Sunday Book Review: Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

by Becca Naylor

furiously-happyAs the subtitle declares, The Bloggess’s second book is truly “a funny book about horrible things,” and the manic taxidermied raccoon throwing confetti on the front cover confirms it. Lawson holds nothing back in this book about her life with mental illness. Her struggles with anxiety, depression, and several sleeping disorders give rise to stories and insights that could not have come from any “sane” person.

Lawson discusses her issues without inspiring pity; she moves past the social stigma concerning mental health and instead makes the events of her daily life seem as though they could happen to anyone. She draws in the reader with her willingness to bare herself and with her skill in doing so. Only Lawson could make the idea of a midnight cat rodeo seem like a good idea.

Her openness gives her freedom, and Lawson uses that freedom to invite readers to peer into her life in order to better understand a loved one or to know that they themselves are not alone. At no point does Lawson offer a solution for “fixing” mental illness. She encourages sufferers to go beyond merely surviving, “taking those moments when things are fine and making them amazing,” thus living “furiously happy.”

Furiously Happy is about embracing the messed up parts of ourselves—unbalanced chemistry, paranoia, and the resulting consequences—and making it all work. It’s about taking the normal times and turning them into magnificent moments worth celebrating, and sometimes that looks crazy. As Lawson’s mother tells her, “Maybe ‘crazy’ isn’t so bad after all.”

 

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