Published by Flatiron Books on September 22, 2015
Genres: Depression & Mental Illness, Humorous, Mental Health, Personal Memoirs
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A hysterical, ridiculous book about crippling depression and anxiety? That sounds like a terrible idea. And terrible ideas are what Jenny does best.
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.'"
I kept seeing Furiously Happy all over the place but never thought to add it to my TBR. I passed on it when it came up on Netgalley as it just didn’t seem like my kind of read. Then I saw Grace’s review and knew I had to read it. It is a rare book that has you laughing by page five and hardcore snort laughing just a few chapters later. And it is a rarer author who can maintain such a sense of levity while talking about such serious subjects as depression and anxiety disorders. Mental illness is usually not a subject mentioned hand-in-hand with taxidermy, hanging out with kangaroo’s while wearing a kangaroo costume, using dead kittens as leg warmers, using the unit of time measurement BKCWC (before Kirk Cameron went crazy) and Anne Frank zombies. But in Furiously Happy it is melded in the best way. Lawson has a unique gift of being able to see the humor through the pain. Lines such as – “My primary thoughts during the holidays are ‘Stab. Stab. Stab. Run away.’” and “On the way in here I saw a cloud that looked like a skull. My first thought? Death Eaters.” made me think of her as my kind of people and I love a read like that.
I was initially taken with the humor in Furiously Happy; but as I continued to read I was taken with Jenny Lawson. Her honesty and her unabashed attitude towards her diagnosis was what made this such a great read. Opening up about what lives inside your mind is not an easy task. It takes a very strong person to be this unflinchingly honest and I am glad Lawson was up to the task. So in her own words – “I’m fucking done with sadness, and I don’t know what’s up the ass of the universe lately but I’ve HAD IT. I AM GOING TO BE FURIOUSLY HAPPY, OUT OF SHEER SPITE.”
Favorite lines – I have learned that every person in the world is on the spectrum of mental illness. Many people barely register on the scale, while others have far more than they could be expected to handle. Even specific disorders are incredibly individualized. For example, my depressive disorder comes and goes and when it’s gone I have a hard time remembering how I could ever have felt as lost or numb as I get during those times. My anxiety disorder, on the other hand, is always with me and comes with all sorts of niggling “bonus” disorders and phobias, like some sort of terrible boxed set.
Have you read Furiously Happy, or added it to your TBR?