Thursday, March 16, 2017

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


Okay, so Jenny Lawson is a new favorite author of mine.

I have loved her for years. I didn't follow her blog, but someone linked me to her post about Beyonce the Giant Metal Chicken and I have never laughed so hard in my life. Once a year or so I'd return to it. Then a couple of years ago a college student I was mentoring had a super shitty week, and I read her that post as a cheer-you-up moment. She later gifted me with a mug featuring Beyonce herself.

This is exactly the kind of memoir I love—a mix of heavy stuff with hilarious crap. Jenny is uproariously funny. I was listening to this (she reads it herself and her high-pitched voice just increases the humor) and there were times when I barked out loud with laughter.

In this book Jenny tackles her many mental and physical health problems (mostly mental health) with aplomb! She starts off coming out of a real depressive funk. It goaded her for quite some time, and it's jarring but also awesome to really gain understanding when she describes how this illness is so sick, that it's actually trying to trick her brain into killing her. That was an eye-opening explanation. She decides afterwards, to be "furiously happy" as a middle finger to the world in general and her depression in particular. So she embarks on continued adventures with taxidermy, and eventually a trip to Australia. In between, she spend time in therapy, she takes a lot of prescription drugs, and she does other things like go to a sleep clinic. She has such a light touch that my husband unfortunately assumed I was listening to a really fluffy, silly book. It was hard to convince him otherwise until I told him about Jenny's coda at the end where she talks about how many people have reached out to her via her blog and told of how she literally saved their life or the life of someone they love who was suicidal, until they read Jenny's radically honest stories of her own battles. Usually when I say that books can save a life, I mean something more amorphous and metaphorical, but it's impressive (and chill-creating) to realize that Jenny Lawson has literally saved lives. Kudos! That's quite impressive.

I am so looking forward to her first book and I'm definitely going to listen to that one too. (There was a bonus chapter on the audiobook, BTW, for you Jenny Lawson completists.) She reminds me of David Sedaris. And if you know me, you know that is sky-high praise!

I checked this eaudiobook out of the library via Overdrive.

This book is published by Macmillan, my employer.

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