FURIOUSLY HAPPY

Written by Jenny Lawson

Published by Flatiron Books, September 22 2015

My star rating: 5 stars

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? (Goodreads)

I listened to this one as an audiobook and that’s how I would recommend you consume this book  as well. It was read by Jenny herself and hearing this story from her own mouth was fantastic. This is a book about mental illness. A funny at times, real life look into the thoughts of a person dealing with their own personal hell. Let me tell you – I loved every minute of it. I myself deal with anxiety and sometimes I feel alone and like it will never end. After listening to this book I realized that I am NOT alone and that the way I’m dealing with it just might be the right way. Like Jenny, I sometimes deal with things I can’t process or handle with humour. During a bout with my anxiety, when I’m coming up with 143 reasons why something is too scary to tackle, I even realize that the thoughts going through my head are unreasonable. I know that I’m being unrealistic and irrational but I can’t stop my own thoughts from running me down. How do I deal with it? I laugh at  myself. Especially when I’ve conquered the thing I didn’t think I could do, I find a way to sit back and remember all the things I was afraid of and I turn it into something I can laugh at. I’ve read so many comments from readers who said they found her humour too forced, but I loved it and related more than I thought I would. Now I am NOT saying those people are wrong in their opinions. Everyones experience with a book like this will be slightly different. Someone who (hopefully) hasn’t had to deal with anxiety may read this and think that her humour was over the top at times. I would have to agree. But that’s the sad thing with anxiety – it’s a lot of extremes. Non fiction books are always a difficult thing. You can either relate and understand, or you can find their journey and way of telling their story annoying. I myself loved this book and love Jenny as a person. No – I’m not going to become her next stalker.

Word of warning to anyone thinking of reading this book. There is a lot of language in this book and absolutely no topic is left unturned. She says herself that if you are easily offended then this is not the book for you. Now having said that I laughed so hard the whole way through. I started listening to this in the living room and my husband wasn’t aware I was listening to an audiobook. I laughed out loud uncontrollably until I cried and he came into the room looking at me like I had finally gone bat shit crazy.

I wish I could explain more of this book but I don’t want to spoil even a single line for you. This is a book that you need to be caught off guard by its hilarity, truth, and emotion. I’ll be thankful every day that she was brave enough to write about her struggles with mental illness and hopefully this is one more step in removing the negative stereotypes surrounding anxiety, depression, and all other elements of mental illness. Enjoy!

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