Books · reviews

Book Review: Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

furiouslyhappyFuriously Happy
by Jenny Lawson
Published by Flatiron Books in September 2015

You’re supposed to be sad when things are shitty, but if you’re sad when you have everything you’re ever supposed to want? That’s utterly terrifying[…]

If everything is perfect and I’m miserable, then is this as good as it gets?

And the answer is no.

It gets better.

You get better.*

The Bloggess, a.k.a Jenny Lawson, is one of my favorite people I’ve never met and her first book, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, is one of the funniest books I’ve ever read. A memoir, Let’s Pretend focuses mostly on Lawson’s childhood in rural Texas. It’s full of hilarious stories about taxidermy animals, laxatives, jumbo quail, and more. Lawson also uses the book as a platform to discuss her anxiety disorder and other mental illnesses, though they aren’t the focus of the book.

Furiously Happy continues that thread of discussion and expands upon it through a collection of loosely connected anecdotes, essays, and rants. The book delves further into Lawson’s struggles with mental and physical illness. Her openness and willingness to discuss her own demons is refreshing and encouraging. I’ve never been diagnosed with a mental illness, but can relate to many of her concerns about being a failure, or a fraud, and feeling like you’ve somehow tricked people into liking you or believing you’re good at something. I’ve moved a lot over the past few years, and as a result have really struggled to maintain long-lasting friendships. I’ve often felt really alone and have spent too many hours despairing over relationships that fell apart for no discernible reason. This feeling transferred over to my work life, and I began to feel like I didn’t deserve my job. I still often feel like I don’t know what the heck I’m doing, but Furiously Happy makes me feel a bit more okay with that feeling.

Furiously Happy isn’t as laugh-out-loud funny as Lawson’s first memoir, but that doesn’t mean it’s not as good. The book is still funny, but I took away much more emotionally this time around. Lawson is both encouraging and inspiring and I’d really recommend giving this book a shot (definitely read Let’s Pretend This Never Happened first). I think everyone should and will be able to see some of themselves in Jenny’s writing.

*From pages 239-240 of Furiously Happy


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