tells the story of his life in “paradise on earth”, and its brutality, the endless hunger, poverty and cruelty and his escape 36 years later. Continue reading