Friday 14 October 2016

Review: Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

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?

Review: you've probably heard me talking about this book on social media, or talking about wanting this book on this blog, or heard me laughing at this book in the gym! This book did no disappoint. I didn't read Jenny Lawson's first book, but this fabulous cover caught my eye in Target, then I heard people talking about the premise of this book on Twitter and I knew that I had to have it. Sometimes books like this that pop up again and again in front of you can be a disappointment when they actually arrive but I loved this books so much, it did not let me down! 

The structure of this book is a collection of essays and a bit like a good comedy show, they link together and gel together well to form this fabulous book, these essays deal with all sorts of thing that life can throw at us concerning personal life, professional life, family life, mental health, food, transport, travel, work everything under the sun. This book will also provide you with amazing facts about creatures you knew little about before, about taxidermy and about all sorts of health (physical and mental) issues. It really could be a go-to guide it is that interesting. The authors style is somewhat erratic and chatty but that is just how I like a non-fiction book and so this was absolutely perfect for me. If you like your books ordered and very much 'by the book' (excuse the pun) then perhaps you will not like this style of writing, but for me, this was absolutely perfect. 

This books does deal with all sorts of mental, and other, health issues and so there is a serious side to it but Jenny Lawson is so open and honest about everything, at no point does it feel heavy or preachy or scary. She is open about her anxiety, she is open about how her depression makes her act, she is open about the struggles she faces but the stuff that she does anyway. There are moments in the book where she perfectly sums up society's attitude to depression and how frustrating it is and she challenges all of that right here in this book. It seems crazy to say that I was laughing along at a book that deals with mental health issues but I seriously was. I could identify with so much of it and Jenny Lawson's anecdotes are just the funniest and because she narrated the audiobook, which I listened to,  the way she tells each story and structures each chapter is just so on point. 

Even if you have no interest in the subject of mental health, even if you have never even heard of some of the things discussed in this book you need to get this in your collection now. The structure means that you can dip in and out of it and when you need a pick-me-up (which we all do) jump to to the chapter that is right for you. You won't regret it! 

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