Book review: Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

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Like my grandmother always said, “Your opinions are valid and important. Unless it’s some stupid bullshit you’re being shitty about, in which case you can just go fuck yourself.”

I remember when this book showed up in the 2015 Goodreads Choice Awards. I didn’t know what it was about, but I knew it had a big, smiling raccoon on the cover and it was in the humor section, so I threw it on my TBR and promptly forgot about it for two years. Flash forward to January of 2018 when I decided to start reading (or listening) to more nonfiction. A memoir about dealing with mental illness sounded like a good choice, and oh, look, there it is in a dusty corner of my TBR list.

I knew nothing about Jenny Lawson when I started reading (listening) to this book. I just knew that she was supposed to be really funny and this book was supposed to be very good. So, it was really funny at times (I laughed out loud on more than one occasion, particularly in the chapter about possums) but also really serious and sad at the same time. Jenny toes the line between sarcasm and sincerity, but I think that she always stays on the right side. (That said, it’s her memoir and her life and she can be as flippant about it as she wants!)

Now, I don’t want to get too personal or too deep in this review, but I have, for the majority of my life, dealt with anxiety.  It comes and goes, sometimes almost paralyzing me in place and other times waiting in the fringes of my thoughts, but it’s always there. I’ve never been treated for it because what if the medication makes things worse (that’s the anxiety talking and I know it) but I’m trying to talk myself into making an appointment. But anyway, the point of me saying all of this is that this book made me feel better about myself.

Jenny would mention how sometimes she feels a particular way and I’d think, wow, I feel like that all the time. Her analogy about spoons was great — it’s like you have a pile of spoons and you only get so many for the day and once they’re gone, you’re done. You use a spoon or two to go to the bank, a few spoons at work, a spoon when you go to the grocery store, and by the time you’re done, you have no spoons left for your family and you end up locking yourself in your bedroom with your cat.

This isn’t to say that the whole book is amazing and without fault — there are some rambly sections and a few chapters where I zoned out — but all in all, the book made me feel so much better about myself and my life.  I think I might go into Jenny Lawson Overload if I read Let’s Pretend This Never Happened right away, so I think I’ll put that on the TBR for later this year.

Highly recommended for anybody who likes sarcastic humor who may or may not have some experience with mental illness.

Final rating: ★★★★☆

#rtr: yellow

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