Book Reviews, Memoir, Non-Fiction

Book Review: Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

FuriouslyHappyReview

Disclaimer:  If you are not a fan of crude and twisted humor or are easily offended, then you may want to skip this review.  For those of you who like their humor on the inappropriate side, then I have the book for you!

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Author: Jenny Lawson

Genre: Non-Fiction > Memoir • Humor

Version: Hardback (352 pages)

Publisher: Flatiron Books (September 22, 2015)

Source: Purchased

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Book Synopsis:

In LET’S PRETEND THIS NEVER HAPPENED, Jenny Lawson baffled readers with stories about growing up the daughter of a taxidermist. In her new book, FURIOUSLY HAPPY, Jenny 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.

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?


My Thoughts:

Moving right along with my Books by the Banks TBR, Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson was up to bat.  Books by the Banks is a Book Festival that I am attending in October 2016, therefore I decided to try and read as many books by confirmed authors as I could before the event. I was super excited when I read that Jenny Lawson was on the confirmed author list for BBTB, as I had heard about her and her popular blog, The Bloggess.  I must admit, I am not one for nonfiction, however if I do read it, it is usually a memoir from a comedian, which is just what Furiously Happy is.

In Furiously Happy, Jenny Lawson wants to challenge the stigma around depression and mental illness.  Jenny struggles with depression, anxiety, and a variety of other disorders. I LOVE that Jenny is so willing to speak out about her struggles with mental illness.  In today’s society, mental illness is seen as such a taboo topic, so it is refreshing to see someone who is not ashamed to talk about it.  She definitely doesn’t sugar coat what life is like with these types of disorders.  I don’t personally struggle with mental illness, but I can assume that the best thing about this book is that it is relatable to people who struggle with similar disorders.  Actually, she mentions in the book that 24+ people have contacted her to tell her that they were on the verge of committing suicide when they found her blog and/or books and didn’t go through with it because they felt like they found someone they could relate to.  Not everyone may understand Jenny, but there are 24+ people who are alive today because they do.

I adore the whole concept behind the “Furiously Happy Movement.”  It’s like Jenny is giving her mental illness the middle finger.  She is determined to not let mental illness win, and has decided that she is going to do what makes her happy, which apparently entails her playing with dead animals… I mean, the animals are already dead*, so she isn’t hurting anything…To each their own I say!  I must admit, I found her taxidermied animal escapades highly entertaining.

*No animals were harmed in the writing of this book.  All animals died of natural causes.

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Jenny begins the book with disclaimers that this book isn’t going to be for everyone, and I agree.   I actually have a fellow blogger friend that DNF this book and was highly insulted by it.  She felt that Jenny Lawson was exploiting mental illness in order to profit from it.  Another criticism of the book is that she often refers to herself as “crazy,” which some feel is degrading to people with mental illness.  I personally did not get the vibe that Jenny Lawson was exploiting mental illness for profit, but rather that Jenny uses humor to cope with her disorders.  Furthermore, in my opinion,  Jenny wasn’t using the label “crazy” in a negative way towards those with mental illness, but that calls herself “crazy” because she realizes her behavior is unusual.

I love Jenny Lawson.  Not in a creepy stalkerish way, but in a totally appropriate fangirl kind of way.  See, when you label yourself a “fangirl” it makes you seem less creepy.  Does she have a fan club?  If so, where do I sign up?  (Note to self: start Jenny Lawson fan club) I literally laughed out loud throughout this entire book.  Not just in a few instances, I’m talking multiple times a chapter.   My husband was highly annoyed with me while reading this and at one point banished me to the living room saying: “If you are going to laugh like a hyena, go to the living room.  I’m trying to sleep here.”  Jenny is crude, inappropriate, odd, but most of all, she is REAL.  I really admire that she is 100% herself, and doesn’t apologize for it.  You can either take her or leave her.

I read this book at the perfect time in my life.  I chose to read Furiously Happy the week leading up to my daughter having a minor surgical procedure.  Even though it was routine outpatient surgery, I was still filled with anxiety about it.  Reading this book in the evenings really helped ease my anxiety and took my mind off things.  I even took the book to the hospital with me to read during the procedure.  After the nurses took my daughter away and I had wiped the tears from my eyes, I immediately opened the book because I knew the waiting was going to be torture.  I think the nurses were judging me a little bit since I’m sure my laughing could be heard in the hallways of the hospital…Thank you Jenny Lawson for getting me through a stressful time in my life.

Furiously Happy is a quick-paced read.  Potential readers need to realize that this is a collection of funny short stories, and not a cohesive memoir.  There really is no flow between chapters.  Basically, the majority of this book is random hilarious bullshit with a few serious sentiments mixed in.  This book isn’t going to be for everyone, but it was definitely for me.

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My Rating:

Star ratings (2)


About the Author:

JennyLawson.jpgKnown for her sardonic wit and her hysterically skewed outlook on life, Jenny Lawson has made millions of people question their own sanity, as they found themselves admitting that they, too, often wondered why Jesus wasn’t classified as a zombie, or laughed to the point of bladder failure when she accidentally forgot that she mailed herself a cobra. Her blog (www.thebloggess.com) is award-winning and extremely popular.

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57 thoughts on “Book Review: Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson”

  1. I don’t usually read non-fiction but you and Donna reviewed it loved it so I guess I need to add it to my TBR. I love humor 😀 (Even though I never read funny books XD)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I LOVE this review! I read this a couple of months ago and never got to the review… (I’m a better reader than blogger.) I really loved her honesty and don’t feel like she is exploiting anyone living with behavioral heath issues. She’s merely sharing her own story which she has every right to do. The fact that she’s helped some people and made others laugh it just a big bonus.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Amanda Amanda Amanda! LOL I used an audible credit for this book a few months back (prefer to listen to my comedienne memoirs) & started it (4 chapters in) but couldn’t stop EVERYONE from distracting me while listening so I stopped. I read your review which pretty much summed up how I was feeling about what I had listened to so far. I too use humor as a coping mechanism with anxiety & mild OCD, so I can understand where Ms. Lawson is coming from & don’t take insult to her memoir. I had never heard of Jenny Lawson but I was interested in seeing how she broached mental illness seeing as this was a humorous approach. I’m back to listening & back to trying to contain my laughter to a minimum at my desk at the moment smh, thank you! Great review 🙂

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    1. For some reason this comment went to spam 😦

      I can’t wait to see your review on this one! I listened to a sample of the audiobook version and listening to Jenny Lawson narrate her work is like a whole new dynamic… I may need to do a re-read of this one via audiobook 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Grrrrr! 😂 I truly can’t win against WordPress smh. I’ve been listening to it whenever the train is so crowded that I can’t take my book out of my bag lol. Also at work whenever I’m on an assignment, I do look crazy from time to time when I burst out laughing. I’m currently up to the part with the Koalas have Chlamydia discovery, very funny smh.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. 1. I need this even more now! Added it to my next to buy cart because I can’t wait to read this and hopefully laugh my ass off like you did.
    2. I’m so glad it helped you through a hard time just think about how this book has helped so many people makes me want it even more.
    3. Where do I sign up for this fanclub and can we have T-shirts? hahaha

    Great review Amanda I hope your little one and you are doing better! Oh and isn’t the best and worst thing to try not to laugh to loud at a book, I woke my partner up by cough laughing and he thought I was crying and then banished me when he realised I was just laughing at a book 😄

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    1. Ahhhh! I didn’t even think about t-shirts!!!! You can be the fan club vice president 🙂 I hope you do read it and love it as much as I did!

      Thank you! We are both doing great. My daughter just had tubes put into her ears for chronic ear infections. The ear infections were starting to effect her hearing, so it was time for tubes. Hopefully this fixes her issues.

      *Sorry I am just now responding, your comment went to spam 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Wonderful review – you’ve definitely convinced me that I need this book in my life! I have read some of the posts on The Bloggess before, but I actually had no idea she was the author of this book. Hoping to get my hands on this one before the end of the year 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I am glad that you enjoyed it! It seems that this is a Love it or Hate it kind of book – our book club was totally divided between those that totally loved it and those that could not finish it. Unfortunately, I am on the other side and as a health professional and parent of a child with anxiety and depression found that I could not even finish it. This is the great thing about books – too each their own!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m so intrigued by this book. I’ve read a bunch of really mixed reviews, and I’m really enjoying hearing all the different opinions people have. It’s so strange how people can have such different reactions. I can’t decide if I’d enjoy this one or not. I’m generally not a fan of autobiography and memoir, but I guess I’ll just have to read it and see! Hope your daughter is okay? xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would definitely check out her blog to see if you would enjoy her humor. The book isn’t really a memoir, but rather just a collection of hilarious happenings in her life.

      My daughter is great, thank you so much for asking! She had tubes put into her ears because she had 6 ear infections in 6 months and barely passed her hearing test. She is doing great now 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Tubes have come a long way since we were kids! They are much lower maintenance these days. She doesn’t even have to wear ear plugs unless she is going to be swimming in “dirty water” like a lake, pond, or stream. As far as the bath, pool, or ocean, she is good to go!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Omg, I actually, for the first time, read the stupid blurb for this book. I can’t believe I’ve never read the blurb – this sounds HILARIOUS. I find taxidermy uber creepy (and when I did volunteering at the museum and had to explain that no we didn’t go and hunt animals and stuff them, omg, the struggles). ALSO. I’m loving you’re little photos of the books at the end, they be pretty. But yes, okay, maybe I’ll have to go and buy this book. I’m blaming you for my TBR problems.

    Liked by 1 person

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