Author: Jenny Lawson
Series: Stand-alone Novel
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publication Date: 9/22/2015
Source: Borrowed from library
Read All About It:
In Furiously Happy, #1 New York Times bestselling author Jenny Lawson explores her lifelong battle with mental illness. A hysterical, ridiculous book about crippling depression and anxiety? That sounds like a terrible idea.
But terrible ideas are what Jenny does best.
As Jenny says:
“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.'”
Furiously Happy is about “taking those moments when things are fine and making them amazing, because those moments are what make us who we are, and they’re the same moments we take into battle with us when our brains declare war on our very existence. It’s the difference between “surviving life” and “living life”. It’s the difference between “taking a shower” and “teaching your monkey butler how to shampoo your hair.” It’s the difference between being “sane” and being “furiously happy.”
Lawson is beloved around the world for her inimitable humor and honesty, and in Furiously Happy, she is at her snort-inducing funniest. This is a book about embracing everything that makes us who we are – the beautiful and the flawed – and then using it to find joy in fantastic and outrageous ways. Because as Jenny’s mom says, “Maybe ‘crazy’ isn’t so bad after all.” Sometimes crazy is just right.
I was a sceptic about how good this book would be. As the overview even questions, a funny book about mental illness? Is that possible? Let me tell you, it definitely is! I found myself smiling like an idiot and having an occasional loud laugh escape from me while I was riding back and forth to my internship on the subway. People probably thought I was crazy, but this book (and my family) taught me that being crazy is not always a terrible thing.
If we’re going to talk about what I liked, the cover is the best place to start since it’s what first caught my attention. The cute (and somewhat crazed) raccoon stood out amongst the adult non-fiction novels and I was sure someone must have put it back in the wrong spot. After reading the description, I noticed the inside cover drawings and knew this book was for me.
Beyond the cover and inside graphics, the writing caught my attention too. I did not wait for the funny parts to come, they were scattered throughout, well-written and placed in each essay at just the right times. Even the beginning section of “Advanced Praise” was different from normal with humorous quotes from Jane Austen, William Shakespeare, and Jesus as opposed to current authors and critics. While the ideas that Lawson discusses are insightful and show a vulnerable side of how she deals with her mental disorders, there is always something unexpected that takes the serious topic for a funny twist. At one point, she reiterates her dad’s advice saying, “You don’t have to go to some special private school to be an artist. Just look at the intricate beauty of cobwebs. Spiders make them with their butts.” I’ve known how spiders make webs for years, but the way it was worded was still enough to make me feel inspired and also like cracking up.
Besides being funny, the book also does a great job of reminding readers that no matter what they’re going through they are not alone.
“I wish someone had told me this simple but confusing truth: Even when everything’s going your way you can still be sad. Or anxious. Or uncomfortably numb. Because you can’t always control your brain or your emotions even when things are perfect.”
Quotes like this one make me feel that this is an excellent book for older teens as well, not just adults. It was not the type book I would sit down and read in one night due to the high level of humor packed into each essay and the fact they were self-contained to an extent, but it is one I am glad I could read through a couple of chapters at a time.