review

BOOK REVIEW | Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson

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In LET’S PRETEND THIS NEVER HAPPENED, Jenny Lawson baffled readers with stories about growing up the daughter of a taxidermist. In her new book, FURIOUSLY HAPPY, Jenny explores her lifelong battle with mental illness. A hysterical, ridiculous book about crippling depression and anxiety? That sounds like a terrible idea. And terrible ideas are what Jenny does best.

According to Jenny: “Some people might think that being ‘furiously happy’ is just an excuse to be stupid and irresponsible and invite a herd of kangaroos over to your house without telling your husband first because you suspect he would say no since he’s never particularly liked kangaroos. And that would be ridiculous because no one would invite a herd of kangaroos into their house. Two is the limit. I speak from personal experience. My husband says that none is the new limit. I say he should have been clearer about that before I rented all those kangaroos.”

“Most of my favorite people are dangerously fucked-up but you’d never guess because we’ve learned to bare it so honestly that it becomes the new normal. Like John Hughes wrote in The Breakfast Club, ‘We’re all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it.’ Except go back and cross out the word ‘hiding.'”

Jenny’s first book, LET’S PRETEND THIS NEVER HAPPENED, was ostensibly about family, but deep down it was about celebrating your own weirdness. FURIOUSLY HAPPY is a book about mental illness, but under the surface it’s about embracing joy in fantastic and outrageous ways-and who doesn’t need a bit more of that?

–  blurb from Goodreads

Jenny Lawson does an extraordinary job at explaining the struggles she has faced due to her mental illness in a way that doesn’t weigh down the reader. She has a sense of humour and is able to poke fun at herself – she understands that she’s not normal but she’s fine with that. Her stories offer insight into how she copes when she’s able to and how sometimes getting out of bed is impossible.
This memoir is an accurate depiction of how shitty mental illness is. It’s a reminder that you’re not alone and it’s a celebration of embracing who you are while enduring all of life’s obstacles.

I found this book the most enjoyable when I was having a bad brain day – when I was feeling incredibly overwhelmed and depressed. However, those days have become less frequent and so it’s taken me a very long time to finish it. But, this book finally gave me the push I needed to go back on antidepressants. Seeing how open Lawson is with her struggles and talking about how she’s medicated opened my eyes. I know that medication doesn’t make you weak and I’ve always been very supportive of it but it’s always different when it comes to yourself.

If you like memoirs, are curious about mental health or suffer from it yourself, and have a little bit of a morbid/peculiar sense of humor, this is 100% the book for you. It’s important not to take life too seriously and Lawson teaches an eyeopening lesson on how to be “furiously happy”. As well, the epilogue is absolutely beautiful and the most comforting piece I have ever read.

* Originally posted on Goodreads on June 19th, 2016

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