Full disclosure: Anastasia & I are on a plane right now, sitting behind the world’s most annoying couple (who have already shushed us… BEFORE WE LEFT THE GROUND), so instead of incurring their wrath again by continuing our fascinating discussion of The Vampire Diaries and Ian Somerhalder’s beauty, we decided to grab my ancient netbook and write this review. Like you do.
So, as we reported a few weeks ago, we Rampant Readers gathered en masse for the Atlanta appearance of the lovely Bloggess. It was fantastic, full of laughter and chickens.
(Oh, I’m sorry, do you not know The Bloggess? You should probably go remedy that. Please start with this post. Go on, we’ll wait.
All caught up? In love with Jenny Lawson now, too? Good. We’ll proceed.)
AB: So this might be the funniest book I have ever read, and I have read many a funny book. Jenny just has this way of phrasing things that is totally unexpected and hilarious, so you get that startled factor along with the laughter, that makes you laugh even harder. I love that emotion.
RS: Agreed. I read this over a course of a few nights out on my balcony and I was a little afraid at some point that my neighbors were going to come up and tell me to quit laughing so loud (MUCH LIKE CERTAIN PEOPLE ON AIRPLANES). A lot of people can take an experience everyone has and make it funny. Jenny, on the other hand, can take experiences that NO ONE has had and make them both hilarious and totally relatable.
AB: Dude. Seriously. I, for one, never had my dad wake me up with a puppet made from the carcass of a squirrel. Sad, but true. And yet, I felt Jenny’s horror as if I had. NO ONE EXPECTS A MIDNIGHT SQUIRREL PUPPET. I also appreciated her ability to marvel at the insanity of these events along with us. I imagine her watching someone read her book and constantly saying to them, “I know, right???”
RS: Okay, now I totally want to read the book again with her. Then we could have fascinating discussions about the proper ways to skin things and whatnot. And since we are her BFFs, I think we should make this happen.
AB: She needs us, no doubt about it (more on that in a bit). Ok, so beyond the fact that this book is funny (and boy howdy is it ever), there are many moments of poignancy and sometimes brutual honesty in the subjects Jenny tackles.
RS: I’m not going to lie… I cried at the chapter where she talks about her struggles getting pregnant and carrying a child to term. It was truly heartbreaking, and you could feel her absolute joy and terror when she finally became pregnant with her daughter. One of the most courageous things you can do in this world is hope, and you could feel her absolute fear of hoping that this time it would all be okay in that chapter.
AB: Beautifully put! It helped for me that since I am addicted to her blog, I know Hailey is a happy, adorable 7 year old, but wow did I feel her struggles through that chapter. She writes with such an immediacy about all the events in the book. Her honesty really shows through her struggles with anxiety and depression and I think that honesty is incredible for its affect on her readers. I have struggled with minor anxiety, nothing on Jenny’s level, but enough that it was so meaningful to hear her talk about it.
RS: Absolutely. I struggled with (and continue to do so to some degree) both anxiety and depression, and I related so strongly to everything she was saying about what this felt like for her. It was one of those moments of just pure clarity, of, “Oh yeah, someone else has felt this, too.” To be able to reach out and connect with people like that through words is an amazing gift, and is something that Jenny does both through her blog and this book.
AB: Yes. If you aren’t familiar with the traveling red dress, go read about it now. If you don’t come away from those entries feeling inspired, you have no heart. (In airplane news, the peanuts have just arrived! FEEL THE EXCITEMENT.) Ok, now that we have addressed the heavy stuff, let’s get back to the funny! The chapter I was most excited to read was how Jenny met her husband, Victor. Because frankly, that man seems like the most patient, long-suffering guy in the world on her blog. And hilarious. I want a Victor.
RS: I know! I was so excited about this too! Some of my favorite chapters were ones that just consisted of conversations between the two of them. I absolutely adore their relationship. I think we all need a Victor. (Airplane update: There were no biscotti cookies. I repeat, NO BISCOTTI COOKIES. What is the world coming to?)
AB: They are so perfectly suited to each other, it’s just marvelous. His snark is legendary. Ok, so if we have not convinced you to read this book yet, there may be no hope for you. It will make Beyonce the giant metal chicken very happy – READ, READ, MOTHERFUCKER.
So with a book, comes a book tour. And we Rampant Ladies were ECSTATIC to find out that Jenny’s tour got extended with a leg into Atlanta. All of us, except Rhy who is currently cooking shrimp on the barbie in Australia, made mad dashes to Barnes and Noble to see the legend in person.
RS: It is seriously sad how excited we were when we got to B&N. AB had the FABULOUS idea to bring our own army of flat Beyonce’s, which proved to be fantastic entertainment when one is sitting around on the floor of a B&N (well, actually, that may have just been me and Princess Consuela who were entertained by playing with our Beyonce puppets… what? They are full of whimsy!). By a stroke of good luck (and by being BFFs with Jenny, of course), we got moved into the very special reserved seats for the reading. Fabulous!
AB: I was obsessively updating our twitter feed as the wait progressed for things to start, especially as the crowd grew larger and larger. God bless the staff of this B&N – they never seem prepared for the popularity of the authors they bring (see my experience with Jim Butcher’s event). Jenny tweeted: “B&N manager is visibly shaken at how dangerously awesome our tribe of misfits are. We have unsettled the norms.” (RS: Side note – her next tweet, still in Atlanta, was this and OMG how do we not know the person that makes these cupcakes?? They should SO come to our next cupcake night.)
We got a special treat at our reading. None other that NY Times best-selling author of The Help, Kathryn Stockett, introduced Jenny! She is a very tiny, very southern, lady who is obviously a huge fan of Jenny.
RS: Yes, before we go on, you should all know that Kathryn Stockett is kind of adorable. I just want to put that out there. And then… the lady of the hour appeared! And she was absolutely worth all the driving in traffic, all the waiting, all the covert chicken making on company computers. She was absolutely delightful! I know we use that word on this blog a lot, but if anyone encompassed everything that it means, it would be Jenny Lawson.
AB: At first, all she could do was look around at the enormous crowd and repeat “Holy shit” over and over. Then she warned folks with kids that yeah, this was going to be an adult event. I do love a lady who knows how to swear with alacrity. She dove right in to her reading and wow, I was NOT expecting her to choose to read the chapter she did. (Airplane update: the lovely couple in front of us, the female of whom claimed she had a terrible headache, keep bouncing their seats around as if they are 5 years old. CHARMING FOLK.)
RS: Oh, you thought this was where I was going to tell you the chapter she read? HAHA. Info you are only privy to when you go to the readings!
Oh okay. It was the chapter about the cleanse. Yes. THAT chapter. And you will not believe it, but when Jenny Lawson reads it TO you, it is even more hysterical!
(Airplane update: OMG TURBULENCE. Also, we officially hate the couple. Headache my ass.)
AB: (I think the male has gas. Something smells nasty and it’s not just their attitude.) GALES OF LAUGHTER, MY FRIENDS. The entire places was HOWLING. It was magical. Following the chapter, she took questions from the audience. Many of them were about her taxidermied friends and, SUPER EXCITING, she revealed that Copernicus, the homicidal stuffed monkey, would be at the signing table for pictures! HUGS ARE STRANGLES.
RS: (EW. Also, we almost just accidentally deleted this post, and I’m pretty sure it’s their fault.) Of course, we were all in a tizzy hearing that Copernicus was there, and she had just told a Nater Tater story, and basically everyone was just rolling at this point. Seriously, it was like one giant PJ party, only with a taxidermied monkey and a REALLY funny person there telling you stories all night while we all just piled in the floor laughing and giggling and laughing… you get the idea. We were about one Victor story away from all braiding each other’s hair when the (still somewhat scared) bookstore employees announced that it was photo and book signing time.
AB: We waited patiently for our turn and I got to be the lucky first one in our group to meet Jenny. She was SO FRIENDLY. SHE COMPLIMENTED MY HAIR. I LOVE HER FOREVER. She signed my book, Flat Beyonce, and posed for a picture. Sadly, the lady taking the photos was so freaked out, all our pictures turned out blurry. FAIL. Still, I will always have the memory of Jenny’s chipper voice saying, “You have such gorgeous hair!” Siiiiggh.
RS: So needless to say, we love her even more now than we did before the signing. She is fabulous, and if she visits your city, you should definitely pay her a visit. And now, in our final bit of airplane news, the captain has just announced our arrival into the tornado-riddled DC area, so on behalf of myself, AB, and the most obnoxious couple in the world, good night!