Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson
Published by Flatiron Books
Genres: Adult, Non-Fiction
Source: Personal Collection
Add to: Goodreads
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? - GoodReads
I picked up Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson because I had read and loved Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. I suggest the audiobook if you’ve never read it before. Jenny does an awesome job narrating her book. I didn’t listen to Furiously Happy this time.
I first found Lawson through her Beyonce the Giant Metal Chicken story. If you haven’t read that particular gem, do yourself the favor and read it now. But don’t drink while you do it. Hot liquid through the nose is not comfortable I hear. I instantly took to Lawson’s sense of humor. I love how she sprinkles in curse words like the sentence enhancers they are.
Mostly though I loved Furiously Happy because it reminded me, again, that mental illness is something we can talk about, we should talk about. It reminds me that some people are different because that’s just a part of who they are. Much like I have blue eyes because that’s just a part of me. She also makes it okay to laugh about the lighter side of her experiences. She makes it alright to acknowledge that not all of us are as alright as we’d like to be.
I grew up with someone who had varying levels of depression and anxiety. I didn’t recognize them for what they were and in my late teens thought it was a cop out. I used to get so angry when I would look back and see what those things had done; that my childhood might have been better without them (the depression and anxiety). I used to be mad at the person in question. Why couldn’t they just stop being sad, stop worrying? Seriously, nothing life altering brought these episodes on. Why was it so hard to move on? Or those my were my thoughts before opening my mind and reading more about the subject. Now I see it for what it really was. And it’s not fair to anyone really. But it is life. Jenny Lawson helped me see that it wasn’t less of a life just a different one.
It wasn’t until I started reading books like Let’s Pretend This Never Happened and Furiously Happy that I started to understand the diseases. Of course I’ve read the public service posters, seen the commercials, heard the advocates telling us about it, but until someone could relate it at my level, I couldn’t see it for what it was.
So thank you Jenny Lawson for being brave enough to share your experiences with such honesty.