Review: Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

Furiously HappyIn Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, Jenny Lawson regaled readers with uproarious stories of her bizarre childhood. In her new book, Furiously Happy, she explores her lifelong battle with mental illness. A hysterical, ridiculous book about crippling depression and anxiety? That sounds like a terrible idea. And terrible ideas are what Jenny does best.

As Jenny says: ‘You can’t experience pain without also experiencing the baffling and ridiculous moments of being fiercely, unapologetically, intensely and (above all) furiously happy.’ It’s a philosophy that has – quite literally – saved her life.

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?

This book. This book is brilliant. I have to confess, I haven’t read Lawson’s first book but it is most definitely on my to-buy list now.

I can’t quite remember how I stumbled across Furiously Happy, but stumble I did. With a cover like that I couldn’t just click away – I had to know what it was about, who it was by, why it existed and all those wonderful things you find out when you look into and then buy a book.

Except I didn’t buy this one. I read a bit of the ‘look inside’ on Amazon, added it to my wishlist after falling a little bit in love with the writing style and then went on my merry way. About a month later, when my birthday happened, I opened a present from my parents and there it was, a taxidermy raccoon staring out at me.

I started it reading it that day and finished it the next, which is quite impressive considering I read most of it out loud to my family and my boyfriend.

Reading aloud is not something I do by choice, I go lobster red and stumble my way through almost every word. It is a bad time for everyone involved. But with Furiously Happy I just had to share everything. There was very little that I did not read aloud. This is a testament to both the writing and the stories themselves – I use stories with a pinch of salt here, they are true, perhaps I should say anecdotes but they feel more story-like.

Furiously Happy  is relatable, I found myself thinking ‘that sounds like something I would do’ throughout, and my boyfriend actually exclaimed that I would have done some of those things too were I in those situations. It makes typically difficult subjects easy to digest and engage with and that can never be a bad thing. Lawson has a way of writing about really serious things in a really entertaining way that doesn’t mock or jibe.

I don’t often read memoirs and the like, I prefer my books to have a little bit of magic to them, but I discovered that sometimes memoirs have their own kind of magic. Furiously Happy  definitely does. I was hooked, completely and utterly.

I would recommend this book to everyone. Seriously. Buy it, read it, love it.