A Funny Book About Horrible Things
Jenny Lawson (author and narrator)
Macmillan: Print – Flatiron Books & Audio: Macmillan Audio
Unabridged Digital Audio
Audio Run Time: 8:20:0
8 CDs, 9 hours
Library Download. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
For most of my life I’ve battled depression, anxiety and a host of other disorders, but I wrote this book less as a manual on how-to-survive-mental-illness and more of a compendium on how-to-thrive-in-spite-of-your-brain-being-a-real-bastard. Some of it is very serious and some of it is very funny, but I hope you’ll find that all of it is honest, baffling and relatable in ways that may make you question your own sanity.
Some people have called this my “magnum opus”. I don’t know what that means but it sounds very 80’s, and I like Magnum and Opus so I’m taking it as a compliment. To clarify, there are no mustachioed detectives or cartoon penguins in this book but there are other things, such as:
- The time I lost both my arms in a sleeping accident
- The neighborhood swans that tried to eat me
- The day Australia refused to let me get Chlamydia even though I was wearing a protective koala costume
- Advice on how to survive the zombie apocalypse, the airport, and the zombie apocalypse at the airport
- Completely inappropriate things I’ve blurted out to fill awkward silences at my psychiatrist’s office.
But in all of these odd stories – the darkly serious and the strangely baffling – I go back to a simple truth I learned from The Breakfast Club. “We’re all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it.” I agree completely. Except go back and scratch out the word “hiding”.
Be bizarre. Be weird. Be proud of the uniquely beautiful way that you are broken.
Be furiously happy.
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. http://us.macmillan.com/furiouslyhappy/jennylawson
This is as funny as David Sedaris but also poignant and a little more relevant to me as a woman, as someone with depression and anxiety and aut0-immune disease. Now don’t get me wrong, I still love David, but Jenny Lawson also made me laugh hysterically. But when David Sedaris discussed his late sister’s long history of mental illness and suicide, it just felt wrong. At times I thought he blamed her for her mental illness. But, Lawson offers a sincere look into the mind of someone suffering from a variety of mental illnesses and Rheumatoid Arthritis, and she does it with humor and grace and sometimes it is awkward.
Sometimes her stories sound delusional – like wanting to hug koalas while wearing a koala suit. but even then they are hilarious.
Jenny is her own narrator and does a great job giving voice to her story, and she gives voice to thousands of people who live with mental and/or physical illnesses. Her ability to see the humor in her life is remarkable. Kudos to her!
What I really got from this was a lot of laughs and a lot more idea of what it is like to have these issues and how NOT to act if I should ever meet her.
I highly recommend this book to anyone with a problem, or who knows someone with a problem. In other words, pretty much everyone!