Date re-read: September 29, 2017
Published by Flatiron Books, September 2015
Verdict: I adore 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?
I adore Jenny Lawson and her wit and humanity and bravery and just sheer weirdness.
This was one of the first memoirs I read when I decided to read more non-fiction (which by the way, brilliant decision on my end) and when I needed something fun and quick to read on my flight from hell back from holiday (I just have the worst luck when it comes to flying, but this time really took the cake) this seemed like the obvious pick. And I am so glad to have decided to re-read this. Jenny Lawson is an absolute hero – and beyond hilarious. I have so much respect for her honesty and her vulnerability and her bravery, but its her wit that lifts this beyond many of the other memoirs I have read since reading this.
Jenny Lawson is painfully honest about her struggle with mental illness – and the picture she paints s not pretty. I have so much respect for the fact that she gets up time and time again and that she found a way to deal with her illness. I cannot even image how hard that must be at times. I adore her manifesto of living “furiously happy” and I adore the strength she shows.
This time around I also really appreciated her relationship with her husband a lot more than the last time – he is the straight man to her weirdness and the picture it paints of their relationship is just beautiful. I love when people are happy with their spouses.
So, yes, brilliantly done memoir with humour and wit but also raw and honest pain. Which seems to be just my favourite type of memoir (not sure what that says about me). Also, she makes taxidermy sound a lot more fun than I thought possible.
First sentence: “Dear reader, Right now you’re holding this book in your hands and wondering if it’s worth reading.”