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Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things Hardcover – September 22, 2015
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An Amazon Best Book of September 2015: Jenny Lawson follows up her marvelous debut Let’s Pretend This Never Happened with her determination to be furiously happy: she will seize the strangest and most glorious moments of her life while she stares down her depression, severe anxiety, avoidant personality disorder, and much more—and dares it to stop her. Furiously Happy is not only a battle cry but a delirious seesaw of a memoir. One moment you swoop upward as Lawson relates her attempts to hold a koala in Australia while wearing a koala costume and explains her quirky love for taxidermied animals (who must be dead from natural causes only), and you’re giggling like a three-year-old. Then your stomach drops like an artillery shell when Lawson exposes the dark side of her mental illnesses: trying not to cut herself and holing up in her bedroom for days on end. The ups and downs make this a difficult book to read all in one go. However, Lawson uses both her hilarious and heartbreaking episodes to camouflage so many life lessons and biting observations. (A poignant example: when cancer victims don’t respond to medication, no one blames the cancer victim; people with mental illness don’t get the same respect.) This is a book you’ll want to savor. Whether or not you too suffer from depression, you’ll turn the last page fired up by Lawson’s conviction that you can be furiously happy no matter what life hurls at you.--Adrian Liang
“Jenny made me laugh so hard I feared for my safety! I think that's how she was able to get past my defenses and make me feel more okay about myself.” ―Allie Brosh, author of Hyperbole and a Half
“You'll laugh, wince, writhe in discomfort, cry, then laugh again. You might even feel the need to buy a raccoon. But the two things you'll never do is doubt Jenny's brilliance or her fearlessness when it comes to having honest discussions about mental illness, shame, and the power of human resilience. She's changing the conversation one rented sloth at a time.” ―Brené Brown, Ph.D., LMSW, author of the #1 New York Times Bestseller, Daring Greatly
“I freaked strangers out by snort-laughing on the subway and in restaurants. I can't stop talking about this book to friends. I'll shut up now and let you resume your life but buy this book. It's AMAZING.” ―Paul Fischer, author of A Kim Jong-Il Production
“The Bloggess writes stuff that actually is laugh-out-loud, but you know that really you shouldn't be laughing and probably you'll go to hell for laughing, so maybe you shouldn't read it. That would be safer and wiser.” ―Neil Gaiman
“Even when I was funny, I wasn't this funny.” ―Augusten Burroughs, author of Running with Scissors and This Is How
“Lawson's self-deprecating humor is not only gaspingly funny and wonderfully inappropriate; it allows her to speak...in a real and raw way.” ―O, The Oprah Magazine
“[Lawson] writes with a rambling irreverence that makes you wish she were your best friend.” ―Entertainment Weekly
“Take one part David Sedaris and two parts Chelsea Handler and you'll have some inkling of the cockeyed humor of Jenny Lawson...[She] flaunts the sort of fearless comedic chops that will make you spurt Diet Coke through your nose.” ―Parade
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If you'd pay for that experience then this book is for you. Otherwise save your money.
Her first book is a memoir of her bizarre childhood. It's presented in a comic manner and I suspect that many readers will be upset to learn that her life hasn't been non-stop laughs. Not that this one isn't wet-your-pants funny in parts, but Ms. Lawson's main goal here is to discuss her life-long battle with depression and she does so in a way that's peculiarly her own. (And sometimes just peculiar.)
Mental illness is the Final Frontier of medicine and we still can't fully convinced ourselves that it's not "all in your head." Of course, it IS "all in your head" but that doesn't make it less debilitating or easier to treat. The societal costs of untreated or poorly treated mental illness in terms of suicide, unemployment or underemployment, incarceration, etc. has never been calculated. Maybe we just don't want to think about it.
This is an inside look at chronic depression from a woman who has struggled all of her life and will continue to do so. Barring a miracle cure, there are no happy endings for those with chronic depression. But there can be happy days and hours and minutes in between the misery and Jenny valiantly grabs every one of them and savors it. If you have ever suffered from depression or if you love someone who has, you should read this book.
I remember reading LET'S PRETEND and thinking that it must have been uncomfortable growing up with a father whose idea of parenting was waking his little daughters up and telling them that he had brought them a pet squirrel. The "pet" was road-kill that Dad had gutted and was using as a hand puppet. Not exactly the sort of childhood memory that makes it into the eulogy, right? But it turns out that having a taxidermist father has some advantages after all. When her stuffed road-kill raccoon suffers a Las Vegas-related accident, Pop was able to fashion new hands and feet for it. [Incidentally, road-kill isn't really a literary "theme" in these books. It's just something that Texas has a LOT of.]
This family has been given enough lemons to keep a lemonade stand going indefinitely. I admire this lady (and her wonderful husband!) more than I can say. She is a beacon of hope for those who live in the shadows. God bless her.
And I need to respond to reviews that were bitchy about the author's "luxury" of not being able to get out of bed, and what was perceived as name-dropping: Mental illness is not all created equal. I only say that because my FIRST impulse was to scold those idiots for judging a sick person by well-person rules, but then I thought that was mean. Maybe they are just less unwell. Personally, I've had days when I couldn't leave my cocoon, and there's nothing luxurious about it. It's hell. And hey, wow, a famous person knows some other famous people, who were so cool they helped her! That's name-dropping?
Maybe if you're healthy, or if you're in denial, or you're just a judgmental boob, this book won't be funny or work at all for you. I feel sorry for you, because Jenny (I feel like we're on a first-name basis now), is a kick-ass, genuine, smart, hilarious survivor you'd be blessed by if you had any sense.
Top international reviews
‘Furiously Happy’ was born from one such incident, where everything in the universe seemed to be stacked against her. But instead of giving up and giving in, Jenny made the bold (and some might say foolish) decision to face it head-on by being ‘furiously happy, out of sheer spite’. Within hours #FURIOUSLYHAPPY was trending worldwide on Twitter as people chose to join Jenny and fight to take back their lives from the black dog of depression.
This is the point at which the book starts. However, if you’re expecting some kind of a self-help guide or memoir about Jenny’s life after the movement took hold, you’ll be disappointed. It’s less of a memoir and more a collection of essays, composed of disconnected occurrences and encounters which seem to have been lifted directly from Lawson’s blog and then expanded upon for the purposes of the book.
That’s not to say ‘Furiously Happy’ isn’t good, it’s just a bit… random. There’s anecdotes from Jenny’s everyday life, tales of trips she goes on despite feeling crippled by social anxiety, conversations with her husband (who is patient to a fault, incredibly understanding and VERY funny) and many, many stories involving her pets. It’s just not a memoir, at least not in the traditional sense and sometimes that makes it difficult to read, mainly because you’re never quite sure what’s coming next or what tone the next chapter should be read in.
If you’ve ever experienced crippling anxiety and/or depression, or know someone who has/is, then there are certainly chapters of this book which will resonate. The same goes with anyone suffering with a chronic physical illness. That said, there are also some parts which might leave you scratching your head in confusion and wondering whether Lawson has made them up or exaggerated for comedic effect. It’s definitely worth a read, but don’t expect to come away with any insightful revelations or self-help tips, just a smile or two along the way.
Without giving too much away, she has a very warped sense of humour, she speaks her mind and holds nothing back. She has highs and lows, but even at her lowest ebb, she is hilarious. I laughed until I cried, then when I read parts out loud to my husband, he fell about laughing too!
Once you have read her books, you will be a loyal follower of hers on Facebook and Twitter, I can't recommend this book enough, she the funniest author of the century! I adore her!
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Jenny is breathtakingly and beautifully honest about her mental health issues. She has crippling depression and anxiety, and, on top of this, also has to contend with problems with her physical health. As someone with OCD and as the mother of a (now adult) son with generalised anxiety disorder and OCD, I’ve read a lot of books about these issues, but never have I read an author as inspiring, as honest and open and as terribly, horribly funny as Jenny Lawson.
This book focuses more on mental illness than the first book, but is no less hilarious for that. Jenny writes about her struggles with disarming honesty, the effects it has had on her life, her career and her family. She clearly adores her family, but they don’t escape her unusual sense of humour. The arguments she has with husband Victor are a highlight of the book, as Jenny often goes off on a tangent that Victor finds increasingly difficult and frustrating to follow. But her love for him and his for her is touchingly shown when she tells him his life would be easier without her.
“It might be easier,” he replies. “But it wouldn’t be better.”
A brief run through of some of the chapter titles tells you most of what you need to know about this book:
‘George Washington’s Dildo’
‘LOOK AT THIS GIRAFFE’
‘Death by Swans Is Not as Glamorous as You’d Expect’
are a few of my particular favourites.
While the book is very, very funny, it’s also very, very emotional to read, at least it was for me. Jenny’s mental health issues mean that she often can’t function, that she hides in hotel rooms when she’s supposed to be promoting her work, that she often feels like a failure because she can’t cope with the things other mothers seem to excel at, like PTA meetings. But she’s determined that when she feels fine, that when she can face life, that she will really live, that she will be ‘furiously happy’. She understands that there’s a flip side to the extreme emotions that depression brings – that she has the ability to also experience extreme joy, and she’s determined that she will have a storeroom of memories for those dark times, filled with moments
‘of tightrope walking, snorkelling in long-forgotten caves, and running barefoot through cemeteries with a red ball gown trailing behind me.’
As she says, it’s not just about saving her life, it’s about making her life.
Despite great breakthroughs in recent years, mental illness still carries a stigma. But sufferers are no more to blame for their illness than people with cancer, or MS or anything. Jenny’s writing humanises mental illness. She isn’t ashamed, and neither should anyone else be. The epilogue, ‘Deep in the Trenches’ made me cry. It’s the most touching, insightful, compassionate and beautiful piece of writing I’ve ever read about living with mental illness, or helping someone you love to live and to live fully.
And I’ll always be grateful for the very clever, but characteristically quirky, ‘spoons’ analogy. I read this part of the book at exactly the right time, and it really helped with a situation where someone I love really didn’t have enough spoons. Read it – you’ll get it, and it might help you too.
I love this book, and if I could give it more stars I would. Yes, it’s incredibly funny, but it also says something extremely important. If you have mental health issues, or care for someone who does, please, please read this.
The book itself is one of my best reads of 2020 so far and certainly, in a long time. It was laugh-out-loud funny. I found myself reading bits out to my husband who is now going to read it. I've already recommended it to three people in my life. As well as being funny, it also had moments of clarity, understanding and thoughtfulness.
I found myself embracing my own issues and not seeing them as so much of an issue but just part of who I am. I felt less guilty about days where I struggle. I felt more empowered by the quirks that make me who I am.
This is the first Jenny Lawson book I have read but it won't be the last.
If, like me, you were drawn in by the spectacular picture of Roy on the cover and wondering if you should purchase this bizarre little book the answer is unequivocally YES!
Jenny (I consider us to be on a first name basis - I don't think she'll mind) is my hero. Not because she's perfect, or going to save the world (or anyone for that matter) but because she's the same kind of imperfect as me. Her stories of pain and peculiarity and her persistent call to being furiously happy despite these things makes me feel a little more comfortable in my own skin. And less like an outcast for feeling the need to be a hermit for days at a time.
If you struggle with mental health, or want to glimpse into the mind of someone else who does, this book is a must-read. I'll be recommending this book for years to come.
This book is going straight to the reread ASAP pile! There are so many quotes I wanted to write down, to text to friends, but then I'd turn the page and there would be a new one - so I resolved to just read it more slowly next time so I can savour all those hilarious and heart-breaking words.
1st an essay.
2nd trying to be quick.
This one, Oh my goodness, if you delete this again I give up....