Something very exciting has been happening here at Picador over the last few months. It all started when we received, via a US book scout, the manuscript for LET’S PRETEND THIS NEVER HAPPENED, a memoir by Internet sensation Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess. Jenny has been called ‘the funniest woman alive’ (by at least three people), ‘one of the most progressive women’s voices of our time’ (by an acclaimed feminist writer), and ‘totally inappropriate’ (by Marie Claire). As we were about to discover to our delight, she is all of these things and more.
A number of us began reading the manuscript right away, and before long giggles were erupting from behind computer screens all over the office. Here was a story that was completely unrelatable to all of us – given that no one at Picador grew up in rural Texas as the child of an over-zealous taxidermist, nor has ever mistaken a marriage proposal for an attempted murder / sent themselves a cobra in the post / had an arm stuck up a cow (or at least, none of my colleagues has admitted to any of these things). And yet, amidst all the glorious weirdness and irreverence and insanity, this was a story that every one of us could relate to – it is a memoir of childhood, of shamefully awkward teenage years, of getting older, falling in love, going through rough patches and learning to find joy in the everyday.
We all agreed that this was a brilliantly one-of-a-kind voice and one of the funniest – if not the funniest – books we’d ever read, and it left us feeling tingly with excitement about getting it into the hands of as many readers as possible. So, with mere months to go before the US publication, we acquired UK rights and got cracking.
A great number of wonderful things have happened to this book along the way. It has been praised by many bestselling writers, including Neil Gaiman, Jen Lancaster and Augusten Burroughs (who said ‘Even when I was funny, I wasn’t this funny’). It has been pre-ordered in staggering quantities by the hundreds of thousands of people who read Jenny’s award-winning blog (thebloggess.com). It has hit the number one slot on the New York Times bestseller lists in its first week on sale in the US. But most wonderfully of all, it has been getting the most deliriously ecstatic responses from booksellers and readers, both those who have been fans of the author for some time and those who have never read her before. A number of these people have said that they laughed so hard whilst reading that strangers edged away from them on public transport. One person fell off a chair. If that’s not the sign of a good book, I don’t know what is.
I really hope that when you open the pages of LET’S PRETEND THIS NEVER HAPPENED you’ll feel the same thrill of discovery that we all did. And if you fall off your chair, too – well, even better.